Women’s Soccer Defeats Virginia Tech, Advances to Elite Eight

The Penn State women’s soccer team is heading to its 10th Elite Eight in program history.

The Nittany Lions (20-3-0) defeated Virginia Tech (16-6-0), 2-1, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Jeffrey Field in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

“That was a very good Virginia Tech team,” coach Erica Walsh said after the game. “They gave us everything we could handle.”

Penn State started the scoring right before halftime, when Katy Keen connected on a cross with Raquel Rodriguez in the 40th minute. From 18 yards out, Rodriguez fielded the cross and buried a shot into the back of the net. It was the junior forward’s seventh goal of the year.

That served as the lone goal of the half. In the 53rd minute, however, the Hokies’ Ashley Meier netted a ball after receiving Danielle King’s pass. Meier’s goal also came from 18 yards away from the goal.

The two teams traded shots and stops for the next 18 minutes, until Emily Ogle was presented with a free kick from 30 yards out. She lobbed it in front of the net, and Mallory Weber outjumped her defenders, her head forcing the ball past Virginia Tech’s goalie. It put Penn State ahead 2-1, and served as the final goal in Penn State’s victory.

Virginia Tech was held to only five shots on the day, and only one in the final 45 minutes. Four of those five shots were on target, and goalie Britt Eckerstorm saved all but one. The Nittany Lions also didn’t receive any bookings on the day.

Up next for the Nittany Lions is a trip to Texas A&M, where they’ll take on the Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 29. The winner will move on to the national semifinals on Dec. 5 in Boca Raton, Fla.

“This team is a good soccer playing team this year, but even more importantly, they’ve got a ton of courage,” said Walsh. “This is our family and we live to fight another day and play another day together.”

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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