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Kristin Schnurr’s Patience Finally Paying Off For Penn State Women’s Soccer

Kristin Schnurr’s emergence as a dangerous scoring threat for Penn State women’s soccer has been one of the more exciting storylines of the season.

The redshirt junior forward from Bristow, VA scored her first three collegiate goals in a four-match span, finding the back of the net against James Madison, Syracuse, and Virginia.

After coming off the bench in 20 matches the last two seasons, Schnurr has finally secured a more central role in Penn State’s offense thanks to her patience and work ethic.

She battled through a knee injury and learned as much as she could from a host of talented upperclassmen, winning a national championship her first year on campus in 2015.

Now, it’s Schnurr who’s helping to set the standard in practice and film study alongside Emily Ogle, Kaleigh Riehl, and captain Maddie (Elliston) Nolf. Toward the end of preseason camp, head coach Erica Dambach discussed Schnurr’s development.

“I’ve seen her grow leaps and bounds,” Dambach said. “She was primed and ready to do that. She’s been watching, she’s been listening, she’s been waiting for her opportunity, and this spring you started to see her emerge.”

Schnurr contests a ball along the sideline against Ohio State.

Sophomore forward Frankie Tagliaferri is perhaps the most qualified person to analyze what makes Schnurr successful, as the two have shared plenty of time together in the attacking third this season.

“I think just her constant work ethic,” Tagliaferri said of Schnurr’s best quality. “She’s always pressing. Whether we win the ball or lose the ball, you can always count on her to slide and to press with you.”

Schnurr, a kinesiology major who wants to become a physical therapist, spent part of her summer competing with the Washington Spirit Reserves. Riehl and sophomore Casey Ballow joined her on the team, while a handful of fellow Nittany Lions trained elsewhere in the WPSL.

Following a 2-1 loss to Virginia in the pouring rain, Schnurr said the team would focus on refining its set pieces and finishing the ample opportunities it had on net the past few matches. The Nittany Lions clearly took the message to heart, throttling Ohio State 4-0 last Friday in their Big Ten opener at Jeffrey Field.

“We’re all just pushing each other at practice,” Schnurr said. “We use the quote, ‘Iron sharpens iron,’ and it’s definitely true. Our keepers especially have been pushing us in practice, telling us, ‘Look, you guys need to shoot low. Just make sure it’s on frame.'”

“She’s just a great voice on the field for us,” Schnurr said of goalkeeper Amanda Dennis.

Dambach routinely assembles an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule for her team, and this season was no different. Penn State entered conference play 4-3 after facing four teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA tournament — the Cavaliers, UCLA, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.

“This [schedule] has prepared us so much,” Schnurr said. “You’re going to see everything in the Big Ten season. We’ll be ready.”

Schnurr and the Nittany Lions travel to Evanston Thursday for another major test against No. 12 Northwestern. Penn State, with its seven Big Ten tournament titles and 18 regular-season crowns, is determined to remain the team to beat.

Schnurr is currently tied with Ogle and Tagliaferri for second place on the team in goals this season with three. She’s also one of only six players in the conference averaging more than three shots per game.

“She just puts her head down and works,” Dambach said. “There’s not a whole lot of talk from her, it’s just a whole lot of doing, and her actions are speaking.”

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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