Penn State Gets First Conference Win
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 23 Penn State (5-4-1) defeated the Michigan State Spartans (7-3-0) 5-1 Sunday afternoon in a dominant win a Jeffrey Field to put the Nittany Lions back in the win column after a three-game losing streak.
Penn State filled the stat sheet with 21 shots, 13 on target, and six assists. Their assertive and competitive play allowed them to give some opportunities to reserves who usually don’t get much playing time.
“Just a good performance today…across the roster,” Penn State head coach Erica Dambach said. “That was probably the best part about [the win], there were a lot of players stepping up and contributing today.”
Penn State had a critical mistake early from redshirt senior defender Ellie Jean, who committed a foul in their own box to allow a PK attempt for Michigan State, which allowed junior midfielder Danielle Stephan to score for the Spartans. The Nittany Lions went on to dominate the rest of the first half.
The Nittany Lions had a total of 14 shots in the half. Redshirt freshman Ally Schlegel recorded her seventh goal of the season shortly after MSU’s penalty kick and freshman Payton Linnehan recorded her first collegiate goal with only a minute to go before the half. The Spartans struggled to get anything going offensively, with only two shots the entire half, but their defense kept them in the game as redshirt freshman keeper Lauren Kozal recorded an impressive six saves.
Penn State solidified the victory in the second half with three more goals. Junior Sam Coffey scored with a strike in the top right corner of the net less than two minutes in and junior Kerry Abello had a goal soon after. Penn State freshman Devin Olive solidified the victory late with the first goal of her collegiate career. The Nittany Lions went on to win the match 5-1.
The Nittany Lions didn’t take their foot off the pedal throughout the second half as they continued to play aggressively and push the ball to the Michigan State side of the pitch. The Spartans looked fatigued and desperate throughout, as they were forced to run all over the place due to a solid passing game by the Nittany Lions.
After losing three home games in a row for the first time ever in program history, Dambach was proud of the way her young team fought back.
“It’s just a process, and these guys have continued to believe in the process and work hard and stay focused on what we’re trying to do,” Dambach said.
Jack McCune is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.