No. 11 Women’s Soccer Drops Maryland 1-0 In Defensive Battle
The No. 11 Penn State women’s soccer team took the pitch at Jeffrey Field under a blazing orange sunset for its match against unranked Maryland Thursday night.
Erica Walsh’s Nittany Lions entered their fifth B1G contest of the season fresh off a 3-0 road victory over Northwestern this past Sunday at Toyota Park, while the Terrapins lost a close one to Michigan 1-0 in College Park, Md., a week ago.
Penn State 9-2-2 (4-1-1 B1G) waited patiently for its opportunity to strike after watching a bevy of shots just miss the Maryland net, and they did just that to pick up a crucial 1-0 victory. The Terrrapins fell to 5-8-0 (0-5-0 B1G) on the year.
How It Happened
Penn State came up with plenty of opportunities in front of the net early on, as defender Brittany Basinger and forward Frannie Crouse nearly finished off a pair of beautiful shots that glanced off the crossbar. The Terrapins held steady on defense, though, not letting the barrage bother them.
Penn State’s midfielders and defenders did an impressive job of corralling Maryland breakaways before they could develop, while mostly keeping the ball from reaching its defensive third in the first place.
Maryland Head Coach Jonathan Morgan’s squad did an excellent job of stifling each Nittany Lion attack in the first frame, but struggled to create opportunities on the opposite end of the pitch. After a scoreless half that saw Penn State tally 14 shots (five on goal), Maryland, conversely, failed to get a shot off against an equally stout defensive effort from the ladies in blue and white.
Following the intermission, Penn State came out with a surge on offense, as the Nittany Lions continued to get high-percentage shots on net yet they simply couldn’t finish. That is, until sophomore forward Megan Schafer cleaned up a Mallory Weber pass for the go-ahead goal to make it 1-0. Schafer’s goal would go on to be the game-winner.
It was a quiet night for standout Terps forward Alex Anthony, who came into Thursday’s contest tied for second in the Big Ten with seven goals on the year. However, she was held at bay by Penn State’s strong defensive play, highlighted by goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom‘s fifth shutout of the season. Also of note, the Nittany Lions finished with a ridiculous 30 shots to Maryland’s one.
Player Of The Match
Penn State forward Megan Schafer came up huge for the Nittany Lions by breaking the scoreless tie with 13:45 to play. It was the sixth goal of the season for the Langhorne, Pa., native.
The No. 11 Nittany Lions will stay home for a 1:00 p.m. ET matchup with Indiana this coming Sunday, Oct. 11 at Jeffrey Field.
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