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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

IU faces top Big Ten rival tonight

Yeagley calls game 'most important' of the season

Two highly ranked men's soccer teams collide at 7 p.m. tonight at Bill Armstrong Stadium as Penn State visits IU in what coach Jerry Yeagley calls "to date, the most important game this season." \nThe match has national implications as well as conference importance. IU is ranked sixth according to the Sept. 24 National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, and Penn State is ranked eighth. Both teams are 1-0 in the Big Ten, with Penn State beating Michigan, and IU topping Michigan State. \nThis will be the 27th meeting between the two teams, with the Hoosiers leading the series 19-5-2. The last time Penn State managed a win was in the 1995 season. Despite history on his side, Yeagley says this might be the best Penn State team he has seen.\n"Penn State is annually one of our top rivalries," Yeagley said. "The games have been fiercely contested and usually one goal games that usually end in overtime. They have as strong of a team as they've had in years. I think they are the team to beat in the Big Ten this year."\nPenn State's strengths mirror IU's. Both teams rely on an All-American to lead an experienced team complimented by key newcomers.\n"They have Ricardo Villar their Brazilian star." Yeagley said. "He is a fifth year senior, who sat out last year with an injury and is back this year. He is considered to be one of the prime candidates for national player of the year, so it should be a great match between him and Pat Noonan. "They also have several outstanding freshmen that have really bolstered their lineup, and I feel we do to, so it should be one heck of a match." \nVillar comes back after a 1999 season in which he led Penn State in scoring, and earned All-American as well as All-Big Ten honors.\nThe Hoosiers version of National Player of the Year candidate, Noonan, has already earned Big Ten Player of the week twice. In his last two games, Noonan has tallied three goals and an assist, helping IU rout Louisville and Michigan State by a combined 7-0. In those games, Noonan scored on 50 percent of his shot attempts.\nHooking up with Noonan on three of those goals was freshman forward Mike Ambersley. Ambersley tallied one goal and two assists in those games. Although this is only Ambersley's second Big Ten game ever, he said he is ready to play.\n"I'm looking forward to the game because Penn State is a tough team," he said. "We will need to attack their backs if we want to win. Every Big Ten game is a really big game."\nThe Nittany Lions climbed eight spots in the NSCAA poll this week with their wins last weekend at the Ohio State Nike Classic over Southwest Missouri State and then No. 14 Creighton, the runner-up in the 2001 College Cup. Coach Barry Gorman (184-91-19) is one victory away from becoming the all-time leader in wins at Penn State.\nYeagley is also eyeing a milestone. He is currently sitting on career win 498, two wins away from becoming only the second coach in college soccer history to record 500 wins. With a win against Penn State, the 500th win could come Thursday against Butler at Armstrong Stadium.\nFreshman J.D. Johnston says the players are aware of the record.\n"Coach Yeagley is a coach a player wants to play for, anything we can do to help him get to his 500th victory we are going to try are hardest to do," Johnston said. "We will work our butts off to get those wins"

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