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PISCATAWAY, N.J. - In a defensive battle featuring a pair of familiar foes, the No. 11 and fifth-seeded Penn State women's soccer team outlasted the No. 25 and fourth-seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights in penalty kicks, 4-3, Sunday afternoon in the Big Ten Quarterfinal round at Yurcak Field.
Redshirt junior defender Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.) converted her penalty kick in the bottom of the sixth round to send the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Semifinal matchup against No. 13 and top-seeded Ohio State on Friday, Nov. 3.
Looking to get past the stout Rutgers (12-2-5) defense, the Nittany Lion (10-4-4) offense tallied eight shots in each half of regulation, but Rutgers goalkeeper Casey Murphy stepped up to make five of her seven saves during the final 45 minutes of regulation.
For the Rutgers offense, the Scarlet Knights posted eight shot attempts on the day, but only three went on goal. Nittany Lion goalkeeper Rose Chandler (Atlanta, Ga.) made her three saves of the afternoon within the first 35 minutes of action.
During the two overtime sessions, Penn State outshot Rutgers, 2-1, in the first session and then 3-1 in the final overtime period. Murphy posted her final two saves of the match in the second overtime period.
After playing 110:00 minutes of scoreless soccer for the second time in 17 days, a spot in the Big Ten Semifinal round would be decided in penalty kicks. For Penn State, it was the first time it went to penalty kicks since the 2012 season, while Rutgers last went to penalty kicks in 2015.
In penalty kicks, each team boasted a goalkeeper that donned the Red, White & Blue last year at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Rutgers would go first in the penalty kick session with Penn State shooting second.
After the first round of attempts, the score would be level at 1-1 with Taylor Aylmer and Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) connecting on their attempts for their respective squads.
Penn State would then take a 2-1 lead during the second round of kicks, as Chandler stepped up to tally a stop on Alexa Ferreira, and Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.) converted her attempt.
The third round of kicks featured Nicole Whitley connecting on her attempt, and Frannie Crouse's (Greensburg, Pa.) attempt was stopped, which kept the penalty kicks tied at 2-2.
During the fourth round, Chandler stepped up and made the save on Murphy and then Marissa Sheva (Sellersville, Pa.) put the Nittany Lions in front, 3-2.
The match was level once again, at 3-3, after the fifth round, as Amirah Ali converted her attempt, and Charlotte Williams' (Rochester, N.Y.) attempt was saved by Murphy.
In the sixth round of kicks, Colby Ciarrocca fired a shot wide right of the net, and then Elliston punched Penn State's ticket to Westfield, Ind., in the bottom of the sixth round.
The No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions will take on No. 13 Ohio State on Friday, Nov. 3, in the semifinal round of the Big Ten Tournament at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start.
NOTES: Penn State leads the all-time series against Rutgers, 9-6-4...Since the start of the 2015 season, Penn State and Rutgers have met seven times, including three-straight seasons with a matchup in the Big Ten Tournament...Penn State outshot Rutgers, 21-8...Penn State recorded its 10th shutout this season...Penn State's goals-against average of 0.68 this season ranks fifth all-time in the PSU record books...All-time in minutes played at PSU, Elizabeth Ball ranks seventh with 7,345, while Basinger ranks 13th with 6,633...Penn State last went to penalty kicks in the 2012 NCAA Tournament against Michigan on Nov. 18, 2012.