Women’s Soccer Shows Its Stellar Defense In 2-0 Win Over Illinois
Penn State (8-2-2, 4-0-1 Big Ten) faced off against Illinois (3-9-1, 0-4-1 Big Ten) at Jeffrey Field Friday night and extended its unbeaten streak to eight games with a 2-0 win.
How It Happened
The game started off a little slow with neither side out-possessing the other. Penn State’s offensive play looked better than Illinois from the start but turnovers prevented the Nittany Lions from getting a shot on target. Then, 13 minutes in, Frannie Crouse made a beautiful run toward the middle while Haleigh Echard played a lovely through-ball behind the Illinois back four. Crouse controlled the ball with one touch while the Illinois keeper Claire Wheatley came out and then placed it right out of reach in the bottom right corner of the goal for her eighth of the season.
After Crouse’s goal, it was all Penn State. The chances kept coming and Illinois had very little offensive attack.The Nittany Lion wingers consistently got behind the Illinois defense, rattling off shots on target in the process. Center back Elizabeth Ball came up for a corner kick and nearly added a second goal on a well-driven header to the back post, but an Illini defender was there to make the stop and clear it away. Despite all the chances, the Nittany Lions were unable to add another before the intermission.
Penn State’s offense picked up right where it left off to start the second half, as Frannie Crouse put together a great run down the left side, getting behind the defender, and centered it to freshman Laura Freigang, who was unable to get her shot past Wheatley. The chances kept coming and eventually the Nittany Lions were able to double their lead. 20 minutes in, Charlotte Williams drove down the middle of the field on a counter attack and put the ball into space on the right wing for Marissa Sheva. Sheva took one touch and fired it low to the left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
After the second goal, Penn State continued to get chances, but was more focused on possessing the ball and preventing any Illinois attack. The ball was mostly contained to the Illinois half, and the only attack the Illini could muster was quickly stopped by the Penn State defense. Ball was rock solid the whole night, never letting an attacker by her. The Illini threatened some with five minutes left, but once again the defense was more than up to the challenge and kept the shutout intact.
Player Of The Match
Frannie Crouse | Junior | Forward
The Greensburg, Pa., native added her team leading eighth goal Friday night (29th career) to open up the scoring, and besides that, created chance after chance. She also nearly had two fantastic assists.
The Nittany Lions are back in action next Thursday at Indiana, kicking off at 7:00 pm.
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