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Oct. 8, 2012
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fourth-ranked Penn State Women's Soccer (12-2-0, 6-0 Big Ten) put on an offensive show Sunday afternoon at home against Indiana (6-7-1, 1-5 Big Ten), scoring five goals from four different players and dominating the Hoosier defense.
The story of the afternoon for the Nittany Lions was the offense, which outshot Indiana 27-9 with 17 shots on goal. Indiana goalkeeper Sarah Stone put up a valiant effort with 12 saves and never made it easy, but there was no stopping Penn State's relentless attack.
"We're all just playing really well together right now and just moving the ball around really quickly and throwing the defense and creating gaps," said freshman Mallory Weber. "It's been great because everyone's been getting the shots because we're so dynamic up top."
The Nittany Lions led at halftime 2-1 following goals by senior midfielder Christine Nairn (11), who also added two assists to her point total, and junior forward Taylor Schram, who tallied her first goal of the season and caused problems for the Hoosier defense the entire game.
"Yeah, Schram's a workhorse, blue-collar mentality, will give you absolutely everything that she has and more," said Nairn. "We are more than happy to have her back and she's going full toe right now and we can't be more proud of her."
"I feel like I'm just running off pure adrenaline right now," said Schram. "I'm just excited to be back out on the field with my teammates, so just running as hard as I can, giving everything I have."
Despite the pressure by Penn State, Indiana battled midway into the second half and tied the game at two apiece in the 60th minute. With the momentum shifting slightly towards the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions responded in the form of Weber.
Weber had an outstanding game all around, but made her statement late in the second half when she moved from the midfield to the forward position with the game tied at two and proceeded to score twice, including the eventual game-winner to put the Nittany Lions ahead, 4-2.
The go-ahead goal came after the ball was deflected inside the box to Weber, who poised and fired a beautiful shot inside the left goal post. She then proceeded to display her speed two minutes later by running past two Indiana defenders, sliding and chipping a thru ball from Nairn into the back of the net.
"[Weber] was a stud today and she made the difference," said Schram. "She's dangerous when she plays up top and when she plays wide. We needed her today and she stepped up big for us, so it's great that we have the options. Somebody steps up every game."
Senior Maddy Evans added a fifth goal off of a corner kick from freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez to seal the 5-2 victory as Penn State continued its tradition of scoring from a variety of angles, which has made the offense all but impossible to stop. Players throughout the roster are stepping up and performing when the team needs them most.
"Christine [Nairn], best player in the country; Emily [Hurd] was unbelievable today; then Maya [Hayes], you don't have to say anything about her; Mal [Weber] was awesome; everybody," said Schram. "The list keeps going on and on. Together, when we have that performance as an attack, we can beat anyone in the country."
Twelve different players have scored the Nittany Lions' 46 goals so far this season. Young players like Weber, Rodriguez, freshman forward Tani Costa, and freshman midfielder Jenna Kalwa all have tallied goals to go along with some of the veterans who score on a regular basis.
"That's Penn State 2012," said Schram. "We have so many different weapons."
"I am very proud of the fact that we are having so much variety in our attack right now," said coach Walsh.
Penn State looks to continue its hot streak in the Big Ten at Nebraska (6-7-1, 3-3 Big Ten) on Friday followed by a showdown at No. 23 Michigan (11-2-1, 5-0-1 Big Ten) on Sunday.