No. 17 Penn State Women’s Soccer Upsets No. 4 Rutgers 2-0
No. 17 Penn State women’s soccer (6-1-2, 1-0-1 Big Ten) overcame No. 4 Rutgers (9-1, 1-1 Big Ten) 2-0 on Thursday night at Jeffrey Field.
Ally Schlegel opened up the scoring in just the eighth minute and the Nittany Lions dominated the play for the remainder of the game. Penelope Hocking gave Penn State its insurance goal in the 53rd minute and broke the ranked Scarlet Knights’ 9-0 streak.
How It Happened
Head coach Erica Dambach rolled out a familiar lineup against the Scarlet Knights. Both teams opened the matchup with a high tempo, but Penn State settled in and commanded the field in the opening minutes.
Penelope Hocking tallied the first shot on goal in the fourth minute. The forward found space at the top of the Scarlet Knights’ penalty box and released a floating shot. Rutgers goalkeeper Meagan McClelland easily scooped up the shot and reset her defense.
Penn State struck first in the eighth minute. Hocking took the ball herself through the Rutgers defense into the penalty box. She laid a pass off to Kate Wiesner and the defender took a shot at the 12-yard line. McClelland saved Wiesner’s shot, but spilled the ball. Schlegel buried the loose ball into the back of the net before McClelland could even react to take the lead 1-0.
The Nittany Lions had their foot on the gas and almost converted two more goals in the 13th and 15th minutes, respectively. Natalie Wilson danced around two defenders and managed to get a shot off, but her attempt went just wide of McClelland’s net. Amelia White also tallied a shot, but her bid similarly snuck wide.
Rutgers notched its first shot in the 19th minute in contrast to the Nittany Lions’ four shots. Goalkeeper Katherine Asman wasn’t tested and easily picked up her first save.
Sara Brocious ripped a shot from distance in the 21st minute and forced Asman to lay out to make the save. Asman’s ball redirection gave Rutgers its first corner kick, but the team couldn’t capitalize.
Hocking and Mieke Schiemann teamed up on Rutgers forward Allison Lowrey and gave up a foul about 20 yards outside of the box. Lowrey took the free kick herself and sailed the attempt just high over the crossbar.
Heavy rain began to pour at Jeffrey Field in the 27th minute and play got a little choppy for the Nittany Lions. Rutgers tried to take advantage of this and managed to outshoot Penn State 3-0.
Neither team could notch the scoreboard before halftime and the Nittany Lions headed into the locker room up 1-0 after 45 minutes.
Hocking made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Alongside Schlegel, the duo took on two defenders and despite pressure, Hocking got a shot off and slid the ball past McClelland to grab the second goal of the night.
Rutgers racked up eight fouls through the 65th minute and began relying on aggression to slow down the Penn State offense.
Kaitlyn Macbean pushed the pace of the Rutgers defense and nearly scored in the 75th minute. Macbean’s attempt went wide, but it was clear that Penn State was in the driver’s seat for this half.
Payton Linnehan had a breakaway moment in the 84th minute, but a Scarlet Knight defender managed to recover and prevent the forward from getting shot off.
Rutgers couldn’t muster up any offensive momentum in the final minutes of the game and the Nittany Lions pulled off the 2-0 upset.
- Penn State came out of the gates fired up. This was an opening pace that hadn’t been seen yet this season, and it seriously paid off with an early goal. The Nittany Lions let up about midway through the first half and Rutgers began to briefly control the play, but either way, Penn State set the tone of the game and that’s important.
- The Nittany Lions’ back line looked great. Despite the heavy rain and a talented Rutgers offense, Mieke Schiemann, Cassie Hiatt, and the outside backs held down the fort with authority. Katherine Asman, as always, showed up sturdy and kept her Big Ten sheet clean.
- Penelope Hocking is the Nittany Lions’ linchpin. She’s influential in every offensive play, manufactured the team’s first goal, and is always in the right place at the right time. Hocking is a boss, let’s talk about it some more.
- Could we see a rematch of Penn State and Rutgers in the Big Ten final? Only time will tell.
The Nittany Lions will stick around in Happy Valley for another home game at noon on Sunday, September 25, against Illinois at Jeffrey Field. Following the women’s game on Sunday, Penn State men’s soccer will kick off at 4 p.m. against Akron.
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About the Author
A visit from Pat Freiermuth and “We Want Drew” chants highlighted another busy Saturday in Happy Valley.
The Nittany Lions move up three spots from No. 14 last week.
The Nittany Lions overcame a slow start to beat the Chippewas by three scores, improving to 4-0.