Women’s Soccer: 3-Minute Purple Patch Powers 3-0 Win Over Michigan
Penn State was in action Wednesday night at a rainy Jeffrey Field for the team's last regular season game before the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State (13-3-2, 8-2-1 Big Ten) used a three goal outburst at the end of the first half to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Michigan (11-6-2, 6-3-2 BIG) started the game with good pace and controlled the time of possession for the first 10 minutes. However, Penn State settled in and started to play like their old selves. It took until the 33rd minute for a goal to be scored by either team. The Nittany Lions got on the board first on a shot taken from 24 yards out by Raquel Rodriguez. It was Rodriguez’s birthday and was also her last regular season game at Jeffrey Field.
“It definitely made it really special. The fact that it’s the last regular season game at Jeffrey, the fact that it was my birthday. Personally, it made it special,” Rodriguez said.
About a minute later, sophomore Megan Schafer scored her 10th goal of the season. It was an incredible shot where Schafer scored off of an initial shot that was saved by Michigan goalie Megan Hinz.
“You just got to sometimes run through the ball. When the goalie comes out, it is the ideal situation for a forward. We practice it so much,” Schafer said on her goal.
Schafer’s goal extended the Penn State lead to 2-0, but the Nittany Lions weren’t done just yet. Not even two minutes after Schafer scored, Nickolette Driesse got in on the action. She powered a shot past the goalie from 29 yards out to extend the Nittany Lion lead to three.
“I saw Mal (Weber) cutting inside, and I saw space so I was like, alright, we’re always talking about (how) we got to get shots on,” said Driesse on her goal.
Penn State took a commanding lead into the locker room at halftime, and all of the momentum was on their side.
“I have to say that was one of the best I’ve seen,” said head coach Erica Walsh on the stretch of three goals scored in a three minute timespan.
Most of the second half for Penn State featured keeping as much time of possession as possible and not giving Michigan any good scoring opportunities. The defense had a solid game in the back and so did goalie Britt Eckerstrom for the Nittany Lions. Eckerstrom is a redshirt senior who has been a leader and an outstanding player for this Nittany Lions team. Michigan was able to tack on a late goal with a little over two minutes remaining, however other than that, it was a dominating performance by Penn State.
“It’s exciting to see a 90-minute performance. I think up to this point, we had put together a couple 45 or 70 minute performances, but tonight was a good 90 minute performance,” Walsh said.
Penn State will host a Big Ten quarterfinal game on Sunday at Jeffrey Field and will look to make a deep playoff run this year. The team currently has five seniors on the roster and will have to win from here on out to keep their Penn State careers alive. But the team has all of the confidence in the world after a strong performance tonight.
“If we can continue to put 90 minutes together like that, we can go a long way. I think that’s been our achilles heel up till this point. We’ve been strong in moments and then kind of lost our focus and concentration. If in fact we’re starting to peek at this time, I think we have a lot of soccer still ahead of us,” Walsh added.
Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.