Women’s Soccer Extends Winning Streak with Win over Michigan State

Story posted October 20, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Megan Flood

The fourth ranked Penn State women’s soccer team (15-2-0, 9-0-0 Big Ten) beat Michigan State (8-7-2, 2-6-1 Big Ten) 5-1 Friday night at Jeffrey Field for its tenth consecutive victory.

Rain throughout the day caused slippery conditions and fog on the field. Penn State head coach Erica Walsh attributed some of her team's brief struggles to the conditions, as well as "nerves, or the magnitude of the match."

The first half saw a lot of play in the middle of the field with Michigan State controlling possession, but it was Penn State senior midfielder Christine Nairn who broke through in the 37th minute to give Penn State the momentum swing going into halftime.

“We didn’t come out the best in the first half, so I was glad to put it away,” Narin said.

Halftime served as a much-needed break for the Penn State team. They regrouped and opened the floodgates in the second half. The team scored four goals in the second half and had four different people score on the night, including two freshmen. Walsh said that during halftime she challenged the team’s blue-collar attitude.

"I challenged them," she said. "Some were not happy about it, but if that is how they are going to respond, they are going to get challenged more."

One of the game changing players was freshman forward Mallory Peterson, who came into the game during the 72nd minute. She would score two goals in 12 minutes.

"She put two in the back of the net against a great conference team," Walsh said of Peterson. "I think that is fantastic. Her work rate is exceptional."

Peterson’s first goal was assisted by another freshman coming off the bench, Jenna Kalwa. Peterson scored on a header off of Kalwa’s cross in the 80th minute.

“[Peterson gave us] confidence and momentum that we didn’t have up until that point,” Walsh said when asked about that goal. “As I have said many times this season, different players at different moments [come up big for us].”

Peterson attested her success to not thinking. She was working with the momentum of play and “connected with teammates.” She thought they set her up perfectly.

Freshman forward Mallory Weber had a response to Michigan State’s only goal. Less than seven minutes after Michigan State scored in the second half, Weber had a rocket from the right side of the 18-yard box across goal. This put the game out of reach for Michigan State, making the score 3-1 in favor of Penn State.

“Weber continues to be the answer for us in critical moments,” Walsh said.

Weber has nine goals on the season in 16 games.

“We are reaching our peak [offensively] and getting better each game,” Weber said. “It is really important to have multiple players scoring.”

Weber believes the success of multiple players scoring will help the team go far in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament.

The team returns back to action at Jeffery Field for senior day on Sunday to face Michigan at 1 p.m. If the team draws or wins they will win their 15th consecutive Big Ten Conference Championship.

Megan Flood is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, email mkf5100@psu.edu.