UNIVERSITY PARK — There were a few questions and unknowns before the Penn State women’s soccer team kicked off its season in August, but the Nittany Lions felt there was one certainty: They had a good defense.

After a few bumps in the road, it appears they were right.

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Ready to be tested by the nation’s highest-scoring team, No. 3-seeded Penn State (15-4-4) faces No. 1 Stanford (21-1) in the NCAA quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday. The winner books a ticket for the College Cup in Orlando next weekend.

“Meeting expectations is about where you are right now at this point in the season,” coach Erica Dambach said Tuesday. “You look at what these guys have gone through. (Our) defense is 11 strong, it’s 28 (players on the roster) strong.”

The back line is loaded with experience, with five players in at least their third season with the program, and three in their fourth or fifth year. Three of them missed last season starting with the U.S. under-20 team in the World Cup.

They all knew a lot was expected of the group, so it was up to them to live up to those expectations.

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