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WESTFIELD, Ind. - With a spot in the Big Ten Tournament Championship match on the line, the No. 15 and fifth-seeded Penn State women’s soccer team outlasted the No. 9 and top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes, 1-0, in a double overtime Big Ten Semifinal matchup Friday afternoon at Grand Park. Sophomore Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) netted her third game-winning goal of the season at 109:18 to send Penn State to Sunday’s championship match against No. 2 seed Northwestern.
“I think that is a very good Ohio State team and I think they play with a ton of heart and a ton of energy,” head coach Erica Dambach said. “That is what I was most proud of today, was that we wanted the game a little bit more, and that certainly wasn’t the case when we were in Columbus earlier this season. We talk to the team about playing our best soccer in November and that is exactly what we are seeing from our group right now.”
Following Friday’s match, Penn State improves to 11-4-4 on the year, while Ohio State falls to 15-4-1 in 2017.
The match featured two teams with 10 shutouts each on the year heading into Friday’s contest.
Penn State controlled the pace of play from the opening whistle, as Ohio State goalkeeper Devon Kerr had to make her first save of the afternoon eight minutes into the contest. Over the first half of regulation, Penn State outshot Ohio State, 7-0 with Kerr making three saves.
With the score still knotted at 0-0 after the first half of regulation, Penn State increased the offensive pressure and outshot the Buckeyes, 14-2, during the final 45 minutes of regulation, but was unable to get past Kerr and the stout Ohio State defense.
Looking to break the 0-0 tie early in the second half, Penn State had two corner kicks in the 51st minute that led to three shot attempts, but Kerr stood tall and was there to keep the Nittany Lions off the scoreboard. Kerr would go on to finish regulation with seven saves sending the match to overtime tied at 0-0.
The start of overtime marked the fifth time in the past six matches that Penn State would play an overtime contest.
During the first overtime period, Kerr stepped up once again to record her eighth, and final, save of the afternoon, this time on Freigang in the 95 minute of play.
With just 10 minutes separating the two teams from penalty kicks, Elizabeth Ball (Richmond, Va.) fired a shot that went high in the 102nd minute then Sammy Edwards posted her lone shot of the day in the 103rd minute, which went wide right of the net.
On the game-winner, an OSU player went to clear the ball from her end of the field, but in the Penn State end, Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) was able to head the ball to Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.). With the ball, Basinger then played the ball up field to Salina Williford (Wayne, Pa.), who then took a few touches before sending a through ball from midfield to Freigang who was a few yards outside the Ohio State penalty area. Freigang then took a few steps and fired a shot past Kerr and into the bottom-left corner of the net from just outside the penalty area.
In net for the Nittany Lions, Rose Chandler (Atlanta, Ga.) did not make a save on the afternoon to record her eighth solo shutout of the season.
Penn State will play No. 2 seed Northwestern for the 2017 Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State will be vying for its seventh Big Ten Tournament title, while Northwestern will be in search of its first Big Ten Tournament title.
NOTES: Penn State leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 22-7-1…Penn State outshot Ohio State, 24-4…The Penn State defense posted its 11 shutout of the year…Freigang has netted all three overtime game-winning goals for Penn State this season…Penn State is now 30-11-5 all-time in Big Ten Tournament matches…Penn State is now 10-1-3 when outshooting opponents in 2017…Penn State is now 10-0-1 when scoring first this season…Freigang's first game-winning goal of the season also came at 109:18 (Illinois - 1-0 - Sept. 17).