Women’s Soccer Settles For 2-2 OT Draw With Rutgers
Erica Dambach’s Nittany Lions returned to Jeffrey Field Thursday for a huge conference showdown with familiar foe Rutgers on THON Night.
No. 16 Penn State (9-2-4, 5-0-3 Big Ten) remained unbeaten in Big Ten play after rallying to a 2-2 draw with the Scarlet Knights.
How It Happened
Dambach went with a somewhat unorthodox formation to start the match, with six players lining up at midfield (three in the circle) before senior Nicky Driesse spun around and fired a pass to Alina Ortega Jurado to get things going. Unlike the three occasions these teams squared off last fall, the final being a 2-0 Penn State victory to reach the National Championship, a handful of standout players from each side weren’t in the lineup.
Both Penn State and head coach Mike O’Neill’s Scarlet Knights have a goalie on the U.S. Women’s U-20 World Cup roster in Rose Chandler and last year’s Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Casey Murphy, respectively. Four more Nittany Lions — Emily Ogle, Kaleigh Riehl, Maddie Elliston, and Ellie Jean — are also missing the season to play in Papua New Guinea, making Penn State the most-represented college program.
Megan Schafer provided the match’s first fireworks in the 10th minute. The junior forward out of Langhorne, Pa., corralled a through ball from Charlotte Williams and drove it past Alana Jimenez into the left side of the net. Not only did Schafer’s fifth goal of the season (24th career) give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead, it tied her with Taylor Schram (2010-13) for 18th on the all-time Penn State scoring list.
After 30 minutes of back-and-forth soccer, Madison Tiernan dialed up the equalizer in the 43rd minute. The Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer zeroed in on freshman Grace Fisk just outside the box and ripped a beautiful bender past Amanda Dennis’ outstretched gloves to draw even at 1-1.
In the 50th minute, Rutgers freshman Taylor Aylmer immediately recognized that Elizabeth Ball’s sloppy pass back to Dennis was short of its intended target. The midfielder darted into the box and side-stepped Dennis for a point-blank goal — the first of her career — to make it 2-1 Scarlet Knights.
Just when Penn State fans were starting to get a little nervous, junior Frannie Crouse did what she does best late in the 67th minute. The Greensburg, Pa., product netted her team-leading 10th goal of the season off an incredible right-foot finish to tie things back up at 2-2. Despite a nice breakaway chance in the last minute, Penn State would have to settle for extra time. Another 10 minutes weren’t enough to decide a winner, so both sides took the pitch for one last-ditch effort, but a draw was in the cards.
Player Of The Match
Frannie Crouse | Junior | Forward
Crouse’s equalizer kept Penn State the lone undefeated team in Big Ten play.
The Nittany Lions will be back at Jeffrey Field Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. against Purdue.