Women’s Soccer Advances To Second Round Of NCAA Tournament
Thanks to two goals from senior Tani Costa and a brilliant performance from the Nittany Lion defense, fourth-seeded Penn State defeated Monmouth University 3-0 under the lights at Jeffrey Field on Friday night, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
With Costa’s two goals, the senior forward set a new single-season career high, adding her 9th and 10th of the year. Playing in her final home game at Jeffrey field, the Honolulu, Hawaii native opened up the scoring 6:37 into the match, striking a cross from sophomore forward Mallory Weber into the back of the net.
Costa added her second goal in the 51st minute after a beautiful display of passing from fellow seniors Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram. Junior defender Whitney Church also got into the action, heading a corner kick from Schram past the goalkeeper for her fourth tally of the season.
The Lions (15-6-2) outshot the the Hawks 25-11 and totaled a 10-2 advantage on corner kicks. Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom saved all six shots she faced en route to her fifth shutout of the season. Ashley Lewis made 9 stops for Monmouth.
Heading into the game, Monmouth had not allowed a goal in their last nine contests. The Hawks built a formidable 17-1-2 record after facing a soft schedule, with no matchups coming against the Top 25. It wasn’t long before Penn State’s superior size and speed began to wear down the Monmouth defense, which allowed the Lions to control possession and dictate the pace of play.
With the win, the Nittany Lions will advance to the second round of the national tournament where they will face the winner of Morehead State (10-10-1) and Wake Forest (10-6-2) next Friday in Charlottesville, Va. Penn State will be looking to return to the National Championship Game in Cary, North Carolina after losing to the Tar Heels in last year’s finals.