Recently in Women's Soccer Category
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State Athletics was heavily involved with the 42nd IFC/Panhellenic
Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend.
A record 711 dancers began standing at 6 p.m. on Friday and did not sit down
or sleep until Sunday at 4 p.m. to raise awareness for the fight against
pediatric cancer in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
Since 1977, THON has partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund
at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering
childhood cancer. THON raised a record
of more than $13.3 million in 2014. To
date, more than $110 million has been raised by THON.
Several Penn State student-athletes danced in the annual dance
marathon. Representing the Student
Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) will be Maggie Harding from women's volleyball,
Natalie Buttinger from field hockey, Erin Kehoe from women's soccer and
Christian Kaschak from men's soccer.
Williams and Elise Potter from the Lionettes squad and Eugene Bodden, Kali
Fleckenstein, Carrie Tedesco and Ally Zimmerman from Penn State cheerleading danced in THON.
Several teams and coaches played an active role in THON events throughout
the weekend, in addition to squads participating in Saturday's annual pep rally
and team dance competition.
We would also like to
congratulate Penn State Athletic Communications student assistant Rachel Steinberg, as she danced over the weekend, in addition to the several student assistants
actively involved with THON.
Take a look through our THON weekend updates on the involvement Penn State Athletics. To donate to THON, please visit THON.org.
3:30 p.m. - Feature: Student-Athletes Set to Dance for Pediatric Cancer
Click here to read a feature on the student-athletes participating in THON 2014 - Feature Story
6 p.m. - THON 2014 Begins
The 711 dancers took their feet at 6 p.m. before an energetic crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center to begin 46-straight hours on their feet.
11 p.m. - Interview on the Floor
GoPSUsports.com talked with women's volleyball senior Maggie Harding on the floor about her experience during THON.
3 p.m. - Student-Athletes Host Make-A-Wish Families
Several teams hosted THON Make-A-Wish families on Saturday afternoon as part of the THON 2014 festivities.
More than 50 members of the Nittany Lion football team welcomed nearly 40 THON Make-A-Wish children and their families to a special tour of the Lasch Football Building on Saturday afternoon.
The Make-A-Wish event is circled on the calendar for the Nittany Lions every year. The THON families gathered inside the home of Penn State football to take photos, get autographs, tour the facility with the Nittany Lions, eat ice cream from the Penn State Creamery and take a group photo.
Head coach James Franklin greeted the group when it arrived at the facility tour before senior Miles Dieffenbach and sophomore Akeel Lynch led families on tours. Take a look at the Make-A-Wish event at the Lasch Football Complex on Saturday.
Photo Gallery - THON Make-A-Wish Football Event
5 p.m. - Student-Athletes Participate in Athlete Hour
Athletes from several teams on campus spent times with the THON Four Diamonds children inside the Bryce Jordan Center during athlete hour on Saturday. Take a look.
9:45 p.m. - VIDEO: Pep Rally Dance Competition Highlights
One of the THON highlights every year comes on Saturday night when the teams of Penn State Athletics hop on stage and compete in a dancing competition during the annual pep rally. In all, 12 different teams competed in the 2014 version of the dance-off.
With resounding approval from a packed house in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lion men's swimming team was named champion of the team dancing competition for the second-straight year. We have highlights of every team dancing on Saturday night at THON.
Photo Gallery - THON 2014 Pep Rally
Men's Swimming (Champions) - Full Dance
Football - Full Dance
Men's Basketball - Full Dance
Women's Volleyball - Full Dance
Men's Gymnastics - Full Dance
Women's Tennis - Full Dance
Field Hockey - Full Dance
Fencing - Full Dance
Men's Soccer - Full Dance
Women's Lacrosse - Full Dance
Women's Soccer - Full Dance
Women's Golf - Full Dance
11:05 p.m. - Student-Athlete Dancer Interviews: Hour 30
GoPSUsports.com talks with THON 2014 dancers Natalie Buttinger (field hockey) and Erin Kehoe (women's soccer) during the 30th hour of their 46-hour quest at THON.
12:55 p.m. - VIDEO: Coach Franklin Addresses THON 2014
Head coach James Franklin took the stage at THON on Sunday afternoon, urging the dancers to continuing working hard in their final push at the 46-hour marathon. Franklin spoke before a capacity crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Take a look.
4:11 p.m. - THON 2014 Raises Record $13.3 Million
THON 2014 reached new heights on Sunday afternoon when it was revealed that this year's efforts raised $13,343,517.33 for fight against pediatric cancer. Congratulations to everyone involved in THON 2014. Here is a look at the reveal on the Rec Hall video board following Sunday's Penn State wrestling victory over Clarion.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Watch members of the Nittany Lion women's soccer team show off their dance moves at the THON 2014 Pep Rally.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Pa. - This weekend the Penn State community will once again come together at
the Bryce Jordan Center and stand in support of the fight against pediatric
cancer at the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).
The dance marathon,
better known as THON, is a 46 hours no-sitting, no-sleeping event held every
February where over 1,500 Penn State students will come together to try and
give children and families fighting a battle with pediatric cancer the best
weekend of their lives.
1977, when THON partnered with the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey
Medical Center, it has raised over of $101 million to benefit the fight against
2013, the dance marathon raised $12.3 million, the highest total to date.
is one of the most prime examples of Penn State tradition and excellence and it
requires hard-working, dedicated individuals to carry on the legacy.
things represent tradition quite like Penn State student-athletes who day in
and out put in hours of work and service to represent the resiliency and honor
of Penn State Athletics.
They dedicate just
as much time to the community as they do to their sport through charities, camps,
and organizations like The Student Athletic Advisory Board (SAAB).
This year, four
student-athletes will represent SAAB on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center as
dancers: senior Erin Kehoe of women's soccer, senior Maggie Harding of women's
volleyball, sophomore Christian Kaschak of men's soccer, and redshirt junior Natalie Buttinger of field hockey.
Due to their heavy time
commitments to academics and the athletic department, being a student-athlete
and a dancer is a very difficult task to achieve. SAAB dancers must raise a minimum
of $2,000 to be considered for a dancer position.
"I had to call
friends and families from everywhere to help me raise money," said Kehoe.
"Because of our season, it is difficult for us to be involved in committees and
organizations so the fact that Penn State has allowed us to be a part of this
is incredible," said Kehoe.
"I'm a senior so I
am done with work outs and that's why I am able to be a part of this now," said
Harding. "This is my one opportunity."
and teammate are supportive and understanding of the athletes' participation.
"Coaches have been
very supportive. They allow you a week off and as many days as needed to rest
and recover," said Kehoe. "They understand THON and even if you're not a
dancer, [they know that] the team as a whole has a huge role in THON with
athlete hour and the pep rally."
who, for Kehoe and Harding, have become like family, also play a huge role in
the morale of the dancers. Both athletes agree that their teammates are one of
their best support systems.
"They are always
there for me," said Kehoe. "They know how to bring me up and keep me going."
weekend, student-athletes play a significant role in the celebration and in the
lives of the Four Diamonds families. They participate in a pep rally and an
"athlete hour" on Saturday where they spend quality time with the children and
"We are lucky
enough to have interactions with the kids during athlete hour," said Kehoe. "We
get to do arts and crafts and play soccer and football with whatever families
"[Athlete hour] is
an absolute blast. It's also great because it's one of the few teams that the
team comes together to do something other than volleyball," said Harding. "We
want to give them a weekend that they can just forget about everything and live
are tremendous role models and inspirations for the children but what many
people don't realize is THON and Athlete Hour are just as inspiring for the
hosts as it is for the participants.
"Being a part of
this is indescribable. It makes me feel very honored that they look up to us
and want to hang out with us," said Harding. "Just because we are athletes they
want to spend time with us and they love us. It's incredible."
"It was so amazing to
interact with babies and young kids...and relating my childhood to theirs. I
can't imagine going through what they are going through and how strong they
are," said Kehoe. "It puts me to shame. All my little things that I think are
so hard...they do so much more and have to go through so much more."
This weekend will
be an unforgettable one for every individual participating in THON. There will be
laughter and sadness and, undoubtedly, colossal amount of joy.
SAAB and the entire
athletic department will be well represented on the floor of the Bryce Jordan
Center with a total of 10 student-athlete, dance team and cheerleader dancers
standing For the Glory, For the Honor, and, most importantly, For the Kids.
"I would like to
thank every single person that puts time and effort into THON and everyone that
makes this possible," said Harding. "The support from everyone for the dancers
is great, but it's not about me or us. It's about making [the kids'] lives
better, at least for the weekend,"
"We talk about One
Team but this is what it's really all about. This is what being One Team really
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- The game had long since ended, and the fans had all
cleared out of Klockner Stadium
in Charlottesville, Va, yet Penn State star forward Maya Hayes couldn't bring
herself to leave the field.
With the Nittany Lions having just been eliminated in the second round of the NCAA
Tournament after falling to Wake Forest, 1-0, in a heartbreaker, the senior decided
to take a moment to reflect on the season that she and her teammates had just
"After that game I didn't want to leave the field until somebody forced me to,"
said Hayes. "Thinking about how our season was really over was so surreal."
Even with the premature ending, the 2013 Penn State women's soccer team went on
a ride that saw many highs, a few lows, and ultimately the growth and
maturation of every individual on the roster.
Looking back, it was a season that no member of the Nittany Lions will
New Season, New Challenges
Following a 2012 campaign that saw the team come one win away from a
national championship, Hayes and her teammates approached last summer with one
thought in their mind, improving their fitness level.
"Going into the offseason we were mainly focused on fitness," said Hayes. "We
knew we had high expectations so we really worked on ourselves all summer."
As the Nittany Lions tirelessly trained throughout the summer, they did so
knowing that they would take the field for the upcoming season needing to fill
the huge void left by recently graduated All-American midfielder Christine
Without the player that had been the catalyst for them throughout their NCAA
Tournament run, the Lions knew it would take a collective effort rather than
just one player stepping up in order to move on.
"Christine was a special player but we knew we didn't need just one player to
step up," said senior midfielder Taylor Schram. "We needed to step up as a unit
It may have only been Aug. 30, but the Nittany Lions knew that they had to look
at themselves in the mirror.
Following a season opening tie against West Virginia and a narrow 2-1 victory
over Hofstra, the Lions had fallen to Virginia on the road by a score of 5-1,
and they knew they needed to step it up.
"The Virginia game was a shocker," said Hayes. "We took the lessons from that
game and saw what we could work on."
From the disappointment against Virginia came the team's strongest stretch of
the season, as the Nittany Lions won their next nine contests, many of them in
Along the way the Blue and White proved that no lead against them was ever
safe, something that they established in wins against Oklahoma State on Sept.
13 and Northwestern on Sept 20.
After overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to rally for a 4-2 victory against the
Cowgirls, the Lions pulled off an even more challenging feat a week later
against the Wildcats, scoring two goals in the final ten minutes to even the
score, before junior defender Whitney Church ended the game with her second
goal of the evening in overtime.
"Coming back from being down two goals in both of those games we really
established a belief in ourselves," said Hayes. "We knew what our roles were
and what we had to do."
As the Nittany Lions continued on their winning streak that featured signature
wins over conference opponents Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin, they received
contributions from not only veterans like Hayes and Schram but also a group of
young players eager to make their mark.
Along with new starting sophomore goalie Britt Eckerstrom and freshman
defenders Salina Williford and Brittany Basinger, the player that impressed
head coach Erica Walsh the most was sophomore forward Mallory Weber, who
tallied seven goals and 22 points in just her second season.
"Mallory is so dangerous and she really stepped up as a leader this year," said
Walsh. "She had no problem letting her teammates know that things were going to
be done a certain way."
Weathering the Storm
All seasons in all sports have their ups and downs and the 2013 season for
Walsh and her team was no different.
After their 10-1-1 start, the Nittany Lions faced the toughest part of their
schedule down the stretch of the regular season, dropping four games to
conference opponents Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska, all just by one
"The Big Ten was tough this year and those teams played with a lot of heart,"
said Schram. "I looked myself in the mirror after those games and told myself
that I didn't want to have any regrets."
Knowing that the Big Ten title was out of their reach, the Nittany Lions
soldiered on, winning their regular season finale against Michigan State,
3-0. After a second round exit in the
Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions gave their seniors one last great moment
at home, dominating Monmouth, 3-0, behind a two-goal performance from senior
forward Tani Costa.
"There was no better way to end my home career," said Schram. "It was a great
way to say goodbye to our fans."
Moving Forward and Looking Back
While the loss to Wake Forest brought the Lions season to an end sooner
than they would have desired, there isn't a single memory from this season that
the players won't cherish.
The camaraderie, the cohesion, and the personalities involved make this group a
team that each player couldn't be prouder to be a part of.
"Success is defined in different ways but I wouldn't change this team for
anything," said Schram. "When I think back on this season I'll think of my
Though Walsh will miss the group of seniors that includes Emily Carrollo,
Costa, Hayes, Bri Hovington, Erin Kehoe, Lexi Marton and Schram, she is
optimistic about what the future of program holds, with key players like
Church, Eckerstrom, Emily Hurd, and Weber set to return.
"Next year we'll have a different team personality but we've got some great
players coming back," said Walsh. "I'll always remember this year's team as a
cohesive group that never went in separate directions."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
'Tis the season for giving thanks, and Penn State Athletics would like to
take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.
As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the
Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State
Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unrivaled support you give
every team on campus. Penn State's teams
would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.
As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus
would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give
them throughout the athletic season.
By Christine Nairn, GoPSUsports.com Soccer Analyst
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the final whistle blew at Klöckner Stadium, the Penn State women's soccer
seniors knew that their time in the blue and white jersey had officially come
to an end. Despite one of their best showings of the year, the women's soccer
team's season is over. The Nittany Lions were defeated 1-0 by the Demon Deacons
of Wake Forest due to a late second-half goal.
Penn State fans looked across the field at the scattered players, they could not
help but give a standing ovation their hard work, dedication, and tenacity
displayed throughout the season and in their final game as a team.
Senior midfielder Taylor Schram looked at her teammates and coaches in
astonishment and disappointment.
"We played our hearts out. We put our bodies on the line; we sprinted until we
couldn't run anymore. We are frustrated because we know that we had our
chances, but couldn't capitalize," said Schram.
"It's sad to think that my time at Penn State is over, but I wouldn't trade any
second with this team for anything. I will forever be grateful for Penn State
and it's Women's soccer program," said Schram.
Redshirt junior, Emily Hurd, reflected on her time with the senior class and
their influence on the younger players.
"The seniors are a huge class with many different personalities. It's going to
be impossible to replace them, but I think we can benefit from their hard
learned experiences and implement them into our mentality and playing style in
upcoming seasons," Hurd said.
"They are some of my best friends in their class, so I will miss them everyday
at practice. I hope to make them proud next year and play for them each and
every game," said Hurd.
The Nittany Lions traveled home for Thanksgiving, but will return to State
College next week with one goal in mind...next season.
"The preparations for next year start in the offseason. We are excited for some
down time but it's back to work with strength and conditioning coach Greg
Miskinis. He will prepare us for next season mentally and physically," said
"With every sprint and weight lifted, we will have our seniors in mind and give
that extra effort to make them proud next season."
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- After seven years as the head coach of the Penn State
women's soccer team, Erica Walsh knows far too well how intense games in the
NCAA Tournament can get, and how a few bounces here or there can determine the
outcome of a game.
With her Nittany Lions deadlocked in a scoreless battle in the second round of
the national tournament against Wake Forest, Walsh's team would battle their
hearts out yet ultimately not get the bounces they needed, as a goal by Demon
Deacons forwards Sarah Teegarden with less than ten minutes remaining handed
Penn State a 1-0 loss.
"The effort that they gave was fantastic," said Walsh. "They put in the work
and they were tackling, communicating, and certainly put in a winning effort."
The Nittany Lions had numerous chances, getting off 10 shots including a bullet
from senior forward Tani Costa with two minutes remaining that came within a
few inches of tying the game, yet they were unable to get a ball in the back of
Afterwards, Walsh credited the performance of Wake Forest's defense, which was
able to limit a Penn State attack that was coming off a three-goal game against
"On defense they were organized and compact and really took away our wide
players," said Walsh. "We got some good looks and had some good chances we just
couldn't convert any of them."
At the same time, the reigning National Coach of the Year could not have been
more impressed with the job of her own defense, which kept the Demon Deacons
off the scoreboard for 80 minutes in a game that, ultimately, had to be won by
In particular, Walsh praised the effort of senior defender Bri Hovington, who
stepped in front of a number of Wake Forest's 14 shots in an attempt to give
the Nittany Lions and goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom their second straight NCAA
"Bri was on point today, communicating with everyone and blocking shots," said
Walsh. "She was tough to penetrate and did exactly what a senior should do."
A year after coming just one game short of winning a National Championship,
going home in the second round in heartbreaking fashion is a tough pill for the
Nittany Lions to swallow.
Despite the disappointment, Walsh was adamant that she wouldn't trade the
experiences that she went through with this group of players for anything.
"I would rather lose with this team than win with any other team," said Walsh.
"Soccer can be a frustrating game but they fought through adversity all season
and became closer as a team."
In a season that ends with their record at 15-7-1, the Nittany Lions certainly
went through a roller coaster of emotions throughout the past few months.
Although their campaign ends on a bitter note, the growth and development that
the team went through will benefit every member of the squad going forward.
"This team was a pleasure to coach every day," said Walsh. "They certainly had
their ups and downs but they took care of every little detail and improved as
the season went along."
The biggest disappointment for Walsh is that her seniors have to end their
season with a bad taste in their mouths after working so hard to get back to
where the team was last year.
Even with their careers coming to an abrupt end, the Nittany Lions senior class
- which includes Emily Carrollo, Tani Costa, Maya Hayes, Bri Hovington, Erin
Kehoe, Lexi Marton, and Taylor Schram - can exit the program knowing that their
impact will not be forgotten any time soon.
"I look around and I see all the seniors hanging around with the freshmen and
influencing them," said Walsh. "They will look back and be proud of how they
transformed themselves as leaders."
Moving forward, Walsh feels as though her team still has as bright a future as
any program in the country.
While they are losing a top-notch group of seniors, the Nittany Lions will
return a number of key veterans next year, including midfielder Emily Hurd,
defender Whitney Church, and forward Mallory Weber, and come next season, the
Blue and White will be as fired up as ever to reach new heights.
"This rising group of seniors has tremendous leadership ability," said Walsh.
"They don't take anything for granted and they have special qualities that will
help our program continue to grow."
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVESITY PARK, Pa. - As a star senior at Newark Academy in West Orange,
N.J. in 2009, Maya Hayes had her selection of college soccer programs to choose
from, including Duke, North Carolina, and UCLA.
Despite the wide range of options, there was something about the promise of
the program that head coach Erica Walsh had started at Penn State that Hayes
couldn't walk away from.
"I didn't want to go to another school where I was just going to be another
name going through their program," said Hayes. "I wanted to go to a place where
I could help build a program and make a good team great."
Four years, two All-American selections and 71 goals later, the senior
forward has no regrets about the ride that her decision to come to Penn State
has taken her on.
From her freshman campaign, when the Nittany Lions finished just one game
over .500, to last season when they made the school's first appearance in a
national title game, Hayes has watched the Lions grow as a program.
"It's been a journey and one that I've enjoyed since I got here," said
Hayes. "My expectations have been exceeded and it's been a joy to watch this
As the Nittany Lions have risen as a national power during Hayes's time
with the team, she herself has developed immensely, having gone from a raw,
talented freshman to the third leading goal scorer in Penn State history.
When Walsh watches Hayes play now compared to when she first watched her
suit up for the Blue and White, the differences begin with the refinement that
the two-time Big Ten Forward of the Year has put into her game.
"She's a student of the game and she's become a lot more sophisticated,"
said Walsh. "She reads the play a lot better and her movement has improved as
she's added more variety to her game."
That variety of skills and explosive speed has been terrorizing Big Ten
defenses since 2010, but when Walsh thinks about Hayes's development, she
spends little time dwelling on the goals.
Never the team's most vocal player, Hayes's ascension in the locker room as
a player who others can learn from has impressed the entire Nittany Lions
coaching staff, and it all begins with her work ethic.
"Maya is definitely a lead by example player," said Walsh. "She puts the
work in and people respect her and understand who she is and what she is about."
For Hayes, being a leader has meant understanding the regard that her
teammates hold her in and living up to the expectations that come with being
one of the nation's top goal scorers.
"The older that I've gotten I've learned about the affect that I can have
on people around me," said Hayes. "I've tried to be a bigger influence, not
just with my play but also with my words and doing the little things."
Perhaps the best quality that Hayes has exhibited during her time at Penn
State has been her never-ending desire to continue improving.
After consecutive All-American seasons her sophomore and junior years, Hayes
spent the summer before her senior year working harder than ever, in order to
make sure she was prepared for her final campaign.
For a squad that had just lost All-American midfielder and Herman Trophy
Finalist Christine Nairn, the added dedication and devotion was invaluable.
"When you lose a player like Christine your attack changes," said Walsh. "Maya
has had to do a whole lot more which has made her a better and more
After another sterling campaign in which she has added 19 more goals to her
career total, Hayes has led the Nittany Lions into the second round of the NCAA
Tournament looking for one more shot at a national title.
However this season ends up for her and her teammates, the West Orange,
N.J. native hopes that she will be remembered in Happy Valley for more than
just the offensive ability that she has displayed on a regular basis.
"I just want to be remembered as someone who cared and looked out for
everyone," said Hayes. "It's easy to say scoring goals but at the end of the
day it's [your influence] more about the people around you than it is about
When asked what she will remember about her star forward the most, Walsh
doesn't hesitate to say that she will remember Hayes's smile before she thinks
of anything else.
At the end of the day, the spirit that Hayes has brought to the Penn State
women's soccer program only makes the task of replacing her that much harder.
"She's always happy and she makes everyone want to train which makes
training so enjoyable," said Walsh. "A player like her comes around every five
years if you're lucky so you can't just replace someone like her."
By Christine Nairn, GoPSUsports.com Soccer Analyst
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a decisive 3-0 win against Monmouth, the
Penn State Nittany Lions look forward to their next opponent in the NCAA
Tournament. The Lions will take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, who finished
ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Despite having a 11-6-2 record, The Demon Deacons have put together a number of
solid performances against the Seminoles of Florida State and the Fighting
Irish of Notre Dame. Coach Erica Walsh knows that her team will have to come
ready to play from the opening whistle against their ACC opponent.
has had a great week of practice and we will look to build off of last week's
game, said Coach Walsh. "The seniors know what is at stake and they have been in
this situation before and will guide our underclassmen," said Coach Walsh.
Taylor Schram couldn't agree more with her coach.
"We are excited to test ourselves against an ACC opponent," said Schram. "Wake
Forest will be very good but we like where our team is right now. We will be
firing on all cylinders come Friday and this senior class will do anything it
takes to keep our season going."
forward Maya Hayes is eager to take part in the Big Ten vs. ACC matchup.
"It's always a pleasure to play ACC teams because we know we'll get to play
soccer and play our style of the game. We are looking forward to a great match
against a good Wake Forest team," said Hayes.
forward, Tani Costa, believes that the different leadership types of the senior
class will benefit the Nittany Lions in pressured situations, such as this
senior brings something different to the table. Some lead by communication,
while others lead by example. No matter what type of leadership, we all have
the same goal...we don't want our season to end. We will do whatever it takes,"
The Nittany Lions travel to the University of
Virginia on Thursday afternoon and open up the second round of the NCAA
Tournament on Friday at 4 p.m. against Wake Forest.
VIDEO Feature: Kori Chapic
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Heading into the opening game of the NCAA Tournament,
Tani Costa was well aware that she was about to play her final match under the lights
at Jeffrey Field, and the Penn State senior forward was determined to make it
Going up against a Monmouth squad that hadn't allowed a goal in nine straight
games, Costa broke down the barrier in the Hawks defense, scoring twice to help
the Nittany Lions kick off the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 victory.
"The energy before the game in the locker room was absolutely electric," said
Costa. "I felt so confident and happy to have one more chance to play with my
teammates on Jeffrey Field."
With Penn State taking control of possession right off the bat, the Honolulu,
Hawaii native didn't wait long to make an impact, getting the Lions on the
board just over six minutes into the game.
Positioning herself in her favorite spot in front of the net, Costa finished
off a beautiful slotted cross from sophomore forward Mallory Weber to put
Monmouth in an early hole.
"Mallory [Weber] is so fast and she is able to get around almost any defender,"
said Costa. "She put it on the ground perfectly for me and I just did what I
The Nittany Lions would continue to keep the Hawks under fire for the remainder
of the first half, getting 14 first half shots, yet finding themselves unable
to extend their lead.
With the Blue and White looking to put more distance between themselves and
Monmouth, Costa would once again come through, this time six minutes into the
second half with the help of fellow seniors Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes.
The Nittany Lions have worked on their ball movement all year, and it showed
during a brilliant series of passes that saw Hayes send a through ball to
Schram who then fed a pass to Costa that the Nittany Lions second leading
scorer finished off from 12 yards out.
"Taylor [Schram] is so tricky and it's really fun to score on a play like
that," said Costa. "It was definitely one of my favorite goals because you
don't get plays that work out that well often."
Not only did the goal give Costa her career-high 10th goals on the season, it
gave the Nittany Lions more breathing room in a contest that they had control
of for virtually 90 minutes.
Monmouth goalkeeper Ashley Lewis, who entered the game having registered 16
shutouts on the year, made nine saves in a valiant effort that eventually came
up short against the Nittany Lions relentless attack.
"When you're only up one goal you can't have a lapse and you have to stay
urgent," said Costa. "We just had to keep our foot on the gas pedal."
As impressive as the offensive was in getting off 25 shots, the Nittany Lions
defense was just as stellar, limiting Monmouth to 11 shots and keeping them off
the scoreboard to register their sixth shutout of the season.
Not only did the Nittany Lions backline stymie the Hawks attack, they also
provided the finishing touches on the team's scoring, with junior defender
Whitney Church heading in a third Penn State goal off of a corner kick from
Schram with 25 minutes remaining.
"We held it strong in the back and it's great to be getting shutouts at the end
of the season when they matter the most," said Church. "On the goal I was just
happy to help out in any way I could and I got a great ball from Taylor [Schram]."
Having entered the tournament as a No. 4 seed after experiencing a number of
tough losses earlier in the season, the Nittany Lions went into Friday night
striving to establish consistency and put forth a complete team effort.
After an excellent week of practice, head coach Erica Walsh had very little to
complain about following her team's victory.
"All around I think it was a really strong performance which is what you need
at this point in the season," said Walsh. "I'm proud of the fight our players showed
For Costa, being able to be the catalyst for her team in her final home match made
the game one of the most memorable ones of her career.
"This one definitely ranks up there because it was my last game on Jeffrey
Field and I was able to help my team get a win and advance," said Costa.
"Playing on this field under the lights and in these conditions is just magical