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Oct. 21, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The No. 14 Penn State women's soccer team used three second-half goals in 15 minutes to take a 3-1 contest at Michigan State on Friday afternoon. Super sophomore Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) scored twice to put Penn State ahead, while Maddy Evans (Glenside, Pa.) made her return from injury known with an insurance goal to cement PSU's nine-game winning streak (longest since 2007).
Hayes now owns the Penn State sophomore record for most goals and points in a season at 23 and 53, respectively. Hayes also moved into a tie for second in single-season game-winning goals at Penn State with her ninth this season. She matches Christie Welsh's total from 1999, while sitting four game-winners behind Tiffany Weimer's mark of 13. Hayes needs just two more goals to match Welsh's 2001 mark of 25 goals for fourth in the single-season chart. Hayes is riding a five-game scoring streak and a six-game point streak dating back to the Minnesota (Oct. 2) and Ohio State (Sept. 29) matches.
"This team has shown great resolve all season," said head coach Erica Walsh. "We didn't play up to our standard in the first half and came out firing after halftime. I'm proud of the way they responded after being down 1-0."
The Nittany Lions (15-3-0, 8-1-0 Big Ten) trailed 1-0 through 60 minutes, pestering Michigan State (12-4-0, 5-4-0 Big Ten) goalkeeper Jill Flietstra (five saves) in the second half. Penn State finally broke through in the 61st minute when Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) played a ball through to Hayes on the left wing as the New Jersey native slotted home her 22nd goal of the season. The helper was Schram's 10th of the season, tying teammate Jess Rosenbluth (Gladwyne, Pa.) for the team and conference lead.
Penn State continued to press, eventually finding the game-winner in the 73rd minute as Hayes scored for the 23rd time this season on an eight-yard shot past Flietstra off an assist from Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.). Nairn's play moved her into a tie for first with Schram and Rosenbluth atop the PSU and Big Ten assist chart.
As has been the nature with Penn State and its quick strike offense, Evans was able to find the back of the net just 1:27 later to seal the 3-1 victory on a five-yard goal. Senior defender Emma Thomson (Nottinghamshire, England) played a long free kick from distance into the penalty area as Flietstra made a play on it, but Evans knocked the bouncing ball over the goal line. Thomson and Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) were credited with assists on the play. The two assists pushed Penn State to 67 for the year, tying the school record set in 2001.
PSU completely dominated the second half, out-shooting Michigan State, 10-1, while taking five corners to the Spartans' one, which came with 30 seconds left in the game. Penn State's second half play has been evident all year, out-scoring its opponents 30-2 since Aug. 21. The victory for Penn State was the first at Michigan State since 2005, breaking a two-game skid at Old College Field.
Penn State struggled out of the gates, taking just one shot in the opening 35 minutes of the match, while Michigan State took control of possession. PSU registered its second shot of the first half from Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) that saw Flietstra save, before the Spartans went out on a break. Michigan State's Laura Heyboer broke the scoreless stalemate in the 37th minute, taking a breakaway feed from Olivia Stander and putting it away on the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Heyboer's team-leading 17th of the season.
PSU tried to draw even five minutes later as Hayes headed a shot that was saved by Flietstra in the 41st. MSU took a 1-0 lead into the locker room, out-shooting the Lions 6-3, but shots on goal (2-2), corners (1-1) and fouls (5-5) were even.
The Nittany Lions moved another step closer to claiming their 14th straight Big Ten title with 24 points from nine games, leading second-place Illinois by five points. Penn State needs only a draw at Michigan on Sunday to claim at least a share of the title and a win gives the Nittany Lions outright claim on the trophy.
Penn State improved to 16-4-0 all-time against Michigan State including 7-4-0 mark at MSU. The Nittany Lions also ran their record up to 13-1-0 when Hayes nets a goal with an 8-3-0 record away from Jeffrey Field. Thirteen of Penn State's 15 wins have had three goals or more scored, the other two wins were 1-0 victories.
Penn State moves down the road from East Lansing to Ann Arbor on Sunday to face off against the Michigan Wolverines at Noon. The game will be shown live on the Big Ten Network as well as streamed live on BTN.com with live stats through GameTracker.
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