No. 22 Lions Shut Out Spartans, 3-0, in Regular Season Finale
Nov. 1, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) and sophomore Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) led the No. 22 Penn State women's soccer team to a 3-0 shutout over Michigan State on Friday afternoon in the regular season finale. Hayes found the back of the net twice for the fourth time this year and Rodriguez tallied her sixth goal of the season.
"This team has been working very hard," said Nittany Lion head coach Erica Walsh. "Their commitment has not wavered in the least bit and I am glad to see them get rewarded for their efforts."
The Lions finish out the regular season at 13-5-1 overall and 7-4-0 in Big Ten action and are now 18-4-0 against the Spartans (9-8-2, 3-8-0) all-time.
PSU outshot MSU 24-5 in the win with 12 of their attempts coming on goal. Redshirt junior Courtney Clem registered seven saves for Michigan State while PSU sophomore keeper Meghan Kaminski notched her third save of the season, corralling the Spartans' only shot on goal.
Penn State came out of the gate with two early attempts on net as Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) each fired off shots before the 10 minute mark but were stopped by Clem, who notched her first two saves of the match.
PSU's aggressive play paid off just a few minutes later as the Lions were awarded a penalty kick at the 10:13 mark. Rodriguez took the kick, burying it in the back of the net to give Penn State an early 1-0 advantage.
"Bri Hovington was fantastic today," said Walsh. "She made a huge run forward and got tripped up in the box and we were able to put one away due to her tremendous effort."
Hayes looked to extend the lead less than a minute later but was stymied by a MSU defender that kicked the ball away to clear the shot. The forward made another attempt four minutes later and nearly sent it in but was stopped by Spartan junior Nicole Caruso, who picked up a defensive save for the Spartans.
The Nittany Lions held Michigan State to just two shots in the first half with neither coming on goal as they headed into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Hayes improved the Blue and White's lead in the 54th minute of play, notching her 18th goal of the season and 70th career goal. The forward received the ball on a cross from Rodriguez and blasted it in from 16 yards out to give the Lions a 2-0 advantage.
Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii) looked to get on the board in the 68th minute and was nearly successful. The senior got past Clem but fell just short as MSU defender Jessica Kjellstrom stepped in to make the save. Costa made another attempt just a minute later and was blocked by another Spartan defender but the Lions were able to make the best of it as Hayes found the rebound inside the six yard box and tapped it in, putting the score at 3-0.
"I think the big thing about Maya's performances right now is that she is trying to create something out of anything she possibly can," said Walsh. "Her work rate and leadership have been good and I think the goals are coming as a result of her hard work."
Michigan State took its final shot in the 84th minute as redshirt freshman Erica Goodenough attempted to put the Spartans on the board but was stopped by Kaminski, who collected the save to preserve the shutout.
The Nittany Lions now await their first round opponent in the Big Ten Tournament, which begins next Wednesday. The bracket will be released on Saturday night.