Frannie Crouse Finds Another Gear Her Junior Year
“Frannie Crouse continues to be such a threat on offense,” Penn State women’s soccer head coach Erica Dambach said after last Thursday’s practice.
The Greensburg, Pa., native is lightning quick, almost always around the ball, and has a natural talent for finding the back of the net. Crouse is charging up the program’s scoring charts in solo 12th all-time with 33 career goals. Her 12 goals this season are tops in the Big Ten.
Not only does the junior forward score with prolific ease, but more often than not, her goals come on the biggest stages. Her sliding effort in the 24th minute of last year’s College Cup Semifinal against Rutgers boosted the Nittany Lions to their first National Championship the following match. She’s had this extra gear from the moment she stepped foot on campus.
“I wanna win. I guess that’s just a drive that I’ve always had,” Crouse said. “We’re very competitive. No one ever really wants to lose, so I’m not gonna give up without fighting.”
The 5-foot-7 Crouse was a heralded 2014 prospect out of Greensburg Central Catholic, helping Penn State to the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class that cycle, according to TopDrawerSoccer. She looked back on her recruitment and discussed the family environment that led her to fall in love with Dambach’s program and the university as a whole.
“When I was a sophomore, I was towards the end of my recruiting process. And once I got here, it felt like home,” Crouse said. “I think that was the most important aspect. Every other school that I visited I liked, but when I came here it was home.
“If you’re ever around our team, you realize how close-knit we are. When I first visited, I stayed with an upperclassman that I got to play with my freshman year, and I think that’s what ultimately made my decision. They were so friendly and welcoming, and that’s something that I wanted to come into and be a part of.”
Crouse mentioned that she, like many aspiring soccer stars her age, looked up to Mia Hamm when she was refining her game on the youth level. Fellow U.S. Women’s National Team favorites like Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe also sparked Crouse’s imagination.
She had the chance to learn from some terrific role models over the course of her first two years with the Nittany Lions, mainly Rocky Rodríguez and Britt Eckerstrom. Now, as a veteran on a young team striving for another Big Ten regular-season title and more, Crouse knows she can draw on some of the lessons she learned early in her career.
“They were such great leaders on and off the field,” Crouse said. “And I think just looking up to them, and being able to [say], ‘I have a little bit of this, I have a little bit of that from them’ [has helped].”
Crouse has twice been named the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Week this season, following a pair of weekend home stands in which she scored three and two goals, respectively. She and three teammates – Nickolette Driesse, Megan Schafer, and Brittany Basinger – were added to the TopDrawerSoccer Midseason Top 100 List of the country’s best female collegiate players two weeks ago. Crouse checked in at No. 43 overall.
You can catch Crouse and the rest of the Nittany Lions back in action for the final conference match of the regular season this Wednesday at Jeffrey Field. They’ll play host to Ohio State at 6:00 p.m.
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