Penn State comeback falters; Nittany Lions lose first game at home

Story posted September 24, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Evan Popalis

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Following a five-game stint away from Jeffrey Field, the Penn State women’s soccer team returned to State College to battle the Northwestern Wildcats. The Nittany Lions battled four ranked teams on the road, defeating all except No. 18 Rutgers.

Penn State would drop its second consecutive match, losing 2-1 against Northwestern.

An aggressive Penn State attack was visible in the opening minutes of the match. The Nittany Lions showed great pressure and pace but were unable to find the back of the net early on.

Northwestern’s Kaylee Titus opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a masterful goal from outside of the box. For the senior, it was her first career goal. The Wildcats added to their advantage with a tally from Josie Aulicino on a partial breakaway down the right side.

The visiting Northwestern squad carried a 2-0 lead into the break. Wildcats keeper Mackenzie Wood supplemented four saves in the first 45 minutes, which was complemented with stingy, tremendous defense.

Penn State resumed its hard-pressing attack to kick off the second half. A sense of urgency was prevalent for the Nittany Lions as their offensive attack was dominant for the entire second frame.

In the 80th minute, after excellent footwork from Penn State’s Sam Coffey, Kerry Abello notched her second goal of the 2021 campaign.

Northwestern would find a way to stifle the Penn State offense for the final ten minutes to polish off an impressive road victory.

“I thought once our backs were against the wall, we responded,” head coach Erica Dambach said.

The win bumps up Northwestern to 5-4 overall on the season with a 1-1 record in conference play. For the Nittany Lions, they drop to 6-3 on the year with no wins and two losses within the Big 10.

“We just need to take a deep breath, and relax a little bit,” Dambach said. 

Redshirt junior Ally Schlegel attempted four shots, two of them were gobbled up by Wood. Coffey carried the workload for Penn State, creating many opportunities, yet the Nittany Lions could only manage to find the back of the net once.

Penn State attempted 13 shots in the game but only four made it on target. The Nittany Lions received eight corners on the night, telling the tale of the aggressive nature the home team played with for the duration of the contest.

Next up on the Penn State schedule is Big 10 rival Ohio State. Jeffrey Field will host the matchup between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions on Sunday, September 26 at 3 pm.

Evan Popalis is a third-year studying broadcast journalism. To contact him, email epopalis83@gmail.com.

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Evan Popalis is a third-year from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer, analyst, and play-by-play commentator for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include weekly NHL betting previews along with power rankings for the NHL and NFL. He appears weekly on the NHL Podcast as a host and analyst reviewing the previous week’s action. If you would like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).