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Penn State Women’s Soccer Bullies West Virginia 4-0 In Second Round Of NCAA Tournament

Penn State women’s soccer (15-4-3) dominated West Virginia (11-5-7) 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Jeffrey Field.

The Nittany Lions took the pitch following a snow squall in Happy Valley, but the weather didn’t stop Payton Linnehan, Penelope Hocking, Cori Dyke, and Amelia White from converting goals to punch their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.

How It Happened

Despite a West Virginia kickoff, the Mountaineers were dispossesed and the Nittany Lions immediately took advantage. Kate Wiesner sent a crossing ball to Payton Linnehan who pounded a header into the back of the net 16 seconds into the match.

Ally Schlegel had a breakaway opportunity in the 10th minute, but was called offside. Penn State called the shots throughout the opening minutes of play and dominated possession and offense.

The Mountaineers find their groove midway through the first half and began to put more pressure on Mieke Schiemann and Jill Jennings. The Penn State back line kept its cool and Jennings even made a diving header save to prevent a West Virginia conversion.

The Nittany Lions took quite a while to put fresh legs into the game and waited until the 27th minute to add freshman Olivia Smith into the match for Wiesner. Amelia White, Devon Olive, and Eva Alonso entered the game five minutes later to close out the final 10 minutes of the first half.

West Virginia’s Lauren Segalla tallied the Mountaineer’s third shot of the game and tested Asman for the first time in the 33rd minute. Asman dove on Segalla’s half-volley shot to maintain the 1-0 Penn State lead.

Julianne Vallerand ripped a low-drive shot toward Asman, but her attempt went just inches wide of the Nittany Lions’ net. West Virginia knocked on the door and made the Penn State defense work for its lead.

The Mountaineers carried the momentum into the halftime break, but trailed 1-0.

Wiesner drew a foul in the 50th minute to open the second half with a set piece opportunity. Cori Dyke, Penelope Hocking, and Wiesner all lined up over the free kick, and Dyke played a sneaky pass to Wiesner. Wiesner’s shot flew just high of goalkeeper Kayza Massey’s net.

In the 55th minute, Penn State doubled its lead following a Hocking goal. Wiesner notched her second assist of the game and set Hocking up for a breakaway with a one-on-one against Massey. Hocking slid her low-driven shot to the near-post and past Massey to grab a 2-0 lead over West Virginia.

In the next possession, Gabrielle Robinson fouled Linnehan in the penalty box and gifted the Nittany Lions with a penalty kick in the 56th minute. Linnehan took about two minutes to get up, but did under her own power and sent Dyke to the spot.

Dyke served a smooth, well-driven shot to the right side of the goal and Massey dove the wrong way. Penn State scored two goals in as many minutes to take a 3-0 lead.

Wiesner went on a breakaway of her own minutes later, but got tripped up on her own feet and fell down in the penalty box.

In the 68th minute, West Virginia gave up a free kick about 20 yards outside of the penalty box. Wiesner sent a lofting service into the box that bounced around several times and was ultimately settled and buried into the back of the net by White.

Kaitlyn MacBean found the back of the net in the 84th minute, but it was called back because the redshirt freshman was offside. Penn State’s reserves, including backup goalkeeper Morgan Messner, dominated the closing minutes of the snowy matchup.

Elle Kershner almost made it five in the final minute of the game, but her shot was deflected by Maddie Murphy over the net. Kershner’s attempt closed out the second half and Penn State maintained a clean sheet with the 4-0 win over the Mountaineers.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State came out of the gates with an agenda and it followed through. Payton Linnehan’s goal set the stage for the game and every player from the top to the bottom of the roster contributed minutes and momentum. This was absolutely a team win and the Nittany Lions looked great doing it.
  • Kate Wiesner. Her postseason play has been ridiculous. The senior tallied two assists in Penn State’s 4-0 win and was influential in just about every play on both sides of the field. Wiesner’s confidence over the ball is superb and she is so influential to this lineup.
  • This is Big Ten country. What other teams can post a 4-0 win after a snow squall? Penn State women’s soccer can.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will move on to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament and take on third-seeded Virginia at 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 20, at Jeffrey Field.

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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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