No. 4 Penn State Women’s Soccer Overcomes Nebraska 1-0
No. 4 Penn State (9-0-1) edged out a close game against Big Ten opponent Nebraska (9-3-2), winning 1-0 in dramatic fashion.
Getting off to a hot start, Penn State created a multitude of chances through the first few minutes. As the rain soaked the field, though, play slowed and Nebraska earned a few looks on goal of its own. Going into halftime tied, Nebraska owned the ball at the beginning of the second half, but Penn State responded after a questionable call saw its assistant coach sent off with a red card. The resurgent Nittany Lions didn’t leave the Cornhusker box for long, and eventually earned a free kick that Cori Dyke slammed home. The goal would stand as the game-winner.
How It Happened:
Penn State took the field in their signature 4-4-2, the lineup unchanged from their win against Rutgers Thursday. Returning goalscorer Payton Linnehan headed up the blue and white attack while the Big Ten leading goalkeeper Katherine Asman guarded the sticks.
Kicking off in icy cold rain, Nebraska got play started in a hurry with a deep boot from the center mark. They hawked the Nittany Lions down and retained possession but Penn State dug itself out of the hole with a well-timed tackle and started a patient attack. In the 4th minute, an errant pass by the Nebraska backline saw the ball on Olivia Borgen’s feet at the top of the box. She feigned her defender before firing but the shot was just wide.
Borgen returned to the box in the 5th minute, this time opting to dish the play to Linnehan. Linnehan put it on her left foot but couldn’t score in close, the game still knotted at 0-0.
The Nittany Lions created yet another opportunity with 37 minutes to play in the first half as Eva Alonso stretched play up to Katelyn MacBean. She met Samantha Hauk outside the box and was dispossessed by the keeper, but the ball found its way to Natalie Wilson. She went for the chip but the shot struck the post and stayed out. After the play, a VAR challenge was initiated to see if Hauk committed a handball, but the official saw no foul, and play continued with a goal kick.
Following the failed challenge, Nebraska looked to be more confident on the ball, now directly challenging Penn State’s defenders as they looked to goal. At 33 minutes left in the half, Kaelyn Wolfe made a strong challenge in the box to keep the Cornhuskers from seeing too much of the net.
In the 14th minute, Linnehan got taken down from behind as she beat her defender on a run to the box. Alonso took the glorified corner kick but no one was able to receive the ball and the play died out.
Nebraska almost struck pay-dirt in the 20th minute as they pushed play up into the box with just center-back Mieke Schiemann to beat. Florence Belzile made a move but Schiemann stood firm, forcing the Cornhusker to make a tough shot that didn’t meet its mark.
On the following goal kick, Alonso was sent to the grass by Sarah Weber. She earned herself a yellow card, but an outburst from Penn State’s bench saw a yellow card shown to the side for dissent.
In the 30th minute, Nebraska streaked into the box with numbers, forcing the issue with a three-player collision including Asman, Weber, and Eleanor Dale. The official took issue with Weber’s play though and called the ball dead, defanging the Cornhuskers’s best opportunity thus far.
With five minutes left in the half, play had grown quiet as neither team could possess the ball for long. Penn State took the final opportunity of the half, this time with a minute to play and Wiesner standing over its first corner kick. The initial threat was cleared by the Cornhuskers, a shot by Rebecca Cooke was blocked in traffic. The entire stadium thought it saw a handball, but the official disagreed. The Nittany Lions earned another corner kick, but time expired as the cross was cleared, the score 0-0 at halftime.
Returning from the tunnel, Nebraska pinned Penn State to its own half, taking advantage of slightly sloppy play to stay in possession. The Cornhuskers earned two free kicks in the first three minutes but neither were direct and were easily cleared by the Nittany Lions.
The rain had saturated the pitch by this point in the game causing slips and collisions while reducing players’ ability to change directions. This bit Penn State as its offense fizzled when Wilson just couldn’t find her footing to receive a pass. Nebraska didn’t seem as constrained as its forward, direct play put the blue and white on the back foot.
Nebraska saw an opening after a missed tackle put Weber in the box unmarked. She just missed wide right, though. Penn State rebounded after the wake-up call, quickly advancing the ball to Borgen. In close quarters with the keeper, she tried to flick in onwards but missed right as well.
The Nittany Lions finally found the gas pedal as the game passed the 60th minute, creating corner after corner kick and pushing more attackers into the box. The bench got louder to support their teammates and Jeffrey Field followed suit as the blue and white refused to give the ball away for long.
In the 68th minute, chaos ensued after a collision in the box chasing an aerial cross saw Ellie Wheeler earn a foul. The referee marched over to Penn State’s bench immediately following the sequence and handed the Nittany Lions’ assistant coach their second yellow card, sending him from the dugout.
Nebraska capitalized on the shift in momentum to create some quality chances, but the Penn State defense held firm. With 18 minutes to play, a low cross from Briley Hill skittered past its target, but also snuck under Asman’s grip. It traversed the box inches from the goalline but found its way out of bounds.
As the clock eclipsed the 15-minute mark, both teams pushed the tempo on the hunt for the game-winning goal. Nebraska created a prime chance with Saide Waite controlling the ball in close. She hammered a shot but Asman made a herculean save with an outstretched fist to keep her clean sheet.
In the 80th minute, Penn State was awarded a goal kick on the doorstep of the box as Elle Kershner was pushed down by Haley Peterson. Alonso, Wiesner, and Dyke stood over the spot, each touching the ball before Dyke unleashed a howitzer to the upper right corner of the net. Hauk was able to get a piece of the ball, but not enough to keep the go-ahead goal out of the net, the score now 1-0 for Penn State.
Penn State refreshed its side with six minutes to seal the deal, bringing in enough defenders to play five in the backline while also holding back its midfield. With MacBean pressuring the Cornhusker defense after clearances, Nebraska struggled to siege the now parked-in Nittany Lion box. With one minute left, a Nebraska corner kick was too hot for Asman to control, but Schiemann was able to clear the line. After a tense final minute, the buzzer sounded, Penn State winning 1-0.
- Penn State demonstrated resilience by overcoming the red card of one of its coaches. They turned on the tempo when it mattered most to get the game-winning goal.
- As the game wore on, the rain played a big factor as both teams looked sluggish and struggled to find their footing. This led to a lot of attacking opportunities to fizzle out as players would slip and opportunities lost steam.
Penn State will be on the road this Thursday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play its conference rival Wolverines. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be streamed on B1G+.
Your ad blocker is on.
Please choose an option below.
Purchase a Subscription!
About the Author
The Nittany Lions head to the bowl game for the first time ever.
Four Nittany Lion wrestlers achieved bonus point victories in their first dual of the season.
The Nittany Lions will face No. 11 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.