Women’s Soccer Upset By No. 14 BYU 3-2
No. 5 Penn State (1-0-1) wrapped up its three-game home stand against No. 14 BYU on Friday night. The Cougars (1-1-0) came into Happy Valley following a 1-0 loss to Nebraska, but snapped the Nittany Lions’ 13 game winning streak with a 3-2 victory.
How It Happened
Penn State found itself staring up at the Cougars within minutes. BYU applied a high press and it got the best of goalkeeper Amanda Dennis, who was forced to turn the ball over on a clearance. This started a counter attack for BYU and a few precise passes set up a breakaway goal for Ashley Hatch in the sixth minute.
The Nittany Lions started to find their groove after the goal. The BYU keeper Rachel Boaz came off her line and muffed a free kick delivery from Penn State. Salina Williford got a shot off behind the keeper, but had her opportunity blocked by a defender on the goal line. Not even a minute later, Boaz made up for her mistake and stuffed Frannie Crouse on a breakaway. Boaz was called upon once more moments later, and promptly snuffed out Penn State once more. The keeper suffered an injury on the play and had to be replaced in the 23rd minute.
A through ball in the 28th minute gave Charlotte Williams a chance to equalize, but BYU’s replacement keeper Hannah Clark picked up where Boaz left off and made a big save in her first significant play of the game. Clark made another big save on a Laura Freigang shot with just minutes remaining in the half to deny Penn State the equalizer again. Penn State had the better of possession, run of play, and a number of chances, but went into the half down 1-0.
BYU almost opened the second half with another quick goal after a cross on the ground was mishandled by Dennis, but BYU’s rebound opportunity was cleared out by two lunging Nittany Lion defenders. That wouldn’t be the last chance for BYU as another Cougar counter attack in the 57th minute ended with Ashley Hatch scoring. A giveaway deep in the midfield allowed Nadia Gomes to play a ball in behind the Penn State defense to Hatch, who buried the shot past Dennis.
Down two goals, Penn State gave its comeback chances some fuel in the 62nd minute. Haleigh Echard cut down the left flank and crossed to Frannie Crouse, who headed the ball into the back of the net. Minutes later a ball was played forward to Frannie Crouse, but a BYU defender beat her to the ball. Crouse dispossessed the defender from behind, which garnered foul appeals from the Cougars. The referee dismissed the appeals and Crouse passed to Charlotte Williams cutting at the top of the box. Williams took a touch and equalized the game 2-2 in the 66th minute.
BYU turned up the pressure following the game-tying goal and forced Amanda Dennis to make a number of saves. In the 78th minute, BYU went ahead again after another Penn State giveaway in its own half of the field. Nadia Gomes won the ball on the left flank, charged down the sideline, and crossed to Hatch, who scored her third goal. Penn State had one last opportunity with 30 seconds to go as the team frantically advanced the ball toward the penalty area. Charlotte Williams ripped a shot from just yards out that hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced on the line. Elizabeth Ball couldn’t get there for the rebound and BYU held on for the 3-2 win.
Player Of The Game
Ashley Hatch | Forward | Senior
The BYU striker scored more goals against the Nittany Lions in this game than Penn State’s defense has conceded in all of its games since November 1 combined.
The Nittany Lions will travel to California for games against No. 15 UCLA and Long Beach State next weekend. The game against the Bruins will be Friday at 11 p.m. and the game against the 49ers will be Sunday at 8 p.m.
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