#1 Penn State Nittany Lions:
Overall Record, Big Ten record: 15-3-1, 9-1-0 Big Ten
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 18-6-3
Last Tournament Appearance & Result: 2006 Big Ten Tournament champions with 3-1 win over Illinois
2007 Result vs. Iowa: 1-0 win at Iowa, 10/19
Leading Scorers: Katie Schoepfer (12 goals, 3 assists, 27 points), Aubrey Aden-Buie (9 goals, 2 assists, 20 points)
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher (15-3-1, 9 SOs, 0.52 GAA 5th nationally, 0.896 save percentage 14th nationally)
Other Players to Watch: M- Zoe Bouchelle, M- Melissa Hayes, M-Sheree Gray, D- Denay Riley, D-Jessie Davis
2007 Season Synopsis: Penn State used a 9-1-0 record and three-straight wins at the end of the season to grab its 10th consecutive Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions’ only loss came at Tournament-host Minnesota, 1-0, in double overtime. The Nittany Lions now look to defend their 2006 Big Ten Tournament Title under the guidance of first-year head coach Erica Walsh.
Tournament X-Factor: Offensive production must out-weigh any defensive miscues. Team also must focus through 90 minutes.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: Penn State is in good shape for a 13th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but needs to post a good showing in the Big Ten Tournament to keep it’s momentum going in the right direction.
#2 Purdue Boilermakers:
Overall Record, Big Ten Record: 16-2-2, 8-1-1
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 3-5-2
Last Tournament Appearance, Result: 2006, lost to Illinois 1-0 in first round.
2007 Result vs. Northwestern: 5-0 win at Purdue, 9/30
Leading Scorers: Parrissa Eyorokon (12 goals, 6 assists, 30 points), Shauna Stapleton (9 goals, 8 assists, 26 points), Loredana Riverso (8 goals, 6 assists, 22 points), Jessica Okoroafo (6 goals, 7 assists, 19 points)
Goalkeeper: Jenny Bradfisch (16-2-2, 4 shutouts, 0.52 GAA, .811 save %)
Other Players to Watch: Felicia Schroeder, Sylvia Forbes, Kira Bilecky, Zarinah Blockton, Christy Riggle, Jordyn Shaffer.
2007 Season Synopsis: Purdue posted its best season in the program's 10-year history, winning 16 of 20 matches and finishing second in the Big Ten Conference at 8-1-1. Parrissa Eyorokon has paced the offense with 12 goals and six assists in becoming the first Boilermaker to score 30 points in a season. The defense, led by goalkeeper Jenny Bradfisch, has allowed only 10 goals on 170 shots. Purdue outscored its Big Ten Opponents this season 28-5.
X-Factor: The ability to respond to adversity. The Boilermakers have only trailed in five matches this season, but came back to win three of those games after being down 1-0.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: It's not a question if Purdue is going to the NCAA Tournament, it's where? As the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes Region, Purdue should be allowed to host the NCAA first and second rounds; however, without lights at the Varsity Soccer Complex, the NCAA may force the Boilermakers to play on the road.
Overall Record, Big Ten Record: 11-5-1, 6-3-1
All-time Big Ten Tournament Record: 12-8
Last Tournament Appearance: 2006 runner-up, Lost 3-1 to PSU in championship.
2007 Result vs. Minnesota: 1-0 win at Illinois, 10/5
Leading Scorers: Senior forward Ella Masar (11 goals, 3 assists, 25 points), freshman forward Laura Knutson (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points), sophomore forward Chichi Nweke (2 goals, 6 assists, 10 points)
Goalkeeper: Lindsey Carstens (10-5-1, 10 shutouts, 13 goals allowed, 0.77 GAA)
Other Players to Watch: Freshman defender Danielle Kot, junior defender Emily Zurrer
2007 Season Synopsis: The Illinois soccer team opened the 2007 season with a tough non-conference schedule, facing three top-25 ranked opponents. After finishing 5-2 in non-conference, including an upset win over then-No. 9 Florida, Illinois followed with a strong conference showing to clinch the No. 3 seed for the Big Ten Tournament. The Orange and Blue reeled off five shutouts in a row in the middle of their conference season and blanked seven of their last eight opponents to finish 6-3-1 in the Big Ten.
X-Factor: Senior forward Ella Masar could be the determining factor for Illinois in the tournament. Illinois was 8-1 when Masar scored this season and 3-4-1 in games where she didn’t.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: Illinois has been in and out of the polls throughout the season, but a solid finish has put the Illini in strong contention for an NCAA Tournament berth. Illinois was unbeaten in seven of its last eight matches, including a win over then-No. 24 Indiana. The Illini faced five opponents this season that are currently in the NSCAA top 25, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Purdue, No. 21 Missouri and No. 22 Florida. The Orange and Blue pulled an upset victory over then-No. 9 Florida, while two ranked opponents edged the Illini by a single goal.
#4 Indiana Hoosiers:
Overall Record, Big Ten record: 12-5-2, 5-4-1 Big Ten
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 4-9-1
Last Tournament Appearance, Result: 2006 vs. Michigan, 2-1 loss in first round
2007 Result vs. Ohio State: 1-0 loss at Ohio State 9/30
Leading Scorers: Kristin Arnold (9 goals, 2 assists, 20 points), Christie Kotynski (5 goals, 5 assists, 15 points), Chloe McKay (3 goals, 6 assists, 12 points), Lindsay McCarthy (4 goals, 2 points, 10 assists)
Goalkeeper: Lauren Hollandsworth (12-5-2, 5 shutouts, 1.36 GAA)
Other Players to Watch: D Kelly Lawrence, D Katy Stewart, D/M Jessica Boots
2007 Season Synopsis: After a season-opening loss to Florida, the Hoosiers caught fire with a 13-game unbeaten streak that brought them to 11-1-2 on the year, the best start in school history. Included in the streak was a dramatic, overtime victory over current top-five pick USC in the Hoosier Classic. The Hoosiers finished fourth in the Big Ten for the second straight year the first time in team history. It was the first time that IU has finished in the top half of the conference in consecutive seasons.
X-Factor: Conversions. Indiana has played strong soccer throughout the season, but its recent conference struggles have come from not converting its chances into goals. In a 1-0 loss to OSU on Oct. 26, the Hoosiers put two balls off the crossbar.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: Indiana is on the NCAA bubble with 12 wins, including the good victory over USC. Finishing top four in the Big Ten usually puts a team in, but IU’s recent performance could hurt in the committee’s eyes.
#5 Ohio State:
Overall Record, Big Ten Record: 11-8-0, 5-5-0 Big Ten
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 9-9
Last Appearance, Result: 2006, lost to Purdue, 2-1 OT in first round
2007 Result vs. Indiana: 1-0 win at Ohio State, 9/30
Leading Scorers: Lara Dickenmann (4 goals, 5 assists, 13 points), Alex Burzynski (5 goals, 2 assists, 12 points), Lisa Collison (4 goals, 3 assists, 11 points), Ashley Bowyer (2 goals, 4 assists, 8 points)
Goalkeeper: Lauren Robertson (11-8-0; 7 shutouts; Big Ten-leading 4.74 saves per game)
Other Players to Watch: D Carla Arbulu; D Lauren Hallauer; M Courtney Jenkins
2007 Season Synopsis: Five freshmen start for the Buckeyes and nine play extensively. The Buckeyes set a school record by winning their first 10 matches at home before finishing with a 10-2 mark at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
X-Factor: Buckeyes are 18-3 the last two seasons in games where Lara Dickenmann scores a point.
NCAA Prospects: Ohio State won 11 games against opponents that combined to win 60 percent of their games, with 10 opponents winning at least 10 games.
#6 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Overall Record, Big Ten record: 9-8-1, 5-5-0 Big Ten
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 7-5-2
Last Tournament Appearance, Result: 2005, lost 1-0 to Illinois in first round.
2007 Result vs. Illinois: 1-0 loss at Illinois, 10/5
Leading Scorers: Junior forward Lindsey Schwartz (8 goals, 4 assists, 20 points), freshman forward Katie Bethke (5 goals, Big Ten-leading 9 assists, 19 points), junior midfielder Clare Grimwood (4 goals, 1 assist, 9 points).
Goalkeeper: Lindsey Dare (3-2-0, 3 shutouts, 0.69 GAA)
Other Players to Watch: MF Kaitlin Wagner and freshmen Molly Rouse (MF), Kylie Kallman (D) and Jennie Clark (D).
2007 Season Synopsis: After compiling a solid 4-3-1 record against high-quality non-conference opponents like Tennessee, Central Florida and Dayton, the Golden Gophers have enjoyed a recent resurgence in conference play. Minnesota boasts a 5-5-0 record in the Big Ten and enters the tournament having won three of its last four conference matches, including a dramatic double-overtime victory over first-place Penn State Oct. 21. One of the youngest teams in the conference, starting five freshmen, the normally defensive-minded Gophers have already scored more goals this season (29) than any other year since 1999.
X-Factor: Getting off on the right foot. Minnesota has been a strong second half team this season, outscoring their opponents 21-9 in the second period and going 6-2-0 on Sundays. But the well-conditioned Gophers must play well out of the gate if they hope to make a run in the tournament.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: Last Friday’s home loss to Iowa hurts the Gophers’ chances of landing an at-large bid, pushing them near the periphery of the NCAA bubble. The Gophers probably have to make a deep tournament run if they hope to advance.
#7 Northwestern Wildcats
Overall Record, Big Ten Record: 9-6-4, 4-4-2 Big Ten
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 3-8
Last Tournament Appearance: 2006, lost in first round against Penn State, (3-2)
2007 Result vs. Purdue: Lost 5-0 at Purdue 9/30
Leading Scorers: Kelsey Hans (9 goals, 4 assists, 22 points), Shannon Schneeman (9 goals, 2 assists, 20 points, 5 game-winners)
Goalkeeper: Lauren Johnston (9-6-4, 4 shutouts, 68 saves; NU has 9 shutouts as a team)
Other Players to Watch: F Alicia Herczeg (4 goals, 2 assists, 10 points) and F Sam Greene (3 goals, 3 assists, 9 points off the bench)
X-Factor: Need to have great team defending and get big games from goal-scorers.
2007 Season Synopsis: After a rough start to the Big Ten season, the Wildcats posted a 3-1-1 record in the second half of the conference schedule to take the No. 7 seed in the tournament. After a stretch of games that saw back-to-back scoreless ties against Illinois and Michigan, NU has found its offensive stride in the later stages of the conference season. The 'Cats have out scored their last four opponents by a combined score of 10-1. Defensively, NU has picked up nine shutouts on the season and has only given up one goal in its last 5 games.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: Northwestern most likely has to win the tournament in order to advance.
#8 Iowa Hawkeyes
Overall Record, Big Ten Record: 8-7-4, 4-6-0
All-Time Big Ten Tournament Record: 0-3-0
Last Tournament Appearance: 2001
2007 Result vs. Penn State: 1-0 loss at Iowa 10/19
Leading Scorers: Stephanie Hyink (3 goals, 1 assist, 7 points), Jackie Kaeding (3 goals, 1 assist, 7 points), Alexandria Seydel (1 goal, 4 assists, 6 points)
Goalkeeper: Stephanie Swanson (1-0-0, 1 shutout), Lindsey Boldt (out for the season knee 6-2-4, 6 shutouts), Kali Feiereisel (1-5-0, 1 shutout)
Other Players to Watch: None
2007 Season Synopsis: The Hawkeyes exceeded expectations and continued the successful rebuilding program under second-year head coach Ron Rainey. With eight wins in the regular season (their most since 2002), the Hawkeyes clinched their first Big Ten Tournament berth since 2001 with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota on November 2. Defense is the main strength for the Hawkeyes, including solid goalkeeping from senior Lindsey Boldt and a pair of fresman, Kali Feiereisel and Stephanie Swanson.
X-Factor: All eyes will be on who is in goal for the Hawkeyes, as three goalkeepers have been used throughout the season. Freshman Stephanie Swanson could get thrown into the mix with injuries to Boldt and Feiereisel.
NCAA Tournament Prospects: The Hawkeyes will likely have to win the tournament to have any shot of making the NCAA postseason tournament. It won't be easy, as the Hawkeyes drew top-seed Penn State in the first round.