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No. 4 Penn State Women’s Soccer Draws Purdue 0-0

No. 4 Penn State women’s soccer (11-0-3, 5-0-2 Big Ten) tied Purdue (3-10-2, 0-5-2 Big Ten) 0-0 in an important road game for the Nittany Lions. The game was just the third time that the two programs tied in their history.

Coming into the game, the two teams had experienced opposite seasons in terms of success, but this didn’t stop Purdue from putting up a fight. Purdue was not going to go away easy against a higher-ranked opponent as it gave the Nittany Lions very little in a 0-0 first half. The second half was more of the same as Penn State had plenty of opportunities but was unable to find the back of the net.

How it Happened

Head coach Erica Dambach decided to stray away from the typical 4-4-2 that the Nittany Lions have used. Dambach made one direct change of defenders, giving Kaelyn Wolfe a rest for Kate Wiesner but also started midfielder Olivia Damico instead of forward Payton Linnehan. This effectively changed Penn State’s formation to a 4-5-1, adding some width to the team. 

Kaitlyn MacBean’s fabulous form from the past game against Ohio State spilled over into this match as she put pressure on the left side of the Purdue back-line right away. She moved past the first defender and tried to find a teammate in the box, but the ball went out for the first corner of the game. The corner was swung in but Purdue’s keeper, Charlotte Cyr, got her hands on it.  

Purdue also had a chance early on as a good ball into the Penn State 18-yard box found the head of a Purdue attacker, but Kat Asman was positioned well to make a superb save.  

In the sixth minute, Purdue had another chance off its first corner of the match. The ball trickled just outside of the box and Emily Matthews struck the ball well. Penn State’s defense was in the right place though and the shot was blocked wide.  

With 32 minutes left in the first half, MacBean had another great move this time on the right wing. She beat a Boilermaker defender and took a shot that went just wide. Just 30 seconds later, MacBean once again found herself past the Purdue defense and released a shot. This time she forced Cyr to make a save. The initial stages of the game were the MacBean show, as she did her best to find the opener.  

For the next ten minutes, Penn State tried to find a rhythm holding on to the ball and trying to lull Purdue to sleep.  

This almost worked for the Nittany Lions in the 18th minute, as MacBean took another shot from inside of the box that just missed over the net.  

Penn State had another shot this time, it was Ellie Wheeler taking her first of the game. The shot was from outside of the box, but it had a lot of power behind it and forced a fast reaction from Cyr.  

The first Nittany Lion change came in the 25th minute, as Damico came off for Amelia White. At this juncture, Purdue also made 3 changes looking for a change in momentum.  

Another Penn State substitution came with 17 minutes remaining in the half and saw Julia Raich move into the midfield for Natalie Wilson.  

In the 28th minute, Wilson was fouled to win Penn State a freekick from around 35 yards out. The ball was placed on the head of a diving Michela Agresti who tried to control the ball on the net but was unable to do so.  

In a half filled with substitutions, Penn State put more fresh legs on the field with 13 minutes to go, bringing on Rebecca Cooke and Riley Gleason for Michela Agresti and MacBean. 

The Boilermakers finally had another attack after a strong move up the left side of the field. The ball crossed into the box, but Penn State was able to clear it and turn good defense into offense. Amelia White used her speed to burst up the middle of the field and won a Penn State freekick with just 5 minutes to go in the half.  

With 46 seconds left on the clock, Penn State had an opportunity off a corner. It was taking excellently and Cooke corralled the ball on the net in what looked like a sure goal until a goal-line clearance from Purdue kept the game knotted up going into halftime.

Coming out of the halftime break, Dambach brought MacBean back into the game as she tried to get a goal for her side.  

Shortly after the start of the half the first yellow card came out as Abigail Boyd stopped the Penn State counterattack with a clumsy challenge. The second card was shown right after that in the 47th minute to Cori Dyke after she held onto a Purdue jersey to stop a move forward.  

Following the second yellow, the Boilermakers took control of the ball and had a few chances to break the deadlock. Penn State’s four defenders and two holding midfielders did not give anything out for free as they outnumbered the Purdue attack and took the ball back.  

Penn State had its first real chance in the second half off of a freekick from a bit outside the box. Eva Alonso took the kick and found two Nittany Lion attackers in the box but a good defensive play by Purdue led to a Penn State corner. This time Penn State was able to get a shot off, but Cyr, once again, made a nice save in the 55th minute. 

Gleason was brought on with 30 minutes to go in the match, replacing Mieke Schiemman. Following the substitution, a poor Penn State pass gave Purdue a wide-open opportunity from the penalty spot that only didn’t result in a goal thanks to Asman’s ability to take away angles.  

Cyrs continued her great game in the 63rd minute, taking the ball off Olivia Borgen’s head after a great cross into the 18-yard box.  

A third yellow card was shown to Purdue’s Kailey Kimball for kicking the ball away during a stoppage in play after she had already been warned about such actions in the first half.  

Penn State continued to barely miss its chances with 18 minutes left. MacBean won a corner for the Nittany Lions that resulted in Weisner hitting the post after somehow finding a way through the whole Purdue team.  

In the 77th minute, Schiemann came back onto the field adding some danger to Penn State’s set pieces. She replaced Agresti.  

With 11 minutes to go, White continued to be dangerous putting two very well-placed crosses through the middle of the field. No one was in position for the Nittany Lions and both times the ball rolled out of the box. 

In the 87th minute, Penn State had put pressure on for the last ten minutes and Purdue started playing desperately. MacBean ran after the ball in the box and was body-blocked by a Purdue defender. Originally, the referee blew the whistle for a penalty, but after going to the review board, he took it away and claimed it as fair play. 

In the final three minutes, Purdue parked the bus and cleared the ball down the field every chance they could. The game ended in a 0-0 draw as Penn State drew Purdue for just the third time in the matchup’s history.

Takeaways

  • Joint goals leader for the Nittany Lions, Payton Linnehan, did not play for Penn State and she was missed. Penn State needed an experienced finisher, as the story of the game was 22 shots and no goals for the Nittany Lions.
  • The speed of Purdue kept Penn State at bay, as the Nittany Lions had to respect the Boilermakers’ ability to counterattack despite holding less possession. Lauren Omholt was the standout player in this sense, as she dominated the attacks for Purdue and had excellent holdup play throughout.

What’s Next?

Penn State will extend its road trip with a visit to Evanston, Illinois, to face Northwestern on Sunday, October 15. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. and the match will be streamed on Big Ten Network.  

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About the Author

Collin Ward

Collin is a first-year majoring in digital/print journalism. Born in Hartford, he now lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As a die-hard Chelsea FC fan you can normally find him yelling at his TV screen each weekend. To reach him, follow him on Instagram: @cward829, or email him at [email protected].

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