Lions Net Four Goals in Romp of MSU
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Senior Days tend to be special, and the 2017 edition for the Penn State women’s soccer team proved to be no different. The No. 14 Nittany Lions (9-3-1; 5-1-1 Big Ten) shutout the Spartans of Michigan State 4-0 on Sunday afternoon in front of a big crowd at Jeffery Field on an important day for the Lions’ seven soon-to-be graduates.
All four of Penn State’s goals were scored by seniors, who only have one more home regular season match left in their careers. For the match, Penn State out-shot Michigan State, 18-4.
Senior striker Megan Schafer got the day going with a well-placed goal 13 minutes into the match. Schafer was assisted by Marissa Sheva on the finish.
While Penn State controlled possession inside Spartan territory, they struggled to add to their one-goal advantage.
Things changed after halftime. The Nittany Lions continued to control the match, and they were able to find the net a few more times. Schafer tacked on another goal, her team-high sixth of the season, to put Penn State up by two. This time, defender Brittany Bassinger provided the helper.
Penn State scored on a set piece from the corner as well. With an assist from Laura Freigang, senior defender Elizabeth Ball added to the lead with a 77th-minute screamer from the corner of the box to make the score 3-0. It was Ball’s first goal of the season.
In the 87th minute, senior Haleigh Echard found the back of the net for the second time this year, scoring Penn State’s final goal of the match.
Goalkeeper Rose Chandler had another strong performance in net for Penn State, picking up her second-straight shutout win after blanking Michigan on Friday night. Chandler had two saves on the day.
Not all was well for the Nittany Lions, however. Forward Frannie Crouse went down with an injury midway through the first half and did not return. Her injury situation has not been released.
Coach Erica Dambach saw both positives and negatives in the victory, but was thrilled to see her seniors pull through on Senior Day.
“We went to halftime pretty frustrated, pretty disappointed with our play,” she said. “But we came back out and had a better second half and honored our seniors in the way they should be honored.”
The four-goal victory was Penn State’s largest win margin of the season. It was also their sixth shutout of the year.
For Schafer, who powered home two goals in the win, such a performance on Senior Day is something she will never forget.
“It’s amazing. Who knows how many games we have left on Jeffery Field, but we had a great crowd, great weather. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Penn State’s road to another Big Ten title continues on Thursday as the Lions take on Rutgers in New Jersey. After another road match against Maryland Penn State returns home to face Purdue on October 20th. Michigan State hosts in-state rival Michigan on Saturday.
Jonathan Gross is a junior double-majoring in broadcast journalism and international politics. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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