Penn State Rebounds with Shutout Victory Over Iowa
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After being shut out at home by Nebraska last Thursday, the No. 24 Penn State Nittany Lions rebounded with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes. Sunday’s game was a heavily defensive one, as neither team scored in the first half. It wasn’t until the 65-minute mark that the Nittany Lions put one on the board. The Nittany Lions eventually added to their lead with a second goal about 10 minutes after the first, and they never gave the Hawkeyes a chance to come back from the deficit.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we don’t need pretty right now at this point in the season,” head coach Erica Dambach said. “We need gritty, and I thought it was a gritty performance. Players found an extra gear. It was some obvious fatigue on both team’s part, but that’s about what inside you, and I thought our team pulled through in that area today.”
Penn State’s first goal came midway through the second half off the foot of senior midfielder Charlotte Williams; her third goal of the year. Later, a cross from Williams into the box allowed redshirt junior forward Kristin Schnurr to score and put the Nittany Lions up 2-0, preserving the team’s fifth home victory of 2018.
“I saw Char [Williams] getting her head up for the cross, and I saw [the ball] going right over the goal, and I was just thinking to myself ‘get a foot on it,’” Schnurr said about her game-sealing goal. “Just hit it towards the goal and hopefully someone’s there to frame it or it goes in.”
One of four Penn State players to remain on the field for all 90 minutes was senior forward and midfielder Alina Ortega-Jurado, who consistently came up big with defensive stops and offensive opportunities.
Ortega-Jurado commented on how her team adjusted from their mindset against Nebraska in order to come away victorious against Iowa. “Against Nebraska, we were very possession-oriented, but there wasn’t really a drive towards the goal,” said Ortega-Jurado. “I feel like here, we found another ear towards the goal, making sure that when we attack, we attack to score and not just to have the ball. I think that was a huge difference today.”
Though the offense was a key part of the victory, it was Penn State’s defensive dominance that decided the match. In total, the Nittany Lions only allowed five shots and one shot on goal from the Hawkeyes, including only one shot in the entire second half.
“In our attacking half of the field, we were particularly good,” Dambach said. “As soon as we turned the ball over, I thought our, what we call ‘rest defense’ was really sharp… We created a lot of opportunities off of stepping up and pressing [the Hawkeyes] in those spaces.”
The win over Iowa brings Penn State to 7-5 on the season and 3-2 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions will resume play next Friday when the team travels to East Lansing for a 7 p.m. match with Michigan State.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.