Women’s Soccer Routs Bucknell, 7-0
Tuesday night would be a cakewalk for the Penn State women’s soccer team. The Nittany Lions (8-1, 3-0 B1G) hosted the Bucknell Bison (5-5, 0-1 Patriot) Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field. Penn State boasts an 18-0-1 record against Bucknell, and has only given up one goal in those meetings. In yet another dominant effort, the Nittany Lions walked away with a 7-0 victory.
Penn State was a heavy favorite coming into the game, which can sometimes cause teams to come out flat. However, Penn State was able to keep up their intensity from their win over Big Ten rival Ohio State, and take care of business against Bucknell.
“I thought right off the bat the attitude was good, the mentality was right, and I was really proud of this team’s performance tonight,” said head coach Erica Walsh. “We look for competitive players. We want players that want to win in everything that they do.”
The Nittany Lions recorded 18 shots in the game, however, could not finish on many of the touches and open shots they had. The goals were being handed to them on a silver platter, but they couldn’t finish as easily as they would have hoped.
“I actually thought we fought through the frustration pretty well,” Walsh said. “I think they kept their cool; they kept going at them.”
The first goal for Penn State came with 30:50 left in the first half, when junior Mallory Weber used some fancy footwork to make her way into the box and curved the ball around the Bucknell goalie.
Penn State freshman Frannie Crouse scored one of her two goals on the night with 14:22 left to go in the first, extending the lead to 2-0. Crouse was recently named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, but she doesn’t let that take her focus off the task at hand.
“It’s a great honor, but each week’s something new and you have to take it as something totally different,” said Crouse. “So I kind of just let it pass and played today pretty well.”
With just 25 seconds to go in the half, Penn State freshman Megan Schafer put a shot on net, and the ball was deflected into the goal. Schafer was credited with the goal, and the Nittany Lions took a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Despite a slow start to the beginning of the game, Penn State came out firing in the second half. Freshman Emily Ogle recorded her first goal of the game just over a minute into the half. With a 4-0 deficit, Bucknell pulled their starting junior goaltender Jessie Ashworth, and replaced her with sophomore Jessica Ratner.
After their fourth goal, Penn State took its foot off the gas pedal and began to play more conservatively. After a bunch of missed opportunities and turnovers, Bucknell finally started to show some life with 22:30 left in the match. However, backup Penn State goalkeeper Meghan Kaminski stopped three straight chances for the Bison, including one with her face.
Those were pretty much the only chances the Bison would get for the rest of the game, and after that, the Nittany Lions put the pressure back on Bucknell.
After a long scoring drought, Penn State sophomore Anna Witte snuck the ball into the upper corner of the net on what looked to be an attempted cross. The goal was the first of Witte’s college career and extended the lead to 5-0.
“I just remember taking it down in line, crossing it in and see what would happen and I got an upper 90 goal which was pretty cool,” said Witte. “It was pretty cool to score my first college goal on Jeffrey [Field].”
With a little under nine minutes left, junior Mallory Peterson joined the party and scored on a turnaround shot from just outside the box. The final Nittany Lion goal was scored with 58 seconds left in the game by Crouse, which was her second of the game.
Although a heavy favorite and clearly a dominating performance, Crouse said they wouldn’t play it any other way.
“We played this team like we would play any other team,” Crouse said. “We can’t take any team lightly…so we just come in each game playing like they’re the best opponent we could play.”
Penn State was able to control the ball for most of the game, and Witte likes to attribute that to the team chemistry and being able to work the ball around the field.
“We do a really great job with the ball in the middle of the field and being able to distribute it to both sides,” she said. “I think we’ve done a really great job collectively keeping the ball, being calm, and knowing when to attack and knowing when to sit back and just swing the ball around the field.”
Penn State was able to get a lot of their opportunities off of crosses and moving the ball down the sides of the field.
“I thought our flank play was exceptional tonight…I thought we really gave them a challenge in the flank area,” said Walsh.
With a tough opponent in Northwestern coming up this weekend, Penn State should look to do the same thing. The Nittany Lions will matchup against the Wildcats this Friday. You can catch the match on ComRadio at 7 p.m.
Alex Passaretti is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.