UNIVERSITY PARK (WTAJ) — For the 21st-straight year, Penn State women’s soccer was picked to win the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions lead Northwestern on the preseason poll, and nationally the team ranks seventh ahead of this week’s opener.

Thursday, Penn State hosts no. 2 North Carolina in a match-up of top-10 teams. The Tar Heels are the highest ranked team Penn State welcomes in the opener since face perennial power Stanford to start the 2019 campaign.

Keep up to date on everything Penn State sports with our Nittany Nation Newsletter.

Last year Penn State won the Big Ten and finished 15-5-3 advancing to the NCAA Tournament round of 16.

Thursday’s match begins at 7 p.m. at Jeffery Field in State College.

1. Penn State
2. Northwestern
3. Rutgers
4. Michigan State
5. Wisconsin
6. Nebraska
7. Ohio State
8. Michigan
9. Minnesota
10. Iowa
11. Maryland
12. Purdue
T13. Illinois
T13. Indiana