Women’s Soccer Demolishes Boston University 6-0 To Advance In NCAA Tourney
Everyone knows the maritime cliché, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” Well, Happy Valley enjoyed one of the most spectacular sunsets of the semester Thursday evening, and let’s just say the good luck translated to the pitch at Jeffrey Field Friday night against Boston University in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. No. 6 Penn State churned out a stellar 6-0 victory over the Terriers that was never in doubt.
How It Happened
Erica Walsh’s top-seeded women’s soccer team was unfazed by the chilly conditions, as evidenced by the election from a few Nittany Lions to forgo sleeves, as well as another red hot performance from the offense. After pouring it on against Albany in a 5-0 blowout last Friday in its first round matchup, Penn State picked up right where it left off and then some.
Boston University did a nice job of corralling the Nittany Lions in its defensive third for nearly half an hour, but sophomore forward Frannie Crouse made a fantastic run down the left side of box in the 28th minute and finished a sliding goal to put Penn State up 1-0 and initiate the upcoming blowout.
The go-ahead score, while adding some much-needed confidence to the Nittany Lions’ attack, also provided essential breathing room. Head Coach Nancy Feldman’s Terriers nearly knotted things up in the 35th minute, but midfielder Clare Pleuler’s opportunity was thwarted by Penn State goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom in the middle of the box as the two collided hard.
Rather than settle for a one-goal margin heading into the half, junior midfielder Nickolette Driesse darted toward the right side of the box, turned her shoulders, and rattled off a howitzer that went top left in the 44th minute to make it 2-0. Boston University goalie Alyssa Parisi was no match for the Wayne, N.J., native’s superb effort.
Sophomore forward Megan Schafer kept the good vibes going in the 55th minute with a tidy, stress-free goal near the right post to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead. Less than seven minutes later, true freshman forward Charlotte Williams made it back-to-back matches with a score, as the Rochester, N.Y., product capitalized from close range with a deflected shot that found the back of the net in the 62nd minute to make it 4-0.
Not to be outdone, sophomore defender Elizabeth Ball hit paydirt on a sweet header in the 84th minute, stretching Penn State’s lead to 5-0, thanks to a nifty cross from senior midfielder Megan Ritchey. And if all that wasn’t enough, the scoring barrage continued a mere eight seconds before the final whistle. Sophomore midfielder Haleigh Echard notched her first goal of the season to cap the scoring and the contest at 6-0 Nittany Lions.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the fireworks Friday night was the fact that six different players tallied a goal. Therefore, it was easy to forget Penn State’s untouchable defense, which has been dominant all year, but that doesn’t mean they were any less effective. Eckerstrom and the rest of the unit reached 19-straight matches allowing one goal or less and have yet to give one up thus far in the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions also owned the attacking third, registering 21 shots to Boston University’s six.
Player Of The Match
It would be an injustice to give this award to an individual, seeing as Penn State played as clean a match as you would ever hope to see across the board, especially given the circumstances. Here’s to a job well done, ladies.
Erica Walsh’s top-seeded Nittany Lions (18-3-2, 8-2-1 B1G) bounded one step closer to the Women’s College Cup and will now shift their focus to familiar Big Ten foe Ohio State (13-6-3, 5-4-2 B1G) on Sunday, Nov. 22. The third-round NCAA Tournament showdown will kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET at Jeffrey Field.