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Penn State Women’s Soccer Dominates Quinnipiac With 4-1 Win In First Round Of NCAA Tournament

No. 2-seed Penn State women’s soccer (14-4-3, 5-3-2 Big Ten) took a 4-1 win over Quinnipiac (15-3-1, 9-1 MAAC) Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Kate Wiesner’s goal in the first half set the stage for the action-packed match against the Bobcats. A goal-packed second half propelled the Nittany Lions into a lead that Quinnipiac could not overcome thanks to an insane offensive showing from Payton Linnehan, Penelope Hocking, and Cori Dyke.

The win advances Penn State to the next round of the NCAA tournament where it will face West Virginia.

How It Happened

Penn State led the early attack, taking its first shot in the second minute of the match. The Nittany Lions built great sequences of possession as they headed towards Quinnipiac’s goal, weaving through its defensive line.

In the ninth minute, Penelope Hocking and Ally Schlegel worked their magic and ran the ball from midfield through Bobcat defenders. Schlegel went down after encountering a defender at the 18-yard line, but the referees didn’t call a foul. The ball rolled out of bounds, giving Penn State a throw-in right by the corner and allowing Maddie Myers to take a shot, but it went straight to Sofia Lospinoso’s gloves.

Schlegel found a break with the ball and dished a pass to Payton Linnehan in the 21st minute. Linnehan took two shots and Lospinoso deflected the ball both times. The ball stayed in play, allowing Natalie Wilson to take another shot for the Nittany Lions, but hit the outside of the goal.

Just two minutes later, Kate Wiesner worked her magic and brought Penn State up 1-0. Linnehan and Hocking were awarded the assist for a cross sequence to Wiesner, who shot the ball to the center of the goal and beat out Quinnipiac’s keeper.

Quinnipiac’s Rebecca Cooke was given a yellow card in the 29th minute after a corner kick for unsporting. Cooke took down Myers as she was switching possession and taking the ball to Penn State’s offensive half.

Lospinoso showed that she was not phased by the constant threat of Penn State’s offense throughout the first half. In the 39th minute, Penn State had another round of shots from Kaitlyn MacBean and Rachel Wasserman that frazzled Quinnipiac’s back line but were blocked by the goalkeeper.

Quinnipiac took its first shot of the match in the 43rd minute when Madison Alves was awarded a free kick. Markela Bejleri found the ball and sent a low ball to the center of the net, but Katherine Asman was there for the save keeping the Nittany Lions in the lead 1-0.

Just 30 seconds before the end of the half, Quinnipiac’s Emily DeNunzio took down Olivia Smith and was awarded its second yellow card.

Opening the second half, Quinnipiac tied it up. Straight off the whistle, the Bobcats shifted forward and beat out Penn State’s defense. Bejleri took a soaring shot from near the penalty box that flew over the defensive line at the 47-minute mark. The ball flew just past Asman and landed squarely in the goal for the equalizer.

Penn State took back the lead in the 50th minute when the Nittany Lions raced down to their attacking half. Hocking sent a clean pass to Linnehan who was camped out at the right corner of the six-yard line. Her shot crossed in front of Lospinoso and landed squarely in the back left corner of the goal, bringing Penn State to a 2-1 lead.

Cooke, the NCAA’s top goal scorer, started picking away at Penn State’s back line and tested Asman in goal around the 59th minute. Although no goals came out of Cooke’s push, the threat she posed indicated a more offensive half for the Bobcats.

Hocking was awarded a yellow card in the 63rd minute for taking down Olivia Scott.

In the 65th minute of the match, Hocking had a huge breakaway thanks to Jill Jennings, taking off from the midfield and sending a rocket right past Quinnipiac’s keeper. Her shot nestled in the bottom right of the goal and brought the Nittany Lions up 3-1.

Penn State’s second yellow card was given to Cori Dyke in the 72nd minute for unsporting right at the midfield line.

The Nittany Lions took three corner kicks in a row in the 75th minute. The first came after a shot by Jordan Canniff and gave Rachel Wasserman a shot as well. The third bounced further out from the goal, but Wasserman dished a ball to Dyke who was at the top of the penalty box. Dyke’s shot rolled through the legs of multiple defenders and put Penn State even further in the lead with a score of 4-1.

Penn State just kept going for the possibility of an even bigger win over Quinnipiac. Although their shots didn’t quite make it thanks to several huge saves from Lospinoso, the Nittany Lions took home the win with a final score of 4-1.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State’s offense is incredible. Payton Linnehan, Kate Wiesner, and Penelope Hocking just play so well together and played a beautiful game, showcasing how dangerous the Nittany Lions can be when they attack.
  • The Nittany Lion backline was cool, calm, and collected during this match. They were a reset point for the team and took back possession several times at some critical points of the game.
  • Quinnipiac played a physical game, especially in the second half as the team’s frustration started to really show. Penn State handled the physicality well and didn’t let it become a distraction.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will advance to the next NCAA tournament round, where they will face seventh-seeded West Virginia.

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About the Author

Mackenna Yount

Mackenna is a junior food science major from Manitou Springs, Colorado, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She loves food, is addicted to coffee, and can give you random facts or bad jokes that you didn't ask for. Ask her to bake gluten-free goodies so she has an excuse to try out new cupcake flavors. Mackenna can be contacted via Twitter @mackennayount (especially if you want to show off your best dad jokes) or you can shoot her an email at [email protected]

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