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No. 11 Penn State Women’s Soccer Prevails 2-1 Over Liberty

No. 11 Penn State women’s soccer (5-1-1) triumphed 2-1 over Liberty (4-1-2) 2-1 on Thursday night at Jeffrey Field.

The Nittany Lions opened and closed the game with goals from Mieke Schiemann and Cori Dyke in the third and 77th minutes, respectively. Head coach Erica Dambach’s squad produced 14 shots on the night and put the fire out of the Flames.

How It Happened

Dambach rolled out a familiar lineup in her last non-conference matchup of the season. Freshman Amelia White earned her first start in several games and opened the game from midfield with a high tempo.

Penelope Hocking drew a foul in the second minute about 15 yards outside of Liberty’s penalty box. Dyke took the free kick and connected with Ally Schlegel. Schlegel’s header forced Flame goalkeeper Ainsley Leja to knock the ball wide and out of bounds.

Kate Wiesner lined up to take the corner kick and found Myers at the six-yard line. Schiemann headed Wiesner’s service ball into the top left corner of the goal to create a 1-0 lead for the Nittany Lions in the third minute.

Following a short Liberty possession, White forced back-to-back Nittany Lion corner kicks. Schlegel connected with both, but couldn’t convert.

In the 12th minute, Hocking created some offensive energy for Penn State when she sent a crossing pass to White. The freshman cut a cross back to Schlegel and the duo drew another corner kick, but couldn’t bypass Leja.

Myers sent a long, switching pass to Schlegel in the 21st minute that dropped right in front of Leja. Schlegel managed to settle the ball and get a shot off, but the play ended when the referee signaled that Schlegel was offside.

The Nittany Lions spent nearly the rest of the first half possessing the ball on their defensive side. This strategy frustrated the Flames, but Penn State remained calm and dominated the play.

In the 42nd minute, Penn State crept into Liberty’s half with some offensive momentum for the first time in almost 20 minutes. Hocking found enough space to launch a shot toward Leja, but her attempt knuckled and went high over the net.

A minute later, the Flames had a similar opportunity when Ivy Garner ripped a shot from distance, but it went high over Katherine Asman’s crossbar. That was both team’s last chance at goal, and the Nittany Lions headed into the locker up 1-0.

The Flames opened up the second half with some pace. In the 49th minute, midfielder Grace Spade found space 15 yards outside of Asman’s penalty box and ripped a shot from distance. Spade’s shot floated into the top left corner of the goal and skirted Asman’s reach to tie the Nittany Lions at one.

Liberty kept the momentum rolling and found itself with another goal-scoring opportunity just one minute later. Several deflections sent Asman in one direction, but the ball ricocheted another way. Mieke Schiemann took over the goal line and prevented a Flame goal with a big clearance.

Schlegel went down in the 60th minute after heading a Leja goal kick. The forward stayed down for nearly three minutes while receiving help from medical staff, but ultimately ran off under her own power. Nine minutes later, Schlegel re-entered the game.

Dyke had a chance in the 71st minute when she found space at the top of the penalty box and released a low-driven shot. Dyke’s attempt forced Leja to make a diving save, and the keeper redirected the ball wide of the net.

Dyke finally converted in the 77th minute to regain the lead over Liberty. Hocking laid a pass off to Dyke, who took a lofting shot from distance. Dyke placed the right-foot rocket in the upper-left quadrant of the goal and out of Leja’s reach to secure a 2-1 lead over the Flames.

Liberty couldn’t respond to Dyke’s goal, and the Nittany Lions took the match 2-1.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State looked more confident on Thursday than all season. It’s clear that when the team is comfortable enough to possess in its own half rather than push the offense, it’s feeling pretty self-assured. That’s really cool to see in a game, especially for nearly 30 minutes in the first half. It’s unclear if that strategy was Dambach-directed or occurred naturally, but either way, the Nittany Lions looked more composed and poised than ever before.
  • Cori Dyke looks awesome at the defensive center midfield spot. Yes, her goal was awesome and it clinched the win for the Nittany Lions. But aside from that, her play is so impressive at a tough spot in the lineup. Dyke commanded the field and it paid off.
  • Payton Linnehan didn’t see any playing time against the Flames. She didn’t dress out, so it’ll be interesting to see if she recovers from the unknown injury during this upcoming week’s break before Big Ten play.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to Bloomington for their Big Ten season opener against Indiana. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 18.

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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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