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No. 8 Penn State Women’s Soccer Folds 2-0 To No. 12 Stanford

No. 8 Penn State women’s soccer (3-1-1) dropped its first match of the season 2-0 on the road to No. 12 Stanford (4-0) on Thursday night.

The Nittany Lions’ offense just couldn’t find its rhythm against the Trees and stayed on the defensive side of the ball for most of the game. Because of this, Penn State goalkeeper Katherine Asman was forced to make nine saves on the night.

How It Happened

Head coach Erica Dambach rolled out a veteran lineup, including transfers Penelope Hocking and Cassie Hiatt.

The Nittany Lions earned the first touches on the ball to kick off the first half, but it was only three minutes into the game until Stanford made its first attempt at goal on a set piece. Maya Doms sought to convert a bicycle kick, but the shot was broken up by Asman.

https://twitter.com/PennStateWSOC/status/1565520064497201152?s=20&t=3RZMRyxgdz_tvPqjcMw6JQ

Six minutes later, Mieke Schiemann fouled a Stanford player and gave up a free kick 10 yards outside of the penalty box. Abby Greubel took the kick, but the shot didn’t make it through the Nittany Lion wall. After two rebounds, the play was reset for an Asman goal kick.

Maddie Myers picked up a yellow card in the 15th minute in order to prevent a Stanford breakaway. The captain chose to foul rather than allow Samantha Williams a chance at goal but was quickly booked as a result.

In the 20th minute, Greubel forced Asman to make another save when the forward sent a sailing ball over Myers and toward the Nittany Lion net. Asman punched the ball over the crossbar to keep things square at nil.

The Trees were hot on the offensive trail, and Julia Leontini came close to notching the scoreboard in the 23rd minute. The junior ripped a left-foot shot from distance, but the ball hit the crossbar and was cleared once again.

Stanford controlled much of the play for the following 10 minutes and continued to put pressure on Asman and the Nittany Lions’ back line until Stanford struck first in the 37th minute.

The Trees’ offense combined to send freshman Allie Montoya a through ball toward Asman. Montoya slotted a low pass just out of Asman’s reach and converted to gain the 1-0 lead.

The Nittany Lions remained on the defensive end of the game for the rest of the first half. Dambach’s squad wasn’t able to respond to Montoya’s goal before heading into the locker room down 1-0.

The beginning of the second half was much of the same for the Nittany Lions. Stanford maintained the momentum coming out of the break and kept Penn State on its back feet.

Montoya notched her second goal of the match in the 54th minute. A shot from Doms was deflected off a Nittany Lion defender, only to be finished by Montoya to earn the 2-0 lead over Penn State.

The Nittany Lions picked up the pace following Montoya’s second goal and started to occupy more time and space in the Trees’ defensive half. Despite this, Penn State couldn’t manage to convert.

Ally Schlegel combined with Hocking to create the Nittany Lions’ first real opportunity of the match in the 62nd minute. Schlegel snuck a pass through the Stanford back line to Hocking, and the transfer released a powerful shot, but Stanford goalkeeper Ryan Campbell made a huge save off the goal line.

Penn State picked up a free kick in the 76th minute about 25 yards outside of the goal. Jordan Canniff took the kick and connected with Ellie Wheeler at the Trees’ goal line. Campbell sprawled out to punch away Wheeler’s header attempt and maintain Stanford’s 2-0 cushion.

Then, freshman Amelia White got her chance at goal in the 82nd minute. Schlegel connected with White behind the Stanford line of defense, and the freshman danced around Campbell. White’s shot didn’t have enough power on it, and Campbell laid out in recovery to deny the attempt.

White’s bid at goal was the final opportunity for the Nittany Lions, and Stanford finished the game in possession with a 2-0 victory over Penn State.

Takeaways:

  • Despite the loss, goalkeeper Katherine Asman had a huge night. Stanford manufactured 20 shots against the redshirt senior, and she managed to deny nearly all of them. It’s unclear where the disconnect was in the Nittany Lion defense, but it sure wasn’t Asman.
  • Penn State’s offense just couldn’t get it going tonight. The stacked offensive line looked disorganized, despite its talent. Even super subs Amelia White, Elle Kershner, and Jordan Canniff couldn’t find the tempo on the field. Maybe this was because the midfield was too engaged on defense to transition with Schlegel and Co. up front, but the lines just weren’t connecting.
  • So, what does this mean for the Nittany Lions? This game was Penn State’s biggest test so far, and the team couldn’t hang. With Big Ten play about two weeks away, the Nittany Lions will need to refine their strategy in order to maintain the high expectations and prestige of this squad.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will remain in California for one more match to challenge Santa Clara before returning to Happy Valley. That game will kick off at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 4.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or send your best Spotify playlist to her email [email protected]

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