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Oct. 17, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seniors Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) and Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) led the No. 17 Penn State women's soccer team to a 4-2 victory over Big Ten rival Ohio State on Thursday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. Schram netted the Lions' first goal of the match and Hayes found the back of the net twice.
After dropping its two previous matches, PSU got back in the win column on Thursday, improving to 11-3-1 overall and 5-2-0 in Big Ten action while the loss moved the Buckeyes to 8-4-3, 2-3-2.
"I thought we found a good rhythm in the game today," said head coach Erica Walsh. "Under the conditions and against a good Ohio State team, I thought our offense did well today. We had good flank play and they started to put numbers behind the ball and we were able to break it down and I was encouraged by it."
The OSU defense held the Nittany Lions to its second lowest shot count of the season, allowing just 10 shots by the Blue and White offensive attack. The Lions had seven attempts on net to the Buckeyes' six and were awarded eight corner kicks while Ohio State took five.
After two consecutive scoreless games, PSU made sure to find the back of the net early. Schram received a low cross from sophomore Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and put the ball in on a sliding kick from six yards out to put Penn State up 1-0.
OSU's Nichelle Prince nearly netted the equalizer in the 19th minute. The freshman got the ball off of a header by Michela Paradiso and fired it from 10 yards out, but PSU keeper Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) came up big, fully extending to punch the ball out and collect her first save of the game.
"That was a game-changing save," said Walsh. "It's going to have to happen against these good teams and she has been able to come up with it."
The Penn State lead was extended to 2-0 at the 33:12 mark after the Buckeyes sent an own goal into the net. Weber crossed the ball towards the goal and it deflected off of OSU defender Marisa Wolf, putting the Blue and White up 2-0.
Prince put the Buckeyes on the board a little over three minutes later. Alexis Degler found Prince inside the 18 yard box and the forward finished from 12 yards out, bringing the score to 2-1.
Kristen Niederhaus attempted to even the score at the 42:26 mark but could not get past Eckerstrom, who corralled another save.
The Buckeyes were awarded a corner kick in the 53rd minute and were able to capitalize on it as Morgan Wolcott netted the equalizer. Danica Wu took the corner kick and sent the ball flying towards Wolcott, who found the ball and headed it inside the far post to tie the match at 2-2.
"When they tie it up 2-2, you watch your team and either their shoulders are going to drop or their heads are going to lift," said Walsh. "Their heads lifted today and we saw some great senior leadership."
The Nittany Lions did not waste any time responding as Hayes notched her first goal just over a minute later. The senior intercepted an OSU pass inside the 18 yard box and beat the goalkeeper before burying the ball in the net from eight yards out.
Three minutes later, Hayes booted another one in to register her third multi-goal game of the season. The forward rebounded the ball after a shot by Schram collided with the crossbar and was able to knock it in from just outside the box.
Paradiso attempted to cut the deficit in the 83rd minute as she found the ball inside the box, but her shot was off target as the ball sailed high, leaving the final score at 4-2.
The Blue and White close out their regular season home slate on Sunday, hosting Illinois for Senior Day. PSU will honor the seven seniors on the squad prior to the noon match-up. Sunday's game will air live on the Big Ten Network.