No. 11 Penn State Women’s Soccer Dominant From Start To Finish In 3-0 Victory Over Minnesota

No. 11 Penn State women’s soccer (5-1-1) defeated Minnesota (3-2-2) 3-0 in commanding fashion at Jeffery Field on Thursday evening.

The Nittany Lions converted three goals on just four attempts on goal during in dreary conditions, including two first half strikes from Ally Schlegel. More impressively, the home team shut out Minnesota’s tireless offensive attack after the Golden Gophers came up empty on an astounding 18 shot output.

How It Happened

In the match’s opening minutes, midfielders Maddie Myers and Payton Linnehan were vital in setting the tone in the offensive zone for the Nittany Lions, despite not putting a quality shot on goal until the midway point in the first half.

After dominating possession for the first five minutes, Minnesota had a breakaway opportunity. The transition led to a foul on Ellie Wheeler, but Penn State’s staunch defensive unit staved off the free kick chance.

The cold, rainy elements continued to plague both squads early, as Nittany Lion defender Kerry Abello slipped and injured her lower leg just over 15 minutes into the contest. Shortly after the injury stoppage, Abello re-entered the game and jumpstarted an impressive run for the home team.

Seconds following the timeout, a throw-in to Frankie Tagliaferri led to a beautiful, high-arcing cross to Ally Schlegel for a Penn State goal on the team’s first shot-on-net of the match to take a 1-0 lead.

Shortly after, Tagliaferri worked her magic at the midfield position once again by nutmegging a Gopher defender inside the 18-yard box, leading to yet another favorable scoring opportunity. The quick directional change by Tagliaferri led to Schlegel’s second scoring strike of the match on a low-skidding bullet towards the left corner, advancing the Nittany Lions to a controlling 2-0 advantage.

Conservative play from Erica Dambach’s group led to Minnesota’s first sequence of shots on goal late in the first half. At the 39th minute mark, midfielder Sophia Boman fired a deep strike towards the center of the goal, but the promising attempt sailed just over the head of Katherine Asman to keep Penn State in control.

To end the opening half, Gopher midfielder Katie Duong delivered a low bouncing attempt that was once again staved off by Asman. The combination of overwhelming offensive firepower coupled with steady defensive stands carried the Nittany Lions into the locker room with an imposing 2-0 lead.

Minnesota began the second half in attacking fashion, as defender Delaney Stekr placed a beautiful ball right at the feet of forward Makenzie Langdok on an open-field breakaway pursuit ahead of the Nittany Lion defense. In an attempt to save the shot, Asman stepped out of the net and forced Langdok’s strike to miss wide right on a fantastic defensive effort by the sophomore keeper.

Possession continued to change back-and-forth as the second half continued to wind. In an attempt to complete the rare hat-trick performance, Schlegel booted her first shot of the half off of a fortuitous Penn State bounce, but the attempt was saved towards the center of the net by keeper Megan Plaschko.

After picking up a foul in the opening field, senior leader Sam Coffey earned a free-kick try in an effort to extend the 2-0 margin. At the top of the box, Coffey delivered a brutally forceful shot to the left of the five-person Minnesota wall, which was unable to be stopped by Plaschko, as the ball rolled right through her hands. The goal catapulted the home squad to a 3-0 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the match.

The Golden Gophers continued to pepper a plentiful amount of shots until the final whistle, but none of which threatened the Penn State defensive line. The visitors finished the matchup with 18 shots in comparison to just four from the Nittany Lions, but the exceptional conversion rate carried the ranked squad to a dominating 3-0 win over Minnesota.

Player Of The Match

Ally Schlegel | Forward | Redshirt Sophomore

The talented scorer tallied two goals within a span of less than four minutes to electrify the Penn State offensive attack following a sluggish start to the match. Schlegel placed both goals in inaccessible areas for opposing goalkeeper Megan Plaschko, who surrendered both scores to the sophomore on the same amount of attempts.

What’s Next

Penn State will play its second-straight game at Jeffery Field on Sunday, March 21, against Michigan. Kickoff is set for noon, and will air nationally on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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