Schlegel’s Big Night Keys Penn State Women’s Soccer To First Round Victory
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Junior Ally Schlegel left her mark in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as Penn State was able to emerge with a win over the Monmouth Eagles 3-1.
Schlegel contributed all across the stat sheet, tallying five shots, along with an assist, and most importantly, a very impressive header that gave the Nittany Lions their first goal of the night.
Schlegel’s performance set the tone for an impressive outing for the team as a whole.
Penn State was aggressive all game long, possessing the ball for long stretches and recording 22 shots in the game, compared to Monmouth’s four.
Head coach Erica Dambach chalked this strong overall effort up to strong preparation coming into the game.
“I thought they came out with a ton of energy. It’s a reflection of these last two weeks of training. They have really dug in, spirits have been high, the work ethic has been high and I think that reflected right off the bat,” Dambach said.
One reason the energy may have been heightened was due to the return of Payton Linnehan to the lineup.
The junior had missed the final 10 regular season games due to injury, but returned to the lineup against Monmouth. She promptly scored the second of Penn State’s goals a few minutes after checking in off the bench.
After the game concluded, Ally Schlegel commented on what the return of Linnehan meant to the team.
“I want Payton’s speed for Christmas. I think she just has so much dynamic movement up top. It just gives us that extra threat everywhere we go,” Schlegel said.
Coach Dambach was also very complimentary of Linnehan in her first game back, as she touched on the impact she had on her teammates when she entered the game.
“She brings such a level of excitement to our group, even as she came running onto the field you could feel it. Obviously comes in, and impacts the game by scoring a goal right away, but there’s so many other things she does so well for us,” Dambach said.
After bringing a 2-0 lead into halftime, Penn State recorded a third goal, which was scored by senior Rachel Wasserman.
Although Monmouth would soon record their lone goal curtesy of sophomore Rachel Ludwick, the Nittany Lions held on for the win and advanced in the NCAA Tournament.
Penn State will face the winner of the game between USC and Grand Canyon in the second round.
Coach Dambach emphasized the nature of the tournament, and how Penn State will continue facing teams they might not normally play. She thinks it will help keep her team prepared.
“You’ve got to stay locked in a little bit more because you’re not going through the same routines. It’s something fresh and new. And that’s what you love about the NCAA tournament, it’s all the unknown,” Dambach said.
Joe Tuman is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.