Penn State Falls to Virginia in the Rain
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 11 Penn State finished their non-conference slate on a low note, as the Nittany Lions fell 2-1 to the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers in the pouring rain on Sunday. Virginia jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first half and the Nittany Lions could not recover, only scoring one goal of their own midway through the second half.
Although Penn State bested the Cavaliers in shots 14-11, the Nittany Lions could not capitalize on their opportunities, as only one of the team’s six shots on goal found its way in the net and zero goals were generated on free kicks or corner kicks despite numerous chances.
Head coach Eric Dambach revealed her disappointment with the team’s performance. “The blue-collar mentality of our group needs to be better,” Dambach said. “It something we pride ourselves on, but today, in the first half, we didn’t see it, and that got the best of us in the game.”
Dambach went on to describe how the weather impacted her team’s play. “Unfortunately, those are two really good soccer-playing teams, but not a lot of soccer broke out,” Dambach said. “That’s a shame, but you’ve got to adjust and [Virginia] adjusted better than we did.
The lone bright spot on offense in Sunday’s loss to Virginia came from redshirt junior forward Kristin Schnurr, who scored the Nittany Lions’ only goal with 17 minutes remaining in the second half. The goal came as Schnurr’s third of the season, tying her with redshirt senior Emily Ogle and sophomore Kerry Abello as the Nittany Lions’ leading goal-scorers in 2018.
Schnurr attributed her recent success to the support of her teammates. “We’re all just pushing each other at practice,” Schnurr said. “We use the quote ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and it’s definitely true. Our keepers especially have been pushing us in practice, telling us to shoot low and make sure [our shots are] on frame.”
Dambach was not the only to take note of the weather, as Schnurr mentioned its impact on the match as well. “[The weather] was a factor, but we just had to control what we could control,” Schnurr said. “We’re going to have these days, especially here in State College. We just have to buck up and be ready for it.”
Although Dambach was dissatisfied with the loss, she did commend Schnurr for her performance. “She just puts her head down and works,” Dambach said. “She’s just grinding right now. It’s not a whole lot of talk from her, it’s just a whole lot of doing. Her actions are speaking.”
With the loss, the Nittany Lions fall to 4-3 on the season, but there’s still reason to be hopeful. The Nittany Lions’ 112 total shots remain the second-highest among Big Ten rosters, and the team’s 16.0 shots per game outclass their opponents’ average of 7.9.
Schnurr remains enthusiastic as well. “This has all prepared us so much. You’re going to see everything in the Big Ten season, and Ohio State is going to bring it to us, so we’ll be ready.”
As Schnurr mentioned, Penn State’s next opponent, Ohio State, will take on the Nittany Lions at Jeffrey Field on Friday. The Nittany Lions will look to begin Big Ten conference play on the right foot with a home victory.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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