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Payton Linnehan’s Rapid Hat Trick Leads No. 10 Penn State Women’s Soccer To 4-0 Win Over La Salle

No. 10 Penn State women’s soccer (2-0) rode a strong first half to a 4-0 win against La Salle (0-1) Sunday night at Jeffrey Field.

Payton Linnehan was the hero, scoring three goals in a 3:24 span in the first half. Olivia Damico added the fourth at the end of the opening period, while Sam Coffey, Ally Schlegel, and Rachel Wasserman all recorded assists.

How It Happened

Penn State didn’t make any changes to the roster that defeated UMass 3-1 on Thursday.

The Nittany Lions were extremely fluid on the attack, although Erica Dambach had her team set up in this formation defensively.

La Salle had the first half-chance of the match just two minutes in, earning a corner kick. After conceding first against the Minutemen, a fluke goal from the visitors was sure to be on the minds of the defense early in this contest.

Penn State began to impose itself in the first 15 minutes of the match, but the spark was missing… until Payton Linnehan decided to make history.

In the 25th minute, Sam Coffey found the winger with an inch-perfect ball over the top of the defense. Linnehan beat Jordynn Stallard to her left for the opening goal, and unlocked the start of a ferocious second quarter of the match.

Just 1:32 later, Linnehan and Schlegel linked up at the top of the box. Schlegel made a good run, and returned Linnehan’s pass to the goal-scorer, who slipped it by Stallard for her second.

The junior didn’t stop there. Under two minutes following her second strike, Linnehan sent a ball low into the mixer. It wasn’t necessarily a shot, nor was it a strong hit, but luck was on her side. Stallard bobbled the ball on the wet grass and it piddled across the line for the 3-0 lead.

Linnehan’s three goals came in a grand total of 3:24 elapsed time. It was the 22nd hat trick in program history, and first since 2017.

Penn State didn’t rest on its laurels after Linnehan’s magical three and a half minutes. Beautiful build up play got the ball out wide to Rachel Wasserman, and she sizzled the ball in to Olivia Damico for a shot from the penalty spot, which was clinically put away for the 4-0 lead.

The second half was uneventful at best, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the circumstances. Penn State already had the comfortable lead, and Dambach was able to rotate players at every position.

The Nittany Lions had a few chances, including a 25 yard shot from Elle Kershner that hit the crossbar, but in the end the 4-0 scoreline stood for the second win of the season for Penn State.

Player Of The Match

Payton Linnehan, Winger

This was penciled in as early as halftime. Once again, Linnehan was the best player on the field, but today it was clear due to her first-half hat trick, in which she averaged a goal every 68 seconds.

While the return of Coffey, Schlegel, and Abello are all incredibly important for the program, it is becoming increasingly evident that Linnehan is going to have a large role on this team.

What’s Next?

Penn State will wait a week for its next match, an August 29 date with Hofstra. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Jeffrey Field and will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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