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No. 8 Penn State Women’s Soccer Defeated By No. 16 Rutgers 2-1 In Big Ten Opener

No. 8 Penn State women’s soccer (6-2, 0-1 Big Ten) dropped its Big Ten opener to No. 16 Rutgers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) 2-1 in Piscataway Sunday afternoon.

A late penalty won the game for the Scarlet Knights, which marks the second consecutive season that Rutgers defeated the Nittany Lions to open the conference slate. Rachel Wasserman scored the lone goal for Penn State.

How It Happened

Penn State ran out with this lineup, which saw Kate Wiesner reenter the starting lineup, as well as Devon Olive slotting into the defense once again.

The Scarlet Knights had the first chance of the game just four minutes in. The forwards, including former Penn State standout Frankie Tagliaferri, combined beautifully to find Rutgers’ talisman Amirah Ali. However, Ali’s shot was hit just wide of Asman’s post.

Rutgers looked the more dangerous side throughout the first 15 minutes. The Scarlet Knights had more poise on the ball, and Tagliaferri’s speed through the middle caught the Nittany Lions in transition a few times. Penn State didn’t get a good chance until the 17th minute when Payton Linnehan’s dummy led to an Ally Schlegel shot.

It was quite a dull first half despite both teams having high-powered offenses. The Nittany Lions didn’t even record a shot on goal through 45 minutes. Luckily for Erica Dambach’s side, the sparse chances that Rutgers had didn’t result in a deficit in the locker room.

The Nittany Lions stormed out of the gates in the second half. Just 30 seconds in, Linnehan had a chance on a nice through ball. Moments later, Sam Coffey threaded the ball through to Ally Schlegel, but the possession didn’t amount to more than a momentum shift.

Rutgers finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute, despite some improvement from the Nittany Lions. Sara Brocious did well to evade two Penn State defenders, and she dropped it back to Samantha Kroeger. The Rutgers midfielder hit a well-placed shot to Asman’s right, with enough power to find the back of the net.

At that point, it seemed like Penn State would struggle to get back into the game. However, the goal lit a fire under Penn State. Just a few minutes later, Rachel Wasserman received a diagonal ball into the box, weaved through two defenders, and found the far corner for the equalizer.

In a true game of momentum swings, the Nittany Lions took the game over. Penn State could have taken the lead with chances from Schlegel and Jordan Canniff, but the Scarlet Knights weathered the storm.

With the match still tied at 1-1 with 10 minutes to play, Kerry Abello was forced to mark Ali in the box. The Rutgers’ forward turned to goal, and Abello made knee-to-knee contact with her. The referee judged it to be a penalty kick, and sophomore Becci Fluchel stepped up and fired it home for the late lead.

Penn State had a few last ditch efforts, but the best chance at the end was a soft shot from Cori Dyke. It was an unfortunate way to end the match for the Nittany Lions, but Rutgers was the better team on the day.

Player Of The Match

Sam Coffey, Midfielder

Despite the loss, Sam Coffey was the best player in the midfield for either side. Coffey’s presence was felt on the defensive end, but it was her balls to Schlegel and Linnehan on the run that often began the best chances for Penn State.

What’s Next

For the first time in nearly a month, Penn State will return home to Jeffrey Field on Thursday to face Northwestern. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. 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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