As we enter the second half of Big Ten play, a clear hierarchy has been established in the conference. At 3-0 and 2-0 respectively, perennial national power Indiana and defending Big Ten champion Northwestern are firmly in the apex of the Big Ten soccer pyramid. Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State are battling it out in the middle class with a win apiece, while Wisconsin and Ohio State are sitting in the base winless searching for answers.
It’s halftime, if you will, so let’s review. It seems crazy, but we’re halfway through conference play already. So with that being said, I think it’s suitable to sit back and reflect on where each of our seven teams is at this point. See my first-half analysis for every Big Ten team in this post.
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No. 4 Penn State (12-2-0, 6-0-0) used three goals in a six-minute span to secure a 5-2 victory over Indiana on Sunday at Jeffrey Field. With the game tied at two, freshman Mallory Weber scored two goals in two minutes to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good. Read the full recap at GoPSUSports.com. Watch our interview with Kristin Hartmann, who announced her retirement, now, and jump inside for more of Sunday’s Olympic video coverage.
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Week 2 of Big Ten competition saw three hard-fought games that needed more than 90 minutes of play to be decided. It showed that there is not much separating each team in the conference and that many games are going to come down to one shot, one save, or one executed set piece. So, no matter the records, easy games are few and far between in the Big Ten with only two games having been decided by more than one goal so far.
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With the Big Ten season set to kick off this weekend, it’s time to check out the upcoming match-ups and see who may be equipped to give their coach a Gatorade shower this fall. In four years of playing college soccer in the Big Ten at Northwestern and one year of observing it, you begin to notice trends as to why certain teams win the title in a given year.
Can you believe it? Big Ten conference play is only a few days away. As we approach week one, I must say that from a distance it looks like the tectonic plates in Big Ten country sat still over the past eight months. But if you use your microscope, you’ll see that those plates are slowly gathering momentum.