Decisive Goal Proves Elusive In Penn State, Duke Draw
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After scoring six goals in its opening two matches of the season, No. 6 Penn State couldn’t find the net Friday, settling for a draw with No. 21 Duke at Jeffrey Field.
The best chance of the match came halfway through the first half, as a Mallory Weber misfire off the right goal post found Charlotte Williams on the rebound, but her attempt went just right of the goal.
A shot that clear would elude the Nittany Lions the remainder of the contest.
"The game winds down to moments and finishing those moments and tonight we didn’t,” said senior Penn State goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom. “We had a lot of good opportunities and good progress from the last game so that’s all we can hope for in this point in the season."
Williams lead the Nittany Lions’ attack for the majority of the match, getting a shot on goal in the third minute of the game and sending a potential go-ahead shot in the 101st minute just wide of the right post.
“Just keep on going, I don’t think you can dwell on what happened,” Williams said. ”Just keep working hard and hopefully finish some more coming up.”
Williams received a cross in the box with an opportunity to score in the 78th minute, but did not get a good foot on the ball for the volley, sending the ball out of bounds.
In the 93rd minute, Eckerstrom made a diving save on a Racioppi Taylor shot from distance. Taylor was the lone Blue Devil to consistently test the goalie, accounting for three of her team’s four shots on goal.
Duke goalkeeper EJ Proctor displayed excellent form, tallying 10 saves. Duke has yet to concede a goal this season.
A bright spot for the Nittany Lions was the play of the backline, featuring two true freshman and two sophomores, all of who played the entire duration of the match.
“The backline did an exceptional job tonight and held off three of the best attacking players in the country,” said Penn State head coach Erica Walsh.
“We did a good job at solving problems,” Walsh added. “Looking out to the field and seeing players solve problems, that was big for us with such a young team.”
Going forward, Penn State will look to capitalize on the chances created with a simple plan, according to Walsh.
"It’s going back and training. Just like shooting layups, just got to shoot them over and over again."
Penn State will play host to Arkansas on Sunday, the team’s fourth consecutive home game to open the season.
Marley Paul is a senior digital and print journalism major at Penn State. Contact him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @MPaulPSU
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