Women’s Soccer: Penn State Dominates In First Round Against Albany
It was a cold and windy night at Jeffrey Field on Friday when Penn State took on Albany in the first round of the Women’s Soccer NCAA Tournament. From the start, the Nittany Lions controlled the tempo and came out strong to start the game and finished in the same fashion. Ultimately, Penn State came out on top and shutout the Great Danes, 5-0.
Penn State came out of the gate fast and kept the ball on the Albany side of the field for most of the first half. Just five minutes into the first half, sophomore Megan Schafer notched her eleventh goal of the season after the Albany goalie Alana Olivieri misplayed the ball around the six-yard mark and Schafer poked it through to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Penn State is undefeated when scoring first this season and continued that streak after tonight’s win.
“I think this team has a belief that they can score early. It feels good, but at the same time, it’s all about our leadership, and it’s all about our captains,” said Penn State head coach Erica Walsh. “They’re the ones that are driving us early in the game right now.”
A little over ten minutes later, sophomore Brittany Basinger scored her second goal of the year to give Penn State a two-goal lead. To close out the second half, Emily Ogle scored a rocket from 30 yards out in the middle of the field to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead heading into halftime. For much of the first half, Albany was forced to play defense and had eight or nine players constantly in the box, but the Lions were disciplined and stuck to their game plan.
“I think it’s all about being patient and sustaining the attack. The gaps will open and unlock at some point, but it’s about being patient and swinging the ball. Then when we do have the opportunity to go, all of us are going in on the same page,” said Ogle.
Penn State had the commanding lead going into the second half, but weren’t done putting up goals against a defensive minded Great Dane team. Ogle scored her second goal of the game in the 56th minute, giving the Nittany Lions a comfortable 4-0 lead in a flurry-ridden field.
However, even with less than three minutes to play in the game, Penn State tacked on a late goal to make the win 5-0. Charlotte Williams scored her second goal of the season from the top of the 18 that went right past Olivieri. Penn State goalie Britt Eckerstrom recorded the shutout in net while backup goalie Rose Chandler also saw around 20 minutes of action. In the end, the Nittany Lions were too much to handle, and Penn State moved onto the next round.
“I want to compliment Albany and congratulating them on an amazing season. I think they came out here with an incredible belief and stuck to their game plan,” said Walsh.
Besides the domination shown by Penn State, the weather was a gigantic factor in the game. The winds were anywhere between 20 and 25 miles per hour and every time the ball went in the air, the wind took it a certain way. The Nittany Lions had the wind with them in the first half and used it to their advantage.
“Significant effect on the game. Many of our goals were wind assisted,” stated Walsh.
With the win, Penn State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face the winner of Boston University and St. John’s later next week.
Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.