Penn State Women’s Soccer Returns to Winning Ways vs. Ohio State
The Penn State women’s soccer team (11-3-1) is back to its winning ways after dropping two straight games, defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes (8-4-3) 4-2, Thursday afternoon, in a rainy match at Jeffrey Field.
The game started off with an injury scare for senior forward Maya Hayes, as she went down just over a minute into the half. However, it was nothing serious and she quickly returned to the game.
Senior midfielder Taylor Schram gave Penn State the early lead, scoring in the fifth minute, off of a cross from Mallory Weber. Schram kicked the ball in on a slide from six yards out, giving her four goals on the season. Once the Nittany Lions had the lead, they slowed down their game, showing no urgency when moving the ball.
Penn State increased their lead to 2-0 in the 34th minute when Ohio State scored an own goal. Weber brought the ball into the box and crossed it when the keeper came out to defend her. Defender Marissa Wolf tried to clear the ball, but it instead deflected off of her foot and into the net.
In the 37th minute, Ohio State cut Penn State’s lead to one when Nichelle Prince wove through the defense and scored a goal from 12 yards out. The goal, Prince’s eighth of the season, provided a momentum switch for Ohio State and they were close to picking up a second goal after some confusion on the field regarding a non-existent off-sides call.
Penn State keeper Britt Eckerstrom thought that an off-sides had been called against Ohio State, so she brought the ball out and used her hand to set up a free kick. Since she was out of the box, a handball was called against her and Ohio State was given the free kick. However, they were not able to capitalize on it and Penn State took the 2-1 lead into halftime.
As the second half started, so did a heavy rain, making the already wet and slippery field even worse. Ohio State took many shots from way outside the box, and was not coming up with anything. Then, in the 54th minute, Morgan Wolcott got her head on the ball and sent it into the back of the net, tying up the score at 2.
“We weren’t worried [that Ohio State tied the game],” Schram said after the game. “We all looked at each other and said no worries, we’re not worried. We’re better than this team, we can do this.”
Less than a minute later, Maya Hayes intercepted a pass between the Ohio State keeper and a defender, and put the ball into a wide-open net. Hayes then scored again in the 58th minute when Schram’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar and Hayes tapped in the rebound from 6 yards out. The two goals bring Hayes’ season total to 15.
With the momentum back in Penn State’s favor, the team started to slow things down again in an attempt to eat up the clock. The team spent much of the remaining time passing the ball around and trying to keep it from the Buckeyes. When Ohio State did manage to get the ball, the Penn State defense was aggressive and up-tempo in an attempt to get it back.
When asked how it felt to get back into the win column after two straight losses, Coach Erica Walsh said, “I told them I was tired of giving the same speech I had given [after] the last two games. One of the things I talked to them about before the game is they had to have an angry energy to them, and I thought they did.”
Penn State finishes up their regular season home schedule this Sunday, October 20th at noon. They play host to Illinois in another Big Ten matchup and will be honoring their seven seniors prior to the game.
Anna Pitingolo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.