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Sept. 29, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 8 Penn State women's soccer team completed its perfect September record (8-0-0) on Sunday afternoon as it overpowered Indiana, 4-1, at Jeffrey Field. Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica), Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii), Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) and Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) each netted goals for the Nittany Lions.
"Indiana came in and they were flying," said PSU head coach Erica Walsh. "They took it to us early on in the game and we weren't prepared mentally. We talked a lot about effort at halftime and I thought the second half was much better on our part."
With the win, the Blue and White improve to 9-1-1 overall and 3-0-0 in Big Ten action. Penn State is now 21-1-1 all-time against the Hoosiers (8-2-1, 1-2-0).
Rodriguez started things off for the Nittany Lions for the second-straight match, netting her third goal of the year in the seventh minute. Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) played a ball to Hurd and Hurd crossed it to Rodriguez, who was able to head it in to give PSU a 1-0 lead.
Indiana attempted to counter six minutes later as Abby Smith shot the ball from 15 yards deep but keeper Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) was prepared, coming up with the save. The Hoosiers had another opportunity in the 20th minute with Kate McCusker making an attempt. The redshirt junior took a shot from right outside the box but was stymied by defender Whitney Church, who blasted the ball away from the goal.
IU tied it up at the 25:01 mark as Monica Melink notched her second goal of the season. The midfielder received the ball on a cross from Rebecca Candler and put it in from the far corner of the box.
Hayes got two good looks in the 30th and 33rd minute but could not capitalize on either as both sailed wide of the goal.
The Hoosiers nearly pulled ahead at the 34:05 mark as Candler drew Eckerstrom out of the goal but the senior fell short as the ball went just wide of the near post.
Each team notched one more shot on goal in the first half but neither could get past the opposing keepers, leaving the score at 1-1 at the intermission.
The Nittany Lions came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, posting four shots in the first seven minutes. Costa found success on the fourth shot, burying the ball in the net from 12 yards ahead on a beautiful cross from Hurd.
Hurd added a goal of her own in the 60th minute. The redshirt junior blasted one in from the far corner of the 18 yard box to give the Lions a 3-1 lead.
"We kind of go as Em[ily] goes," said Walsh. "When she's on, we are flying and she came out to play in the second half. I love that when these guys put the effort in they are able to see the rewards."
Eckerstrom collected a big save in the 62nd minute to keep the score at 3-1, stopping a Melink attempt that came on goal. The Hoosiers had two more clean looks in the game but Eckerstrom was up to the task, picking up saves on both. The redshirt sophomore finished the match with eight saves.
Hayes posted her 12th goal of the year and capped the scoring with seven minutes remaining in the game. Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) dropped the ball to Hayes and the senior dribbled past an Indiana defender before firing the ball in from 12 yards deep. She has scored at least one goal in all but one game for the Blue and White this season.
"Maya struggled a little in the first half," said Walsh. "Once she got her head on straight, her work ethic defensively created offensive opportunities. She had a great second half and you knew one was coming, it was just whether or not there would be enough time."
Penn State goes on the road for two Big Ten matches next weekend. The Lions will meet Wisconsin on Friday at 8:00 p.m. (EST) before heading to Minnesota on Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. match-up. PSU returns to Jeffrey Field on Sunday, Oct. 13 to host Michigan during Homecoming weekend.