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Women's Soccer Advances to Elite Eight on Penalty Kicks

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Erin McNulty falls to the ground after making the winning save in a PK shootout against Michigan.

Nov. 18, 2012

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Down 2-0 in penalty kicks, Penn State rallied and converted on its final three kicks and graduate keeper Erin McNulty (Winnipeg, Manitoba) made three-straight stops to lead the Nittany Lions past the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday night at an electric Jeffrey Field. With the win, Penn State advances to the Elite Eight and will host Duke on Friday at 7 p.m.

In the shootout, Michigan converted on its first two attempts, while Penn State missed its first two. McNulty stuffed the next three Michigan shots, while senior Maddy Evans (Glenside, Pa.), junior Tani Costa (Honollu, Hawaii) and junior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) each hammered home their penalty kicks. McNulty's third and final save clinched it as the Jeffrey Field crowd erupted.

Head Coach Erica Walsh advances to her third ever Elite Eight, coming with three different teams (Dartmouth, Florida State and Penn State). McNulty makes her second Elite Eight trip with her second team (Florida State and Penn State). The penalty kick win is the first over for the Penn State women's soccer program. Penn State was 0-5 in games decided by penalty kicks heading into Sunday's contest. The only other PK game in the NCAA Tournament was vs. Portland at the College Cup semifinals in 2005. The other four came in the Big Ten Tournament.

"I'm proud of this group, specifically the seniors," said Walsh. "And every time we have to face a different challenge, we overcome it with such grace and dignity. I'm just excited for the next challenge."

Penn State outshot Michigan 26-10, including 8-1 in the overtime period. Penn State dominated the corner kick figure, accounting for nine while holding Michigan to none. The lone Nittany Lion goal in the contest for Evans came off a corner kick. Michigan scored in the 15th minute on a penalty kick.

The Michigan goal was scored by Clare Stachel on the penalty kick. Evans fouled a Michigan player in the box which resulted on the successful penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.

Following a handful of opportunities, Evans would net her sixth goal of the season to tie the game up at one in the 41st minute. On a corner kick, senior Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) played it in and sophomore Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) headed it past the Michigan keeper. The ball settled on the goal line and Evans finished it to even up the game.

Penn State hosts Duke this Friday at 7 p.m. on Jeffrey Field. Tickets are eight dollars for adults, three dollars for youth and all students will receive free admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-NITTANY or at the gate on the day of the game. With a victory over the Blue Devils, Penn State will advance to the College Cup, which will take place in San Diego, Calif.

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