WSOC: Penn State Holds on for a 1-0 win over Purdue
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (10-2-4, 6-0-3 Big Ten) hosted a conference opponent in the Purdue Boilermakers (4-11-0, 2-7-0 Big Ten) Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions came away with a close 1-0 win on a warm and sunny day.
Although the Big Ten leading Lions played subpar, this was a crucial win, as they claimed the lead atop the conference. Penn State still has Michigan State and Ohio State on their schedule before Big Ten tournament play begins.
After Purdue owned the first 10 minutes of play, Penn State responded by dominating the rest of the first half. The breakthrough came in the 37th minute when Frannie Crouse gathered the ball on the left side of the field, cut in on her right foot and ripped the ball into the top left corner from 25 yards out, beating the Boilermaker keeper, Jordan Ginther.
“Certainly Fran has proven that she can win games on her own,” Penn State head coach Erica Dambach said. “She is continuing to help drive this team.”
Crouse scored in her second straight game, which was her team-leading 11 goal of the season and fifth game-winning goal this season.
On a showing that was far from their best, Penn state was outshot by Purdue 15-13, forcing goalkeeper, Amanda Dennis, to have a busy day in net, tallying a career-high seven saves. After missing Grace Fisk at center back, junior midfielder, Salina Williford, was forced to slip back and fill in for her absence.
The unfamiliarity of the new lineup proved to be a challenge for the Lions.
“Career-high in saves is a good thing and a bad thing,” said Dennis. “Obviously you don’t want to get shot on.”
Although she faced plenty of shots, Dennis stressed the importance of the fact that the Nittany Lions were able to keep the ball out of their own net.
The freshman goalkeeper was very composed and positionally sound in her career day but the veteran leadership seems to be what keeps this team going.
“It’s hard when you’ve got one senior on the field to drive the standard and she (Nickolette Dreisse) continues to do it,” said Dambach. “She’s leading us and we need to follow her better.”
Dreisse proved why she is a captain of this team by leading by example and continuously winning balls in the midfield and tracking down attackers of the opposition. As the only senior on the roster, Dreisse is hands down the leader of this young Penn State team.
“If I’m not going to be the best player on the field, at least I’m going to be working the hardest,” Dreisse said.
The “blue collar mentality” is something Penn State was lacking against the Boilermakers but Dambach hopes to improve on it as the Nittany Lions travel to East Lansing Saturday to take on the Michigan State Spartans.
Mason Gallina is a junior majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.