No. 8 Women's Soccer Edges Minnesota, 4-3
Sept. 30, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The eighth-ranked Penn State women's soccer team (10-2-0, 5-0-0) earned a hard fought 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday afternoon. After a back and forth first half, Penn State took control in the second half and gained a two-goal advantage, as Minnesota was unable to make up that ground.
The Nittany Lions' four goals came on two apiece from junior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) and sophomore Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.). Church's two goals came on corner kicks, each from freshman Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica). Each time, Rodriguez found Church's head as the sophomore scored her second and third goals of the season.
Just four minutes into the contest, Minnesota played a ball on a cross right in front of the net to Allie Phillips. The cross went off a Nittany Lion defender and went over redshirt freshman Britt Eckerstrom's (Germantown, Md.) head as the Golden Gophers took a quick 1-0 lead.
Despite the early Minnesota goal, Penn State would answer back and take over the lead. Church's first goal came at the 16 minute mark. Rodriguez found her head on the near post to tie the game at one. Immediately following the goal, the Nittany Lions put on some dominant pressure in Minnesota's end. Hayes broke away and ripped a shot that Minnesota goalie Cat Parkhill made an incredible save on. Redshirt junior Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii) got the rebound and had her shot on the open net stopped by Minnesota defender Katie Thyken. Hayes was there for another rebound and Parkhill made another stop in the five second time span.
Nevertheless, Hayes would answer just 30 seconds later. She found some open field and hammered her ball off the right post. The ball came back to her and she found the back of the net on the second opportunity. Penn State had a 2-1 advantage. Just minutes later, the Golden Gophers responded by tying the game up on a goal by Thyken. Taylor Uhl played a ball to the top right corner of the 18 where Thyken chipped it into the back post corner. Minnesota and Penn State were tied for the next 10 minutes.
Hayes cashed in on her second goal of the contest with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Costa won a high, bouncing ball and played it ahead to Hayes. The junior went on a breakaway and made a beautiful step over move to beat the goalie to give the Lions a 3-2 advantage.
In the second half, Penn State went up by a count of 4-2 as Church headed her second ball in off a corner kick. Rodriguez earned her second assist on the day. Minnesota would shrink the lead to one on a Uhl goal, but that would not be enough as the Lions snuck by the Gophers.
Penn State returns to Jeffrey Field this Tuesday at 7 p.m.
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