Penn State’s women’s soccer program received 678 votes to begin the year ranked No. 6 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll released this week.

The Nittany Lions garnered one first-place vote.

Penn State opens its season on Aug. 23 at home against Stanford, which is ranked No. 3 in the poll.

The Nittany Lions fell to Minnesota on penalty kicks in the Big Ten championship last season. Penn State claimed the conference’s regular-season crown by going 9-2 in league play, and reached the NCAA quarterfinals before dropping a 1-0 match against eventual national champion Florida State to finish the year 18-6-1.

Wisconsin (No. 16) joins Penn State in the poll as Big Ten representatives. Wisconsin hosts Penn State on Sept. 29.

In addition to the Badgers, the Nittany Lions play two other top-25 opponents No. 9 Virginia (Sept. 15) and No. 11 West Virginia (Sept. 6).

Junior midfielder Samantha Coffey, senior defender Kaleigh Riehl and junior forward/midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri earned nods with selections for the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. The trophy is given to the nation’s top female player. Coffey and Riehl were MAC Hermann Trophy finalists last season.

Midd-West graduate Kelli Beiler, who appeared in 14 games and had an assist last season, is set to enter her sophomore year for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State opened the 2018 season ranked No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll.

CNHI Penn State reporter

CNHI Penn State reporter