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Penn State Women’s Soccer Secures Crucial 2-1 Win Over Purdue

It began with a well-taken goal from Payton Linnehan, and ended, as it so often has this season, with a clinical finish from forward Ally Schlegel.

Penn State women’s soccer (9-6-1, 5-3-0 Big Ten) defeated a lackluster but physical Purdue (6-6-1, 2-3-1 Big Ten) side 2-1 Sunday afternoon in a tense matchup.

Penn State is now third in the Big Ten with a game in hand over Rutgers and Iowa, two teams that are currently tied for fourth and kick off their weekend matches later this afternoon.

How It Happened

It’s difficult to say exactly what Penn State will take from a frustrating first half. Erica Dambach’s squad was clearly the better team against a compact but utterly uninspiring Purdue team, but it failed to capitalize on the outstanding possession figures it recorded.

The Nittany Lions were in complete control of the match from the opening whistle. Purdue seemed sluggish and disorganized, leaving acres of space between in midfield that allowed Sam Coffey, Frankie Tagliaferri and Cori Dyke to roam relatively unmarked.

Payton Linnehan, the freshman winger, brought the cutting movements and decisions that are often lacking from Penn State’s attack. In the sixth minute, Coffey found her with an over-the-top through pass, and she cooly slotted a finish underneath Purdue goalkeeper Marissa Bova. Linnehan’s skills and speed were on full display against the Boilermakers, and she did well to stand out in her individual duel with veteran right back Skuylurr Patrick.

From there, Penn State failed to gain any meaningful traction on offense and conceded several turnovers in dangerous areas. Purdue’s slow and indecisive attack, which hasn’t scored since September 27, was easily limited by the Penn State backline until the 41st minute.

Teagan Jones beat Maddie Myers on the left side and squared a pinpoint cross Mia Roth, whose first-time volley left Dennis frozen and tied the match at 1-1 just before the break.

The second half began heatedly with both teams committing fouls. Coffey connected with an Ally Schlegel layoff on the edge of the penalty area in the 54th minute, but the midfielder’s shot crept past the outside of the post.

Less than a minute later, Tagliaferri collected the ball in midfield and slipped a perfectly weighted through pass to Schlegel, who poked the ball past the onrushing Bova to score her tenth goal of the season and bowed as Tagliaferri ran to celebrate with her.

Penn State was content to keep posession throughout the rest of the half as Schlegel dropped into midfield, frustrating the Boilermakers and drawing several fouls. Hannah Melchiorre came close to leveling the score when she headed a cross toward goal, but her effort was wide.

Penn State, specifically Coffey, Haislip and Riehl, did well to manage the closing minutes of the match and secure a 2-1 win for the Nittany Lions.

Player of the Match

Sam Coffey| Junior|Center Midfielder

Coffey’s long ball assist to Payton Linnehan was brilliant, and her runs into the opposing penalty area from midfield gave Penn State extra momentum in the attacking third. She worked hard on defense and managed the final minutes of the match professionally, taking the ball to the corner flag as time ticked on.

What’s Next?

Penn State returns to Happy Valley to face Illinois (7-6, 1-5 Big Ten) Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m.

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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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