No. 4 Nittany Lions Tie West Virginia, 2-2, in Season Opener
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The No. 4 Penn State women's soccer team kicked off the 2013-14 PSU Athletics campaign with a 2-2 tie against non-conference foe West Virginia on Friday night at Jeffrey Field in the Penn State Invitational. Despite being down 0-2 late in the contest, seniors Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) and Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) rallied to tie it up with 10 minutes to go in regulation.
"We have a lot of seniors on this team who have been in that situation and who have come back," said PSU women's soccer head coach Erica Walsh. "Of course you're nervous and you're trying to find solutions. We kept moving the pieces around until it worked and, in those last 10 minutes, I was really proud of this team"
Goalkeeping was a major factor in the match as West Virginia's Sara Keane posted eight saves and PSU's Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) tallied three.
"I thought both goalkeepers could've have been the players of the match tonight," said Walsh. "Their goalkeeper was outstanding and Britt came up in big moments."
West Virginia came out hot, netting a goal in the fourth minute. WVU senior Frances Silva put one in on a cross from sophomore Kelsie Maloney to give the Mountaineers an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and Hayes had clean looks early on but could not capitalize as the Nittany Lions trailed 0-1 at the end of the first half.
With 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Maloney extended the Mountaineers lead, heading one in on a cross from freshman Ashley Lawrence to put WVU up 2-0.
Penn State responded 10 minutes later when Schram ripped one into the back corner of the net on an assist from Hayes, putting the score at 2-1 in West Virginia's favor. Just over a minute later Hayes added another goal for the Nittany Lions, scoring on a cross from Weber to even the score at 2-2.
The Lions entered the first overtime period with the momentum in their favor and nearly notched a game-winning goal in the 92nd minute before an offsides call was made by the officials. Junior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) had a good look on the net at the 94 minute mark but WVU keeper Sara Keane prevented the goal with a nice stop.
West Virginia's Carly Black and Bryce Banuelos also got good shots off in the first overtime period but were cut short by a block from junior Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) and a save by Eckerstrom, respectively.
The Lions registered two more shots on goal in the final overtime period as headers from Hayes and freshman Brittany Basinger (Fairfax, Va.) fell just short of breaking the stalemate. West Virginia's Lawrence tallied the last shot of the contest in the 106th minute but could not get by Eckerstrom, leaving the final score at an even 2-2.
"I thought West Virginia was outstanding tonight," said Walsh. "To come into Jeffrey Field, into this environment in front of our fans, and to walk away with a tie, that's a strong effort on their part."
Penn State is back in action this Sunday as it hosts Hofstra in a noon match-up. The Pride fell to Syracuse earlier on Friday, 3-2. Parking and admission are free for all Penn State soccer events. Fans are reminded that there is a no bag policy in place on stadium grounds.