Penn State Celebrates Senior Day with a Victory over the Purdue Boilermakers
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- It was an emotional afternoon in Happy Valley as seniors Kerry Abello and Sam Coffey, who have done so much for the women’s soccer program, played their last regular-season home game at Jeffrey Field.
“It's been quite the journey here. I think the overall feeling is that I am going to miss them (teammates) so much,” Abello said. “I am mostly just grateful I have something so great with the players and coaches. I have a lot of gratitude and I am going to miss this place."
As for the game, the Nittany Lions had a tough test ahead of them as Purdue came into this contest as the No.19 team in the nation posting a record of 11-2-2 and 6-1-0 in conference play while Penn State had an overall record of 9-5-0 and was just 3-4-0 in conference play.
The emotion of senior day might have gotten the best of the Penn State players to start the game. In the first half, Penn State came out sluggish.
It was a slow start for both sides as the two teams combined for only five shots on goal in the first half. The Boilermakers led with three shots on goal compared to the Nittany Lions two.
The Penn State defense had the tough task of defending redshirt senior, Sarah Griffith. Griffith came into the game tied for first in goals in the conference with 12.
She would add to that total in this contest as in the 57th minute Griffith opened the scoring with a header that found the bottom left corner of the goal.
However, Penn State was down but not out. They showed a ton of resiliency today and were able to come back from the early deficit.
Junior Jordan Canniff was the spark plug for the struggling Nittany Lions’ offense. Canniff recorded her third goal in two games.
No one is more resilient than Canniff, as she has found success after coming off an ACL injury.
“Jordan is finally getting what she deserves, which is the ability to do what she loves to do,” coach Erica Dambach said. “She has faced all sorts of injuries and just some tough times.”
The Nittany Lions were not finished as redshirt junior Ally Schlegel found the back of the net in the 78th minute. Schlegel’s goal proved to be the game-winner as Penn State came out on top 2-1.
Every win in the Big Ten is huge, but this result felt extra special. Coffey and Abello wanted the proper send-off.
“All the emotions were high. I think more than any other game we wanted the result today," Coffey said. "I think in a way we were able to channel all of that emotion in just fuel to win."
Penn State is now 10-5 and 4-4 in conference play. This Thursday, the Nittany Lions head to Michigan to battle the Wolverines.
Aidan Torok is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.