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Aug. 17, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The 2012-13 Penn State Athletics campaign kicked off on Friday night as the Nittany Lions women's soccer team upset No. 7 Virginia in Charlottesville, 3-1. The loss for the Cavaliers snapped their 21-game home-opening winning streak.
Freshman Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) was dangerous from the get-go and eventually scored two second half goals, including the game-winner at the 75-minute mark. Redshirt junior Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii), who is coming off a torn ACL last year, scored Penn State's first goal of the 2012 season in the first half. Senior Erin McNulty (Winnipeg, Manitoba) made three saves in goal.
"I am really happy with this group," said head coach Erica Walsh. "This is a great start to the season for us. We got some great performances from our freshmen. It was big having them step up for us tonight."
Virginia was the first team with a scoring opportunity, as Caroline Miller had a clean look on goal seven minutes in and ripped a shot that McNulty made a nice save on. The Cavaliers' only other chance in the first half came at the 36-minute mark. Gloria Douglas crossed a ball in from the far right side that smacked the crossbar as the game remained tied at zero at that point.
Penn State would control the majority of the first half. Weber set the tone early when redshirt sophomore Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) played a beautiful ball ahead to the freshman. Weber ripped a shot, but Virginia goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle made a great stop. About 13 minutes later, senior Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) played another great ball to Weber for a breakaway. DeLisle made another nice stop to keep the freshman empty handed in the first half.
The Nittany Lions would capitalize with five minutes remaining in the first half. Costa beat the Virginia keeper to the ball and chipped it over her head to the far post and into the back corner of the net to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Weber nearly gave the Lions another one with two minutes remaining in the half, grazing the crossbar.
The majority of the second half was a different story, as Virginia controlled play. The Cavaliers' Kate Norbo had an open look in the box but hit her shot just wide 52 minutes in. Seven minutes later, Miller broke away with McNulty coming off her line to force the shot outside. Danielle Colaprico got another look on net just moments later, but McNulty made a nice stop.
At the 75-minute mark, Virginia would finally capitalize. Makenzy Doniak scored on a header off a corner kick to tie the game up at one. Just 22 seconds later, the game would turn back into Penn State's favor.
Weber's pressure all night would finally pay off, as the freshman capitalized on a breakaway goal, with the assist coming from Nairn to give the Lions the lead right back. Nairn played a beautiful thru ball, which was ripped by Webber to the lower right corner from 18 yards out.
Weber was not done though, as she secured the victory with another breakaway on a ball from Erin Kehoe (Crystal Lake, Ill.) at the 87-minute mark.
The Nittany Lions return to Jeffrey Field on Sunday as they host St. John's at 2:30 p.m. Sunday's game will be "Dollar Dog Day" and will be the first Code Blue swipe event of the 2012-13 Penn State Athletics calendar year. Defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Stanford comes to town on Aug. 24 for a 7:30 kick time, which will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
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