UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Big Ten Network on Tuesday (Aug. 19) released its coverage plans for the 2014 men's and women's soccer and field hockey seasons, featuring at least seven Penn State matches.
Holding at least a share of each of the last two Big Ten regular season titles, the field hockey squad will receive coverage at Maryland on Oct. 10 at 3 p.m., vs. Rutgers on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. and vs. Northwestern on Oct. 31 at 3 p.m. Additionally, both Big Ten Tournament semifinal matches and the championship game will be aired live on the BTN.
The Terrapins and the Scarlet Knights are each entering their first season in the Big Ten Conference. Maryland began last season's NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed and made it to the semifinals. The Wildcats split the Big Ten regular season title with the Nittany Lions in 2013, and return as co-defending champions.
Penn State returns six starters and three of its top six scorers from a season ago when the team compiled a 13-6 record and made the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions welcome back two 2013 Big Ten First Team members in midfielder Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) and goalkeeper Kylie Licata (Mountain Top, Pa.), while forward Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.), who garnered second team honors, also returns. Herold led Penn State with 30 points (13 goals, four assists) last year.
For men's soccer, the two-time defending Big Ten champions will have three regular-season matches aired, while the conference's semifinal and championship games will be carried as well.
The Nittany Lions' road trips to Michigan (Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.) and Maryland (Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m.) will be shown live, while a Senior Day home broadcast is set for Oct. 28 against Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Maryland advanced to the NCAA Final, last season, while Wisconsin finished second in the Big Ten and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 19 years.
In addition to the three live broadcasts, Penn State will have eight home games shown live on BTN.com. Games against St. John's (Aug. 31), Saint Francis (Sept. 16), Ohio State (Sept. 21), Penn (Sept. 24), Rutgers (Oct. 4), Michigan State (Oct. 18), West Virginia (Oct. 22) and Akron (Nov. 5) will be on BTN's digital network with a subscription.
The No. 15 team in the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason poll, Penn State returns eight starters from a year ago including Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Andrew Wolverton (Atlanta, Ga.), two-time All-Big Ten Second Team honoree Owen Griffith (Lewisburg, Pa.) and both 2013 All-Big Ten Freshman Team selections Connor Maloney (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Mason Klerks (Corona, Calif.).
The women's soccer team, which has won 15 of the last 16 Big Ten titles, has its home match against Rutgers on Oct. 11 aired live on the BTN. The Nittany Lions' games against Illinois on Sept. 28 and Maryland on Oct. 30 will be streamed live on BTN.com.
The Nittany Lions open the 2014 season ranked No. 24, according to the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason rankings. Penn State appeared in its 19th-straight NCAA Tournament in 2013 and returns 8-of-11 starters from last season's team, including two-time MAC Hermann Award Watch List honoree senior Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) and NSCAA All-Great Lakes third team honorees Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica).
The Big Ten Network is available to more than 90 million homes through agreements with more than 300 cable, satellite and telco providers in all 50 states and Canada. Armstrong, Blue Ridge and Adams Cable, though, do not carry the BTN in Pennsylvania and the Medina and Youngstown, Ohio areas. More than 35,000 Penn State alumni live in the communities served by the three cable providers in Pennsylvania and the Medina and Youngstown areas, in addition to thousands of more fans and current Penn State students.
Armstrong, Blue Ridge and Adams Cable customers missed more than 100 Penn State events on BTN during the 2013-14 academic year, in addition to coverage from 15 conference championships.