Penn State center midfielder Zoe Bouchelle (Notre Dame Prep) has experienced the highs and lows of women's college soccer.
From the final four two years ago at Texas A&M; in College Station to a torn quadriceps last season that limited Bouchelle to two starts, it has been an "interesting" ride for the fourth-year junior for the 7th-ranked Nittany Lions.
During the final four run, Bouchelle started 17 games, accumulating seven goals and four assists. In the past two weeks, she has been named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week and the Soccer Buzz Elite Team of the Week for scoring two goals and contributing two assists in victories over Michigan State and Michigan.
Bouchelle scored the game-winner against Michigan State on Oct. 12 and came back Oct. 14 with an assist on the game-winner against Michigan. She had a goal and an assist in each game.
The work also earned her Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors, and she was recognized as the Penn State Student-Athlete of the Week.
Bouchelle called the accolades "exciting and nice" but said, "It was only one weekend." She credited the scoring to being moved from defensive center midfield to offensive center midfield.
"Every year has been something new," Bouchelle said. "We have a new coaching staff this year. I've stayed healthy [until pulling a hamstring Friday]. Last year was the quad, my sophomore year [in school] we went to the final four, and my freshman year was the stress fracture in the foot."
Bouchelle called the final four "amazing. I've never experienced anything like that. They treat you like royalty.
"We played Florida and we lost on penalty kicks. That was disappointing."
At Notre Dame Prep, Bouchelle was a two-time Parade All-American, The Sun's 2003 Player of the Year and a first-team All-Metro choice.
The hamstring injury is not expected to keep her out for long, but she cringes at the thought of another injury.
"It's definitely good to be healthy again," Bouchelle said.
She pulled the hamstring 30 minutes into a 1-0 Big Ten upset victory over then-No. 8 Purdue. She missed the remainder of that game Friday and Sunday's 2-1 victory over Indiana.
Bouchelle is expected back this week as Penn State (14-3-1, 8-1-0) closes in on its 10th straight Big Ten title, which is the longest active conference championship streak in Division I soccer.
Before the hamstring injury, Bouchelle had started 17 games this season and had two goals and four assists.
Shippensburg sophomore safety Jason Stone (Westminster) is having an outstanding season for the Red Raiders, breaking up four passes, forcing a fumble, intercepting a pass and making 23 tackles. Fifteen of those tackles were solo.
Another Baltimore-area player at Shippensburg, fourth-year junior linebacker Joe Brockmeyer (Northeast) has played in six games with one tackle for an 8-yard loss.
Sophomore field hockey midfielder Nina Emala (Bryn Mawr) started only one of the first 16 games for No. 19 Gettysburg, but she was so strong coming off the bench that she scored six goals and had two assists for second place in team scoring.
Emala has scored a game-winning goal on 22 shots for Gettysburg (11-6 overall, 7-3 in the Centennial Conference), which is ranked No. 19 nationwide among Division III schools by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Freshman defender Emma Taylor (Howard) has played in three field hockey games this season for Lebanon Valley (19-0), which is ranked second nationally among Division III schools by the NFHCA.
Contact Bill Free by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 410-833-5349.