Women’s Soccer Dominates on Offense, Lifts Nittany Lions to a Senior Day Victory
The Penn State Nittany Lions women’s soccer team (10-2-2, 5-1-1 B1G) faced off against the Indiana Hoosiers (3-7-5, 0-4-3 B1G) Sunday at Jeffrey Field, shutting out the Hoosiers in a dominant 4-0 victory.
Emotions were high as Penn State celebrated its storied Senior Day. The team’s five seniors who were honored were: Teddy Chase, Raquel Rodriguez, Britt Eckerstrom, Mallory Weber and Megan Ritchey.
Though the festivities before the match were fun and heartfelt, Penn State seemed to have one goal on its mind: win. With an impressive start and explosive play on both sides of the ball, the Nittany Lions did just that.
The Lions’ offensive and defensive attacks were both incredibly tenacious. In just the first six minutes of play, senior Raquel Rodriguez, assisted by Frannie Crouse, stormed out of the gate with a quick, rebound goal.
Defensively, Penn State caused total chaos for the Hoosiers. With turnover after turnover, Indiana could barely get a shot off, let alone keep possession. Penn State swarmed the Hoosier players as soon as they touched the ball. With just one shot on goal recorded in the first half, it was evident Indiana was struggling offensively.
What was a common theme during the match was the plethora of corner kicks Penn State managed to get. The Lions racked up 12 of them in just the first half, completely overshadowing Indiana’s one. That lone corner kick was the only one recorded for the Hoosiers all game.
In the 41st minute, Penn State forward Mallory Weber, with the help of Nickolette Driesse and Marissa Sheva, netted a goal for her team, giving the Nittany Lions a comfortable 2-0 heading into halftime.
Just before the first half ended, Penn State forward Alina Ortega-Jurado suffered an injury at midfield, having the training staff assist her off the field. She did not return.
The second half was no different than the first.
The Nittany Lions’ tenacity was still at a high velocity. In the first minute of the second half, Penn State’s Megan Schafer, assisted by teammate Emily Ogle, ripped a shot that found the back of the net with ease.
The one thing Indiana seemed to do well, regardless of what the scoreboard said, was stop very good Penn State scoring chances. The Hoosiers’ goalkeeper, Sara Stone, had 12 saves on the day.
Penn State’s Elizabeth Ball managed to soar the ball passed Stone in the 89th minute, giving the team a dominant 4-0 lead. Being that Ball is a defender, this goal brought a lot of laughs to coach Erica Walsh when asked if Ball as a forward was a new trend.
“Elizabeth Ball came in to us as the leading scorer in the country. She never played defense until the day she stepped on our field, so this is not a new trend,” said Walsh. “But [playing forward] is her true calling, and that’s her spot. I give a lot of credit to her, she optimizes Penn State soccer by playing there day-after-day for us.”
Coach Walsh also raved about her seniors due to the importance of today’s match, listing tons of reasons why she was so proud of them.
“It was a perfect Penn State soccer day. You know, Banner Day. Shutout goals, goals by our seniors, a shutout by our seniors, and an opportunity for all of our seniors to get out here and contribute. I can’t ask for a better day.”
With the win, the Nittany Lions recorded their 10th victory of the year, and improved to 5-1-1 in the Big Ten. Penn State will take on Purdue on Thursday October 15th in West Lafayette, Indiana at 7 p.m.
Kaitlyn Dividock is a senior majoring in English and concentrating in professional and media writing. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.