No. 7 Nittany Lions Edge Wisconsin, 2-1
Oct. 4, 2013
MADISON, Wisc. - The No. 7 Penn State women's soccer team collected its first Big Ten road win on Friday night, edging No. 18 Wisconsin, 2-1, at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The Nittany Lions used goals from seniors Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) to earn their ninth-straight victory.
"Mentally, we were ready to play," said head coach Erica Walsh. "We came out with an incredible amount of energy and fight and put them on their heels. I thought that, in particular, our leaders were very good tonight."
The Blue and White (10-1-1 overall, 4-0-0 Big Ten) are now 17-3-4 against the Badgers (7-2-2, 2-1-1) all-time.
It was an even match offensively with Penn State barely outshooting Wisconsin 16-15. PSU keeper Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) corralled three saves to maintain the Lions' lead while UW's Genevieve Richard tallied six on the night.
"The defense handled a lot of pressure tonight," said Walsh. "Wisconsin has some very special players and, led by Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) and Britt Eckerstrom, our freshmen were solid and handled the physical play of the Big Ten. Britt commanded her box and did a very good job. She dealt with a lot of pressure and she came up big a few times."
The Lions put three shots on goal early on in the first half before netting one at the 30:59 mark. Hayes beat a Badger defender and sent a through ball to Costa, who found the back of the net from just outside the box to give Penn State a 1-0 advantage.
The Lions extended their lead to 2-0 just five minutes later as Hayes buried one in the back of the net. The senior received the ball on a beautiful cross from Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and headed it in from 10 yards out.
Wisconsin made five quick attempts to counter in the four minutes following Hayes' goal. Alexandra Heller put up a header, which was blocked but resulted in a corner kick for the Badgers. Heller attempted another header off of the corner and nearly sent it in but just missed as the ball collided with the crossbar.
McKenna Meuer was up next for UW, but could not capitalize as the ball sailed high. Rose Lavelle had Wisconsin's best look of the half, firing one off from 25 yards that was just off target as it bounced off of the post. Kinley McNicoll made one final first half attempt for the Badgers at the 40:00 mark but could not find the back of the net as the ball went high.
Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) opened up the second half with a quick shot from 15 yards out but the ball went high of the target, keeping the score at 2-0.
Neither team was able to get another shot off until the 59th minute of action. Lavelle drilled another one from beyond 20 yards, however, her aim was off as the ball went high.
Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) attempted a deep ball from 30 yards out in the 61st minute but was stymied by Richard, who collected the save.
Lavelle gave the Badgers their first and only goal of the match in the 66th minute. McNicoll took a shot from just outside the box, which was blocked by Eckerstrom but Lavelle found the rebound, knocking the ball in from 10 yards out.
"Rose Lavelle is going to be a fabulous college player," said Walsh. "She has already proven to be one of the best players in the Big Ten."
Weber had an excellent opportunity to increase the Lions' lead at the 82:55 mark. The sophomore launched the ball from 20 yards deep but Richard was in place, jumping up to make the save.
"Weber has a completely different level of work rate than any college player I have ever coached," said Walsh. "She is tireless and every time you think she is fatiguing she finds more energy."
Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) made the final attempt of the match in the 87th minute. The midfielder was awarded a free kick and sent the ball flying straight for the net but Richard was prepared, yet again, making a diving save to leave the final score at 2-1.
The Blue and White continue their two-match road trip on Sunday as they head to Minnesota to face the Gophers in a 2:00 p.m. match-up.