Penn State Women’s Soccer Dominates Michigan 4-1
In the rematch of the 2019 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Tournament title game, conference heavyweights Penn State and Michigan battled it out at Jeffery Field on Saturday afternoon, with the Nittany Lions emerging victorious 4-1.
With the win, No. 11 Penn State advances to 6-1-1 and sits atop the Big Ten conference standings alongside Rutgers, while Michigan drops to 4-2-2 with the loss and falls to sixth in the conference.
With the modified season this year, both teams played just two days ago on Thursday, each securing a shutout victory.
At the outset, it seemed like Penn State would be the team struggling to find its legs as Michigan’s Lily Farkas blasted a ball into the top-left corner from outside the box in the 12th minute to put the Wolverines up 1-0. That would be the Wolverine’s only lead of the afternoon, and it lasted just over 30-seconds.
Shortly after, Ally Schlegel is tripped up inside the penalty box and Sam Coffey finished off the job knocking home the penalty kick and knotting the score at 1-1. From there, the Nittany Lions wouldn’t look back.
Coffey and Schlegel would link up once again in the 21st minute, this time on a perfectly placed assist behind the back line from Coffey to Schlegel who was awaiting and timed it perfectly, punching it in with her foot to give Penn State the 2-1 lead.
Coffey would tally her second assist of the match shortly after in the 30th minute by sending a dime ahead to a streaking Payton Linnehan, giving Penn State a 3-1 lead heading into the halftime break.
With her four points today, Coffey extends her rank as the NCAA Division I active leader in points and assists while also strengthening her MAC Hermann Trophy case, which is awarded to the top men’s and women’s players in college soccer each year.
Even with the massive success that Coffey has had this season and throughout her career, head coach Erica Dambach says that you can’t talk about Coffey without mentioning her counterpart, Frankie Tagliaferri.
“It's hard to talk about Sam without talking about Frankie and I think the two of them both controlled this game. I thought that they were both very good on the counter. Obviously, Sam was able to find a few players in that counterattack, but I thought Frankie was dangerous as well,” Dambach said.
Tagliaferri was toying with Michigan defenders all game long and would finally get herself on the scoreboard, flashing her field vision in the 63rd minute delivering a beautiful ball to Linnehan who found the back of the net for her second goal of the game to put the score at 4-1.
The midfielders for Penn State have been remarkable all year long, and today was no different.
“I think [Coffey and Tagliaferri] are a two-headed monster right now coming out of our midfield and with Schlegel on the other end of it and Linnehan, obviously it's bringing us a ton of success,” Dambach said.
Although, the defense can’t be ignored. Michigan would threaten many times in the second half and Penn State’s defense stood tall. The Nittany Lions’ unit was stifling all game long and would bend, but not break.
Asman had a stellar performance in net as well, making some critical saves in the second half and only letting up the one goal.
“It was a good day today at Jeffery Field. Obviously, the smiles on the faces of the players after the game told the whole story. I think they were really proud of their performance, certainly I was and that’s a very good Michigan team,” Dambach said.
Penn State controlled both sides of the ball and the entire team played hard with high energy and effort all afternoon. Michigan didn’t play a bad game, per se. Penn State just played a near flawless one.
Penn State proved that it’s a team that’s on a different level.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes this upcoming Thursday, March 25 to attempt to increase their conference lead.
Zach Donaldson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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