Women’s Soccer Rolls Past Iowa 2-0
No. 25 Penn State (6-2-2) played Iowa on Friday night in their third Big Ten matchup of the season. The Hawkeyes (6-5) came into the night hoping to surprise the defending national champions with an upset at Jeffrey Field.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions came out holding a high line defensively, and Iowa came out with a clear defensive focus. Penn State began to control possession and build from the back early on as Iowa sat back defensively and looked to counter. Electric play down the right wing from sophomore Marissa Sheva opened up opportunities early on.
The Penn State defense looked very sound in the early on (and throughout the match), often forcing the Hawkeyes into ill-advised and difficult passes. The Hawkeyes were often forced to play long balls forward which were dealt with competently by defenders Elizabeth Ball and Grace Fisk.
Iowa was able to put a few shots on target in the first half thanks to their counter-attacking play, but generally looked innocuous going forward as Penn State spent most of its time in the attacking third of the field.
With about four minutes left in the half, junior Haley Echard came down the left wing, made a defender miss, and fired a shot in from the left side. The ball zipped past the Iowa goalkeeper but was brilliantly cleared off the goal line by an Iowa defender who denied the Nittany Lions their best opportunity of the first half.
Penn State led in the shots category 5-4 at halftime.
The Nittany Lions finally broke through in the 55th minute, as Nickolette Driesse floated a fantastic ball into the box from a free kick about 35 yards out. Elizabeth Ball – with her back to goal – was able to redirect the lofted service from Driesse up and over the Iowa goalkeeper.
The Nittany Lions would strike again as an extended period of possession and interplay led to a cross from the left flank which was deflected and bounced between Frannie Crouse and the Iowa goalkeeper. Crouse was the faster of the two to the ball and took the shot first time, expertly finishing from a difficult angle to put the Nittany Lions up 2-0 in the 63rd minute. Crouse’s tallied her seventh goal of the season.
Penn State finished off the game with very safe and smart play allowing them to cruise to their sixth win of the season.
Player of the Game
Elizabeth Ball | Defender | Junior
Ball scored a header in a very crowded 18-yard box that broke the 0-0 deadlock. This goal forced Iowa to send more players forward, allowing Penn State more space offensively. Ball also played a very solid defensive match alongside freshman defender Grace Fisk.
Penn State will continue their Big Ten play as they take on Nebraska at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.