Top-Seeded Penn State Women’s Soccer Crushes Albany 5-0 In First Round Of NCAA Tournament
Top-seeded Penn State women’s soccer, fresh off both Big Ten regular and postseason titles, took the wind-swept pitch at Jeffrey Field for its first round matchup Friday evening against unseeded Albany in the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the superstitious date (Friday the 13th), Penn State made its own luck in the 5-0 drubbing. Erica Walsh’s No. 6 Nittany Lions improved to 17-3-2 (8-2-1 B1G) on the season after putting on an absolute clinic offensively. The ladies in blue and white blew past the Great Danes thanks to a trio of first-half goals en route to a statement victory and berth in the tournament’s second round.
How It Happened
Sophomore forward Megan Schafer wasted little time providing the first offensive fireworks of the night, as the Langhorne, Pa., native capitalized from close range in the ninth minute to put Penn State up 1-0. Less than six minutes later, redshirt sophomore defender Brittany Basinger unleashed a majestic, post-in bender from way out to ignite the home crowd’s spirit.
Not to be outdone, sophomore midfielder Emily Ogle pounced on her opportunity 20 minutes in, delivering the Nittany Lions’ third goal in just over a 10-minute span, essentially putting this one out of reach midway through the first half. However, that didn’t stop the dominant Nittany Lion defense from tracking down each Albany breakaway — few as there may have been.
Veteran goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom was again fantastic in net despite the limited amount of action in Penn State’s defensive third. Eckerstrom orchestrated her defenders with unmatched savvy, strategically calling out every development to help the Nittany Lions extend their streak of allowing one goal or less to 18 matches in a row. Redshirt sophomore Rose Chandler came on in relief midway through the second half.
Despite some uninvited second-half snow flurries, Ogle and the rest of the Penn State offense refused to cool down. The Strongsville, Ohio, product finished off her second goal of the night in the 55th minute, continuing the Nittany Lions’ staggering output in the shot department.
True freshman forward Charlotte Williams even added a goal of her own for extra measure in the 87th minute. When the final whistle blew, Penn State held a 25-5 advantage over the Great Danes.
Head coach Caitlin Cucchiella’s squad fought valiantly Friday night, but the adverse weather conditions and lack of offense proved too much to overcome on the road. While Albany ends its season 11-9-1 (4-3-1 America East), there’s nothing to be ashamed of as the Great Danes had the misfortune of drawing one of the hottest teams in the nation. Plus, following the 5-0 win, Penn State now holds an all-time record of 215-24-10 at Jeffrey Field.
Player Of The Match
Emily Ogle | Midfielder | No. 10
Ogle’s two goals, bringing her season total to six, were the highlight of an unbearably cold night at Jeffrey Field. Ogle has now started all 46 matches of her Penn State career, taking on even more of a leadership role in the process despite her youthful sophomore status.
The top-seeded Nittany Lions will have the chance to rest up before their second-round tilt with either Boston University or St. John’s on Friday, Nov. 20. Match time and location is yet to be determined.