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Penn State Women’s Soccer Approaches Difficult Road Stretch In Good Form

No. 6 Penn State women’s soccer will leave the comfort of Jeffrey Field for the first time this weekend when the team travels to California for matches against Loyola Marymount University and Long Beach State.

Head coach Erica Dambach’s squad will head west after a busy weekend. The Nittany Lions fell to Stanford 2-1 in their opening match of the season last Friday, but bounced back with a 6-0 trouncing of Hofstra on Sunday. The Nittany Lions seem dangerous, thanks to a group of talented young players and a seemingly solid team chemistry.

Despite the scoreline against Stanford, Dambach’s squad showed promise against the No. 3 team in the country in a match that saw many new players, like junior transfer Sam Coffey and freshmen Kate Wiesner, Payton Linnehan, Shelby Craft, and Cori Dyke, make their debuts for the Nittany Lions. Wiesner, the class of 2020’s top-ranked recruit, scored an impressive goal while playing as a left back, and if it hadn’t been for a few missed chances, Penn State could have easily leveled the score against the Cardinal.

Dambach was pleased with the performance of the team’s newest members.

“These freshmen have been around the block,” Dambach said after the match. “They did an unbelievable job tonight.

“Chemistry is our greatest strength right now, I think this team is gelling.”

The 6-0 win over Hofstra saw the team’s earlier potential explode into life. The match also brought even more players into a rotation that Dambach said would need to have depth to succeed this season, as well as Coffey’s first goal for Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ were calm in possession and finished their chances coolly.

“I thought we had more courage on the ball to connect,” she said of the performance.

Penn State will need to carry Sunday’s form into a tough string of road contests that begins with Long Beach State Friday at 10 p.m. The unranked 49ers are currently 0-1 after a loss to No. 4 UCLA Sunday. The Nittany Lions last faced the 49ers in 2016, when they won 2-1, thanks to a brace from Frannie Crouse. They’ll also travel to Los Angeles for a match against Loyola Marymount (0-1-1), who they defeated 4-2 during their 2015 national championship campaign, that kicks off at 4 p.m.

The team returns east to face the always dangerous No. 9 West Virginia the following week in Morgantown, before returning to Jeffrey Field for a two-game homestand.

Dambach said that her staff was focused on keeping its players well-rested and healthy as the weekend approaches and classes begin, working hard to adjust to a tough travel schedule. The team, she said, would also rely on its experienced core to educate and check on younger players and adapt to the unforeseen challenges that often accompany a long away series. She cited a rain delay against Georgetown in a preseason match as an example of going along with an interrupted schedule.

“The way these guys handle those moments is incredible,” she said of her returners. “They’ve learned to just roll with it, and that’s what you have to do in those moments.”

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

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