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No. 10 Penn State Women’s Soccer Blanks West Chester 8-0

Penn State women’s soccer sailed past the West Chester Golden Rams Sunday afternoon with an 8-0 outing, shutting out its Division II opponent.

The Nittany Lions got off to a quick start by way of a Payton Linnehan brace in the first 25 minutes. Following a goal from Cori Dyke, the blue and white made a mass substitution and refreshed the entire lineup by the 31st minute.

Spurred on by youth and newly-transferred talent, Penn State continued its routing of the Golden Rams on its way to an 8-0 victory in Happy Valley.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions returned to Jeffrey Field and set up in a 4-4-2 formation to control the midfield and dictate the pace of play. Captains Kate Wiesner, Cori Dyke, and Katherine Asman took the field as well as midfielder Riley Gleason, who made her first career start.

The Nittany Lions controlled possession from the onset, bothered only by a long-range strike from Golden Ram Alyson Cutter that found its way safely into the hands of Asman.

Penn State had eyes for the goal early in the match, pressing high and committing upward of seven players toward the attack. The pressure allowed Payton Linnehan entry to the box in the third minute, but her shot went just wide of the post. Linnehan teed up again less than a minute later, but a deflection from a defender redirected the shot wide.

The Nittany Lions continued their siege of the Golden Rams’ penalty area, poking and prodding from out wide, and finally found space on the give-and-go as Natalie Wilson connected with Linnehan. Linnehan proved that the third time is the charm, deftly placing the ball past Grace Keen for Penn State’s first goal of the season and setting the game at 1-0.

Not satisfied, Penn State pressed on and continued to test the freshman goaltender. West Chester survived a bevy of quality chances, asking its goalie to make three consecutive diving saves. Keen denied Linnehan her second goal and deflected two well-driven shots from Olivia Borgen.

With 28 minutes to play in the first half, a physical challenge from West Chester’s Faith Matter put defender Mieke Schiemann flat on the pitch. She walked to the medical tent and was replaced by 5th-year senior Michela Agresti.

The Nittany Lions almost struck again in the 19th minute, this time from the boot of Borgen. Fading down the left of the box, she took aim for the far post but the ball skittered just wide and the score remained 1-0.

West Chester took the ball back after the goal kick and rushed downfield to pressure Asman. The Golden Rams got the ball to their striker, but Cutter’s shot was lost in traffic and Penn State resumed possession.

The Nittany Lions continued to force the issue as the midfield cycled the ball around the box to look for an opening. An errant pass deflected the ball into the air, where it bounced toward Cori Dyke, who didn’t need to settle the rock. Instead, she unloaded a missile just out of reach of Keen in the top middle of the net, doubling Penn State’s advantage to 2-0 in the 23rd minute.

West Chester seemed gassed under the Jeffrey Field sun and was consistently late to the ball, allowing Penn State to maintain a nearly endless possession. This also produced a lot of incidental contact as the Golden Rams arrived late to the spot, seeing two fouls in quick succession and a yellow card on Lauren Reimold. The Nittany Lions responded with two fouls of their own, but tension quickly cooled off.

Movement off the ball allowed the Nittany Lions to attack again from their backline. This time, Wilson found a streaking Linnehan behind the Golden Rams’ line. They connected for the second time and Linnehan had enough reach to steer the ball into the net and push Penn State’s lead to 3-0.

Penn State cycled its entire lineup in the 31st minute, setting up with nine new players and ending the day of goal-scorers Dyke and Linnehan among others. The new squad continued the 4-4-2, this time with Kaitlyn MacBean, Molly Martin, and transfer Rebecca Cooke at the helm.

The lineup didn’t waste time putting a shot toward the cage, creating a scrum in the goalmouth with seven minutes to play. Rowan Lapi and Cooke both took strikes in quick succession but Keen was in position to block both attempts.

Goalkeeper Katherine Asman joined her fellow starters on the bench with five minutes to play in the half.

West Chester defender Abigail Edelman displayed heroics with two minutes left in the half, denying a shot from the end line with a physical challenge and avoiding a potential penalty. Responding, the Nittany Lions forced their opponents to sweat out the first half as they fired off three quick shots in the final minute. Keen got her gloves on attempts from MacBean and Kaelyn Wolfe, and Agresti’s header went wide. The half expired with Penn State up 3-0.

The Nittany Lions didn’t miss a beat as they returned from the locker room. The squad forced two corner kick defenses out of West Chester early in the half. Both were punched away by Keen.

Penn State was still firmly on the gas pedal through the opening minutes of the half, quickly taking set pieces and pushing the tempo when out of bounds. The effort didn’t go unrewarded, as the Nittany Lions found an opening immediately following a foul at midfield. Olivia Damico was the recipient of the free kick, and she shook her defender off at the baseline to open up a curling left foot strike. Penn State led 4-0.

West Chester seemed to lose its cool again, cutting down both Lapi and Agresti within a minute of each other and earning two yellow cards. Golden Rams’ coach Betty Ann Kempf Townsley took the opportunity to make a mass substitution, taking off five players including the yellow-carded Faith Matter and Reimold.

Exploiting the new West Chester midfield, the Nittany Lions secured enough space to set up Cooke, who scored her first goal in a Penn State uniform. Taking in the ball at a distance, she walked her defender and did it herself, slotting in the 5-0 goal with 27 minutes remaining.

A minute later, Penn State earned a penalty kick after Edelman tripped a streaking Nittany Lion in the box. Elle Kershner hammered it to the bottom left corner and set the advantage 6-0.

The blue and white pressed onward, continuing the seemingly never-ending nightmare for the West Chester defense. Penn State tacked on yet another score as a bobbled save fell right to Julia Raich. She became the sixth goalscorer in the game with 21 minutes to play and pushed the Nittany Lion lead to seven.

Raich wasn’t done, though, as the scoring onslaught just wouldn’t stop. She teed up from outside the box with her left foot and beat the keeper to the bottom right of the net with a booming shot. The goal was good to complete the brace and extend the score to 8-0 in the 74th minute.

The Nittany Lions kept pushing but this time West Chester wouldn’t budge. After 90 minutes of domination, the game was sealed 8-0 in their favor.


  • The Nittany Lions employed a very aggressive 4-4-2 to great success in the first half. Instructing its fullbacks to join the attack and press on heavy touches, Penn State consistently smothered its opponents and locked the Golden Rams to their own half.
  • The constant pressure put on by the midfield and defense allowed Payton Linnehan and Olivia Borgen runs on flat-footed defenders near the penalty area. Always one step ahead of the Golden Rams, their goals felt inevitable with the tactical advantage.
  • Subbing out the entire starting field by the 32nd minute and sitting goalie Katherine Asman with five minutes left in the first half proves just how dominant the Nittany Lions played. The option to settle young and transferred players into the system should prove useful as the season wears on.
  • Penn State’s skill from depth can’t be overstated after this performance. Erica Dambach had a never-ending arsenal of weapons at her disposal and used them to keep her squad fresh and speedy throughout the game.
  • The Nittany Lions could’ve tacked on at least another five goals if it wasn’t for freshman goaltender Grace Keen. Playing all 90 minutes, she tallied 16 saves after facing 24 shots on goal and 20 corner kicks. Penn State had consistently good shot placement and power, so the squad shouldn’t be upset with the high number of blocks.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to face the Mountaineers on Thursday, August 24th. The out-of-conference matchup will be streamed on ESPN+ and kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a junior industrial engineering major from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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