Nittany Lions Offense Returns, Defense Impresses With Continuity
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The duo of Mallory Weber and Megan Schafer provided quality attacks time after time on Sunday that galvanized No. 6 Penn State to a 4-2 victory over Arkansas Sunday at Jeffrey Field.
Despite a 110-minute scoring drought versus Duke last match, the Nittany Lions regained their dominant form, scoring three goals through the first 50 minutes against the Razorbacks.
Schafer netted two goals, while Weber picked up an assist and a goal.
“It’s my senior year so I kind of realize it’s really my last chance,” Weber said. “It’s pretty competitive with Shafer and Frannie [Crouse], so we’re kind of just going after each other and seeing who can score more goals.”
Weber controlled a through ball and sent a chip shot over the goalkeeper in the 21st minute, but the ball landed just shy left of the goal.
Six minutes later, she capitalized with a run up the right side and this time alertly dribbled left to avoid the goalkeeper then fired into the open goal.
Another Weber run led to a cross to Crouse in the box. Crouse controlled, turned, and protected from a hounding defender, before sending it to the top left goal post.
A corner kick extended the Penn State lead in the 49th minute as Schafer placed a header through the left post from an Emily Ogle cross.
“We finished our chances today,” said Penn State head coach Erica Walsh. “Looking back at the film from Duke we certainly had our chances, and so did they, but obviously it’s about putting it in the back of the net.”
In the 85th minute, Alina Ortega-Jurado sent a pass through to Schafer, who outran her marker to control the ball and swiftly fire a shot across the goal for her second goal of the match.
All 22 active player took the field for the Nittany Lions, which was “massive” according Walsh.
Backup goalkeeper Rose Chandler made her collegiate debut, conceding two goals while tallying two saves in 20 minutes of action.
Razorback forward Ashleigh Ellenwood, coming off a hat trick in her last match, struggled to distance herself from the Nittany Lions backline, failing to register a shot on goal.
“In terms of [Arkansas’] talent and their star players, that’s a good team,” Walsh said. “To keep a player like Ellenwood i think that was a massive feat for our defense.”
Lindsey Mayo found the goal in the 72nd minute.
A set piece from a free kick in the 89th minute saw Claire Kelley score the Razorbacks’ second goal of the match.
“I think the focus of the back four is good, i think they’re starting to come together as a unit with Britt and Emily Ogle sitting in front,” Walsh said.
Marley Paul is a senior digital and print journalism major at Penn State. Contact him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @MPaulPSU
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