Penn State rolls on Senior Day, crushes Illinois
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On Penn State’s Senior Day, the 17th-ranked team in the nation won in convincing fashion over Illinois 5-0.
The first point of Sunday afternoon’s game came almost instantly as Penelope Hocking scored off of an assist by Amelia White to put Penn State on the board. This quick goal set the tone for the rest of the half as the Nittany Lions dominated on offense. One of the team’s main strengths was its ability to get open downfield to create 1-on-1 situations at the goal.
“These guys are in a great mindset right now, building momentum at the right time in the season,” coach Erica Dambach said.
Illinois was able to find a spark on offense and begin to take shots on the goal towards the end of the first half, but all momentum from this was quickly extinguished by a Penn State goal with eight minutes left in the first half. Olivia Smith was able to sneak the ball in with a crowded goal off of the assist by Payton Linnehan.
The blue and white continued to show off its dominance with a goal by Jillian Jennings, assisted by Kaitlyn MacBean with only 41 seconds left in the first half. The goal was Jennings’ first goal as a Nittany Lion. This goal put an exclamation point on the sheer dominance seen out of the Nittany Lions in the first half.
“I think the best part about it is coming over to the side of the bench and just having that love from your teammates,” Jennings said.
Penn State started right where it left off in the second half when Penelope Hocking scored her second goal of the game. With this goal, the coaches began to send in some subs up 4-0.
“I wanna help my team in any way, and if that’s scoring, if that’s assisting, I’m happy to do it,” Hocking said.
The game was a little more even as the second half went on but Penn State still showed sparks of offensive dominance, continuing to take shots on the goal. With this, the Nittany Lions showed off not only the sheer talent of their team, but also the depth that they have on the sidelines.
The blue and white put some salt on the Illini’s wound with a late-game goal from Kaitlyn MacBean to put the score at 5-0.
As a team, Illinois just looked sloppy. Defensively, they were unable to force turnovers when they needed it the most. They let Penn State drive the ball all the way down to the goal and relied solely on their goalie to stop the ball.
Offensively, the Illini were able to string together some passes to get close to the goal but ultimately were unable to get on the board. Their passes were not timed right and allowed Penn State to easily take the ball back down the field.
“Everything’s about the process. Everything’s about getting 1% better each day,” Dambach said.
Penn State looks to continue its momentum when it hosts Michigan State on Thursday for another Big Ten matchup.
Ethan Ellis is a second year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
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Ethan Ellis is a first year student at Penn State University. He is from the small town of Rocky Mount in the southern part of Virginia. He is currently majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies and is work towards becoming and sports announcer for ESPN.