Auth, Nicolai Stand Out as Bench Earns Well-Needed Playing Time in 20-6 Win
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Thanks to excellent performances from Maria Auth and Quinn Nicolai, No. 25 Penn State (6-0) rolled to a dominant 20-6 over the Duquesne Dukes at Panzer Stadium on Wednesday.
Within the first four minutes, the Penn State attack already had the upper hand thanks to goals from Auth, Nicolai and many other players. For Auth and Nicolai, this was just the beginning of remarkable performances, as it seemed like every shot on goal from the duo found its way into the back of the net.
When the final seconds ran off in the first half clock today, Auth and Nicolai had each recorded a hat trick plus one already. Auth later added to that total with her fifth and final goal taking place in the second half. But her incredible individual performance was the last thing on her mind.
“The win was a credit to our team and how hard we work when people have big games,” Auth said. “Our offensive unit was moving well as a whole. We were able to clear it out down there to get some goals for everyone.”
The five goals on the day gives Auth 11 goals on the year, which leads Penn State through three games.
As for Nicolai, her hat-trick performance was her first of the season. She was very happy with the effort that she and her team put in.
“Having everybody on the field from the younger girls to the seniors, you could see all the personnel that was in there making plays happen,” Nicolai said. “It felt like the offense was moving well today, and that boosts our confidence for the rest of the season.”
Nicolai finished the game with four goals, bringing her total for the year to six. As Nicolai alluded to, this blowout allowed the opportunity for the whole team to earn valuable minutes. With the game being well in hand by halftime, some of the younger players were able to step in and develop their game in real time.
Throughout the second half, three Penn State freshmen scored their first goals as Nittany Lions. The trio of Olivia Dirks, Kelsey Kimmel and Kara Nealon all scored their first goals today. When each one scored, they were happily greeted by their teammates and were congratulated on their accomplishments.
“You can see from the players that go out there that the talent level doesn’t drop much,” head coach Missy Doherty said. “It’s been hard battles for coaches to figure out who the right people are in the mix, and it’s nice to see a lot of people in game settings.”
Dale Ostrander is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.