Nittany Lions Beat Northwestern 3-1 on Senior Day

Story posted October 20, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Andrew Field

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women’s soccer (11-6-1) defeated Northwestern (5-8-3) on Sunday by a final score of 3-1. It was Senior Day for the Nittany Lions, and emotions were running high for the six seniors that were honored.

Even though it was the seniors who were celebrated, it was a pair of freshmen, Payton Linnehan and Ally Schlegel, that led the Nittany Lions in the attacking half. Linnehan opened the scoring just 4:55 into the game after a beautiful pass from junior Sam Coffey.

Linnehan could not be marked as Northwestern tasked multiple players to try and stop her speed. Two of which were sophomore Julietta Thron and graduated senior Olivia Korhonen. Neither could match with the skill and agility of Linnehan who was aided by the Penn State attack getting the ball to her in space.

The Nittany Lions controlled the possession arrow in the first half by holding the ball for 67 percent of the time while Northwestern had possession for just 33 percent.

This trend continued as Linnehan scored another goal 13 minutes later at the 18:55 mark, this time all on her own as a deflected ball off a corner fell right at her feet and she calmly put it in the back of the net. 

Northwestern’s defensive approach was not working in the first half as they sat back and waited for the Nittany Lions to come to them, rather than pressuring whoever had the ball. At the half, the Lions led the Wildcats in shots 10-0.

It seemed as if head coach Michael Moynihan had a few set plays to start the second half and the Wildcats came out more aggressive. This took Penn State by surprise as junior midfielder Regan Steigleder put one past senior goalkeeper Amanda Dennis to cut the deficit in half to 2-1 just 19 seconds into the first half at 45:19.

The Nittany Lions quickly regained composure as their experienced defense led by seniors Ellie Jean, Kaleigh Riehl, and Laura Suero anchored down and created chances on the counter attack.

Sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Wood was peppered all throughout the second half as she made five saves. There was one save that she couldn’t make and that was on redshirt freshman Ally Schlegel’s team leading 11th goal of the season on another great feed from Sam Coffey at the 61:21 mark. 

The leadership was vocalized from both young and veteran players. Coffey, who transferred from Boston College, recognized this trait of the Nittany Lions as soon as she stepped on campus.

“They’re irreplaceable,” Coffey said. “Ultimately, we’re trying to make this season as long as it can be for them because of everything they’ve given to this program, which is everything they have.”

The unity of the team top to bottom is evident and it seems the Nittany Lions are coming together at the right time.

“We’re playing our best soccer right now,” Coffey said.

The Nittany Lions have now won five matches in a row and take on Nebraska in Lincoln on Oct. 27 in the last match of the season before the Big Ten Tournament.

 

 

Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.