No. 1 Stanford Sneaks Past Sixth-Ranked Lions
Aug. 24, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just minutes after scoring the tying goal on a penalty kick, Penn State women's soccer surrendered a heart-breaking game-winning goal to Stanford with under three minutes to play, as the No. 1 ranked Cardinal escaped Happy Valley with a 3-2 victory on Friday night. An over capacity crowd of 5,117 fans attended Friday's game, smashing the previous mark of 3,912 in 2010 against Virginia.
Penn State controlled the majority of the second half, as it recorded seven shots on goal for the game while holding Stanford to just four. The Cardinal took the lead 17 minutes into the second half, 2-1. With seven minutes flat remaining, a foul in the box allowed for a penalty kick, which senior Christine Nairn (Arnold, Pa.) converted on to tie the game up at two. Just over four minutes later, Stanford's Mariah Nogueira headed a ball from the penalty kick spot off a corner kick to the back left corner of the net, giving Stanford the 3-2 victory.
"I've coached in a World Cup and a Gold Medal game," said head coach Erica Walsh. "The energy didn't touch that I felt tonight. Blue and White, Penn State pride, whatever you want to call it. It was so electric. I just want to thank the crowd and Stanford for flying out here and giving us this opportunity to play the best and I thought we put out best foot forward tonight."
Freshman Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.), who scored Penn State's go-ahead goal in the first half, gave the Stanford defense trouble all night and had four shots on goal. Stanford goalie Aly Gleason was incredible in lifting the Cardinal, making five saves despite allowing the two goals. The Nittany Lions opportunities were there all night, as Penn State had seven corner kicks to go with the seven shots on goal.
Weber's goal to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead over the defending national champs came 18:33 into the contest. Nairn took a shot from just inside the 18 from the left side that was blocked. Off the deflection, Weber headed it past Gleason to give Penn State a 1-0 lead over Stanford, who entered Friday's contest unbeaten in its last 63 games.
Just over three minutes later, a feisty Stanford squad responded. Alex Doll scored her first goal of the season to tie the game up at one heading into halftime. The second half was very entertaining to say the least. Just three and a half minutes in, Weber had a shot saved by Gleason. Down on Stanford's offensive end, Natalie Griffen gave the Nittany Lions a scare as she scraped the cross bar from 25 yards out.
The close opportunities continued, as Weber broke loose for Penn State and had a wide open net to work with as she got by Gleason. Stanford's Laura Liedle made an incredible defensive save. Weber snatched the rebound and had her shot saved by Gleason to take away two great scoring opportunities for the Nittany Lions.
At the 62-minute mark, Stanford's Sydney Payne netted her second goal of the season to give the Cardinal a 2-1 advantage. Doll was credited with the assist.
Penn State did not let up though, as the Lions had three corner kicks in just a four-minute span immediately following Stanford's goal. Following the third corner at 69 minutes, Nairn had a clean look from 16 yards out and ripped a shot that was saved by Gleason. At the 81-minute mark, sophomore Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) crushed a header off a corner kick setup that was heading upper left. Gleason made an absolute stunning save to keep the scrappy Nittany Lions in check.
The pressure would pay off eventually, as a foul in the box led to Nairn's penalty kick with seven minutes to go, tying the game at two.
As it did all night, Stanford responded, this time in a game-winning way. Taylor McCann played a corner kick ball to the penalty kick mark where Nogueira hammered it in off her head for the game-winner.
Penn State is back in action this Sunday as it hosts Central Michigan. The Chippewas defeated West Virginia earlier on Friday, 2-0. Parking and admission is free for Sunday's contest.
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