Women’s Soccer Wins at Home Against JMU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women’s soccer moved to 4-1-1 on the season with a 2-1 win over the James Madison Dukes on Sunday at Jeffrey Field.
The No. 8 Nittany Lions were looking to return to winning form, following a draw to No. 22 West Virginia Friday in Morgantown. Despite having plenty of motivation following Friday’s result, where Penn State saw a first half lead slip through its fingers, the Nittany Lions came out flat footed in the early going.
An early throw in came into the near post, where the header was won by James Madison and forced Penn State redshirt freshman goalkeeper Katherine Asman to make a quick reaction save. Unfortunately for Asman, she punched the ball right to the back post, where senior forward Claire Meiser volleyed it into the back of the net, completely unmarked. This gave the Dukes an early 1-0 advantage.
It was a huge lapse in concentration early on for the Nittany Lions, who quickly learned from this error and developed sharper focus from that point onward.
Penn State would go on to control most of the possession for the remainder of the first half. The Nittany Lions created many scoring opportunities but could not quite keep their composure in the final third.
James Madison also put on an incredible defensive display in the first half. At times, the Dukes had nearly all 11 bodies behind the ball in their own half, showing an incredible work rate and making themselves tough to break down.
Penn State managed nine first half shots, including three by redshirt freshman midfielder Ally Schlegel and two by junior midfielder Kerry Abello. However, it would come down to the waning seconds of the first half before the Nittany Lions found their equalizer.
Senior forward Phoebe Digna of James Madison committed a foul inside her penalty area. This allowed junior midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri to step up and take a penalty kick to try and draw her side level.
Although the Dukes’ goalkeeper, Hannah McShea, made the initial save, her rebound placement left more to be desired, as she placed it right in the path of Tagliaferri to tap it home past the sprawled out McShea, and tie the match at a goal apiece with just 40 seconds remaining until halftime.
The Nittany Lions took this momentum straight into the second half, absolutely dominating the pace of the match. Chance after chance came for Penn State.
After a few impressive stops by McShea, a relentless James Madison defense was unraveled once again as Tagliaferri kept tugging at their strings. She dribbled down the byline, drawing in defenders to free up a cross in the middle of the box, where Schlegel could lift her first-time shot over McShea and put Penn State in the lead 2-1. This was Schlegel’s fourth goal of the season.
“When I see Frankie and Jordan making that combination down the side, I’m just thinking, ‘get in the box," Schlegel said. "I’ve got to be committed to my run.”
Chances were hard to come by for the Dukes, who could hardly string together enough passes to work out of their own end of the field. McShea did well to keep her side in the match against a ferocious Penn State attack. The James Madison backstop accumulated eight saves on the afternoon.
With 17:02 remaining, the Dukes finally created the chance they were searching for. Freshman forward Jordan Canniff committed a foul inside the box, giving James Madison its own shot at both a penalty kick and an equalizer.
While it seemed like the opportunity JMU needed, Asman made the save on the penalty kick and denied sophomore midfielder Iris Rabot the goal.
“We had a little thing at the beginning of our preseason that we worked with some people in the military. One of the things they said to us when we walked away was: ‘at some point you’re gonna have to stop thinking and just do," Asman said. "In that moment, I was told what to do and I just stopped thinking and I did it.”
Asman’s rebound control was much better than on the goal her side conceded earlier in the match, as she forced the ball well wide of the goal.
“I think our young players did an awesome job at coming in ready,” Schlegel said.
Penn State will be back in action Thursday, as they host Oklahoma State at Jeffery Field at 7:00 p.m.
Andre Magaro is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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