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No. 21 Penn State Women’s Soccer Silences No. 12 Northwestern 2-0 In Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

No. 21 Penn State women’s soccer (12-4-3, 6-3-2 Big Ten) took down No. 12 Northwestern (14-4-2, 7-3-1 Big Ten) 2-0 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio.

Kate Wiesner opened up the scoring in the first minute, followed by a Payton Linnehan goal, and the Wildcats never managed to respond. Goalkeeper Katherine Asman made nine saves on the match to send the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten Tournament final.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions opened up the game with some pace as Linnehan drew a corner kick in just the first minute of play. Wiesner’s corner service bounced several times in the penalty box, and despite shots from Mieke Schiemann and Natalie Wilson, the Wildcats managed to clear and reset.

Just one minute later, Ally Schlegel and Penelope Hocking combined in the midfield to find an open Wiesner in the penalty box. Wiesner launched a left-footed low-driven rocket to the farpost and out of reach of goalkeeper Mia Raben. Penn State took a 1-0 lead over a shocked Wildcat lineup in just the second minute.

Northwestern began to settle into its 3-6-1 formation and the Nittany Lions had a tougher time breaking through the midfield. Still, Penn State dominated possesion regardless of the clogged central third of the field.

In the 18th minute, Wiesner sent Hocking on a breakaway down the center of the pitch. Hocking pulled off a shot, but the attempt hit the left post and rebounded back to the shooter. Hocking adjusted and directed a crossing ball to the 12-yard line and connected with Linnehan who released a one-time half volley past Raben to grab a 2-0 lead.

As soon as Penn State extended its lead to two, Northwestern centerback Emma Phillips went down with a leg injury and limped off the field with the help of athletic trainers. The loss of Phillips caused the Wildcats to adjust their formation into a 4-4-2 shape.

The new formation helped Northwestern push its offense more consistenly, and the team began to find its groove in the closing minutes of the half. Penn State’s defense remained stout and Maddie Myers led the backline with stops.

The Nittany Lions ended the opening 45 minutes up 2-0.

Northwestern rolled out of the locker room with a lot of energy and immediately notched a quick shot on Asman. The goalkeeper fumbled the save, but Myers managed to clear the ball and keep the Wildcats at zero.

Hocking picked up a yellow card in the 62nd minute for a few dangerous plays in a row.

Northwestern kept pulling shots from distance in the second half and kept Asman engaged much more so than in the opening 45 minutes of play. The Wildcats earned eight corner kicks through the match, but the Penn State backline remained sturdy despite the increased offensive momentum from its opponents.

Schiemann picked up a yellow card in the 84th minute of play for taking down Wildcat Aurea del Carmen in a goal-scoring opportunity. Northwestern’s free kick attempt went straight into the hands of Asman and the Nittany Lions tried to settle the play for the remaining few minutes of the match.

Wiesner almost tallied another goal in the final minute of play, but Raben made a huge save to keep the Nittany Lions to just two goals.

Neither team came up with another goal, and Penn State took the match 2-0 to move on to the Big Ten Tournament final.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State broke Northwestern’s 3-6-1 lineup apart in the opening minutes of the first half. The speed in the Nittany Lions’ lineup definitely aided this and allowed nifty players like Wiesner, Hocking, and Linnehan to exploit a dense, crowded midfield and search for space behind the line.
  • Holy Hocking. The transfer manufactured both of Penn State’s first half goals and made it look easy. The Nittany Lions almost always play better when they get out on their front foot and, thanks to Hocking, did just that.
  • Can Penn State pull off a revenge game against foe Michigan State? The Nittany Lions gave up their first conference loss of the season to the Spartans on September 29 and then posted another loss to Ohio State three days later. We can definitely count on Penn State rolling into this matchup with a lot of energy to pull off its first Big Ten Tournament win since 2019.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will move on to the Big Ten Tournament finals at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 6, against first-seeded Michigan State. The matchup will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network. Seeding for the NCAA Tournament will also be announced on Monday, November 7.

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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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