Kat Asman’s Penalty Save Seals 2-1 Win Over James Madison For Penn State Women’s Soccer
No. 8 Penn State women’s soccer (5-1-1) pulled off a narrow 2-1 win against James Madison (1-5) Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field.
After conceding within the first minute of the match, an upset for the Dukes seemed possible as a frustrating first half dragged on. But a penalty from Frankie Tagliaferri, a goal from Ally Schlegel, and a penalty save from Kat Asman stretched the Nittany Lions’ unbeaten streak to five matches.
How It Happened
Penn State found itself a goal down after 44 seconds. Dukes forward Claire Meiser took advantage of confusion in the Penn State penalty area and finished around Kat Asman, giving James Madison the best possible start to the match.
Penn State struggled to recover from the early setback, and the match turned into a battle of playing styles. The team’s passing lacked its usual sharpness, and though they enjoyed plenty of scoring opportunities, Ally Schlegel, Tagliaferri, and company couldn’t find the back of the net. This may have been the result of a lengthy away spell that ended with a double-overtime draw against West Virginia Friday, or the absence of midfield conductor Sam Coffey, who began the match on the bench for the first time this season. Even as Dambach dropped Tagliaferri and Schlegel into the midfield and Kerry Abello showed her brilliant dribbling skills on the wing, the Nittany Lions failed to find the finishing touch.
James Madison created several dangerous chances from speedy counter attacks, but freshman goalkeeper Kat Asman and the Penn State backline held solid after the early miscue.
Penn State registered eight shots throughout the first half, but wouldn’t find an equalizer until the 44th minute. Kelli Beiler was shoved in the back while tracking a through ball, and Tagliaferri stepped up to take the penalty. The forward’s first effort was saved by Dukes goalkeeper Hannah McShea, but the rebound fell kindly to her and she notched her fourth goal of the season.
Penn State entered the break at 1-1, but rose to its usual high level with the introduction of Coffey in the second half. Tagliaferri outpaced a defender on the touchline in the 53rd minute and sent a low cross to the penalty area that found Ally Schlegel. Schlegel’s one-touch finish hit the post and found the net, putting Penn State ahead by one early in the half.
A fairly uneventful stretch followed Schlegel’s goal, with Penn State keeping possession but failing to double its lead. Their lead remained anything but safe, however. An awkward jump in the box in the 73rd minute gave James Madison a penalty kick that Iris Rabot stepped up to take. But Asman showed brilliant anticipation and reflexes when she dove to her left and parried the ball away from Rabot to keep Penn State’s lead alive.
The Nittany Lions spent the final fifteen minutes of the match holding onto their lead through clearances, blocks and last-ditch tackles. They even broke forward on a counter attack in the 80th minute, but Kerry Abello’s left-footed shot ricocheted off the crossbar. The final ten minutes passed without a goal, and Penn State escaped a nervous contest with a 2-1 lead.
Player of the Match
Kat Asman| Freshman|Goalkeeper
Asman has assumed the starting spot in goal in the absence of Amanda Dennis for the past two matches, and has performed well under pressure. In addition to her win-saving penalty stop, she made several solid saves and seemed to communicate well with the backline.
Penn State returns to Jeffrey Field to face Oklahoma State (4-0-1) Thursday, September 12 at 6 p.m.
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