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Sept. 16, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 11th-ranked Penn State women's soccer team (6-2-0, 1-0-0) ended a three-year winless stretch against Wisconsin by knocking off the No. 13 Badgers, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. Freshman Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) and junior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) scored the Nittany Lion goals in the victory.
Rodriguez's goal came off a set-piece. After a foul was called on the right side of the field, sophomore Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) played a beautiful ball in the box and found Rodriguez's head. The freshman headed it to the far post as the ball found the back corner of the net. Penn State had a 1-0 lead at the 44-minute mark.
In her first game back since winning the U-20 World Cup, Hayes gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 advantage 2:36 into the second half. The New Jersey native garnered a loose ball and dribbled into the box and beat a defender. Hayes found the back post side netting to increase Penn State's lead.
From the beginning, Penn State took control as the Nittany Lions had a shot on goal and two corner kicks within the first five minutes of action. Senior Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) ripped a shot on net just two minutes into the game that Badger goalie Lauren Gunderson stopped. The Nittany Lions were then awarded two corner kicks during the next three minutes but were unable to capitalize.
Hayes' first opportunity came 10 minutes in when Nairn found her nine yards in front of the net. Hayes had a clean look and hit it inches high of the crossbar as the game remained tied at zero. Senior Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii) had a shot saved by Gunderson three minutes later and Hayes would hit one just wide at the 15 minute mark as the Lions continued to apply pressure.
Hayes almost had an opportunity to make it 1-0 at the 38-minute mark on a penalty kick, but Gunderson made a great diving save to keep the Lions in check. Rodriguez's goal would come minutes later to give the Lions a 1-0 advantage at halftime.
The Nittany Lions would go up 2-0 on Hayes' goal. Wisconsin's Lexi Peterson scored with nine minutes to go, but that would not be enough as the Lions hung on for the 2-1 victory. Penn State outshot Wisconsin, 19-14.
Penn State will be back in action as it heads to the state of Illinois beginning next Friday, taking on Northwestern at 8 p.m. The Lions will then head over to Champaign and take on Illinois next Sunday.
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