Team Effort Leads to Dominant Shutout Win over Minnesota

Story posted March 19, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions dominated the unranked Minnesota Gophers on a rainy Thursday night for a 3-0 shutout win.

Coming into this Big Ten matchup, The Nittany Lions had won four games in a row before settling for a 2-2 tie with the Ohio State Buckeyes in their last outing. Meanwhile, the Gophers entered this faceoff having notched three wins and a tie in their last four contests.

One takeaway from this victory was the stability and depth in this roster. With star senior Kerry Abello and sophomore Cori Dyke suffering injuries in the first half, the back line held together and refused to allow Minnesota’s attack to penetrate until Dyke and Abello both checked back in.

“Obviously, [I’m] really proud of the result tonight on both sides of the ball,” head coach Erica Dambach said. “It was a total team performance, and [we] asked a lot out of a lot of players. Most importantly, we had players come off the bench for us and play big minutes and help secure things for us. We knew this season was going to require the work of everybody, and tonight was an indication of that.”

Despite Minnesota outshooting Penn State 18-4, Minnesota rarely shot inside the 18-yard line, which reflects the incredible defensive play from Penn State throughout the contest.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions were on fire, notching three goals, two of which came within less than four minutes of each other; both were off the foot of redshirt sophomore Ally Schlegel. The Colorado native racked up two goals to elevate her totals to three goals and three assists for nine points on the season so far.

However, Schlegel wasn’t the only Nittany Lion getting on the scoreboard. Senior forward Sam Coffey picked up a sweet assist on the right side in the first frame and launched a missile off her foot on a free kick in the tail end of the second half to raise her totals to four goals and three assists for 11 points in the early stages of the season.

“There’s no real mystery to Sam Coffey’s success; she puts the time in, [and] she’s a student of the game,” Dambach said. “She’s the first one there to study film with her notebook and ask good questions. Sam wants to be the best player she can possibly be, and what I love about her is that she brings the rest of the team with her.”

While Schlegel and Coffey instigated the offense, this was an impressive, all-around effort from a Penn State squad that looks like a top-10 program. Coffey and Schlegel will be a potent combo moving forward, but the defense will decide how high this team goes.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.