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Three Penn State Women’s Soccer Captains To Return For Fall 2021 Season

Penn State women’s soccer’s captains will all be back, folks.

Kerry Abello, Frankie Tagliaferri, and Sam Coffey will all return to Penn State for the fall 2021 campaign, the program announced on Friday. All three are seniors and are electing to use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the moment my family and I stepped on Penn State’s campus, we understood right away why it’s called Happy Valley,” Tagliaferri said. “Not only did I fall in love with Penn State the first time I visited, but everyday my love for this place continues to grow more and more. I am constantly reminded of why I chose Penn State, and how thankful I am to have done so.”

The announcement comes just a day after Penn State improved its unbeaten run to eight games with a win at Iowa. The Nittany Lions now have sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with just two games remaining and are ranked No. 9 in the nation.

The team is poised for yet another NCAA Tournament run, and it couldn’t be done without its three captains. The trio has collectively scored nine goals and dished out 12 assists (60% of the team’s total) this season.

The biggest coup is the return of Coffey, who is putting herself in position for MAC Hermann Trophy contention. The Boston College transfer has orchestrated a dominant Nittany Lion attack all year, leading the Big Ten with 18 points.

“Our team is a family, and I’m so thankful to have been given the chance to represent such a phenomenal institution,” Coffey said. “Being apart of a program that bleeds excellence day in and day out has allowed me to grow in unimaginable ways — not only as a player, but more importantly: as a person.”

Coffey and Abello both return to Happy Valley despite being drafted in the 2021 NWSL draft. Essentially, the two Penn State stars will be deferring from their respective professional teams until their work is done next fall.

“Penn State has provided me with an incredible four years of soccer, growth, and lifelong friendships,” Abello said. “I am so grateful for my teammates, coaches, professors, and the staff at Penn State who have truly made my experience here so meaningful…I love this team and this school with my whole heart, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in 2021.”

With the future of the attack secured for one more season, the Nittany Lions will focus on just one more week of regular season soccer before the postseason begins. Should Penn State win its next two matches, it will win the Big Ten regular season and receive the No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Tournament.

The first of those tests comes on Sunday when Penn State heads to Lincoln to play the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The match is set to begin at 12:35 p.m. and will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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