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No. 5 Penn State Women’s Soccer Falls To Iowa 1-0 In Overtime In Big Ten Tournament Semifinal

No. 5 Penn State women’s soccer (13-2-4, 6-1-3 Big Ten) fell to Iowa (11-4-4, 4-4-3 Big Ten) 1-0 Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio, in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal.  

The first half was a chess match as both teams felt the other out. As the clock dwindled down on regular time it became clear it would only take one goal to win the Big Ten battle. This goal didn’t come in the first 90 minutes, so the match went to overtime. In the first of two 10-minute periods, Iowa broke the deadlock in the 95th minute and Kelli McGroarty buried an attempt in the bottom of the goal. Penn State couldn’t respond and fell out of the tournament.  

How It Happened

Head coach Erica Dambach made no changes to the starting lineup that beat Indiana on Sunday. The 4-4-2 formation that worked so well for Penn State at the beginning of the year was rolled out in the past two matches as the Nittany Lions had their eye on the Big Ten Tournament trophy.  

Penn State looked the more comfortable of the teams in the initial stages of the match. It saw more of the ball to start the match but produced no big opportunities in the first five minutes of play.

The first real chance for the Nittany Lions came in the 10th minute of play from a free kick taken by Cori Dyke. She found Kaitlyn Macbean just inside the box on a very well-placed cross. Macbean couldn’t get enough on the ball though and Iowa’s keeper, Macy Enneking, made her first save.  

The first yellow card was shown to Maggie Johnston of Iowa after taking down Olivia Borgen. The resulting free kick was in a similar spot to Dyke’s three minutes earlier. This time, the cross wasn’t as accurate, and it bounced to Enneking before it found a Nittany Lion player.  

Following the 13th-minute yellow card, the game slowed down. Neither team had a real chance on goal nor even scared the other team until the 22nd minute. The Hawkeyes passed the ball in the Penn State box where it rattled around for some time before being cleared by a Nittany Lion defender.  

With 16 minutes left in the first half, Iowa took its first shot on goal thanks to Johnston. She let the ball fly from almost 30 yards out and it was easily saved by Katherine Asman. This shot came directly after Iowa changed its formation to try to overload Penn State’s midfield. The Hawkeyes started with four defenders but transitioned to a three-back for the latter end of the first half. 

Iowa won its first corner of the game in the 41st minute. The ball was lifted high into the air and cleared out of the box. Eventually, it led to another Hawkeye corner kick. This time the delivery wasn’t great and the ball never made it into play resulting in an Asman free kick.  

The first half ended all tied up at zero. The Iowa formation adjustment proved to be hard to beat and limited the Nittany Lions’ offensive momentum.

The second half started the same way that the first half ended. Iowa continued to control the game and got its first chance in the 47th off a set piece from 25 yards out. The delivery was sub-par and the free kick amounted to nothing in the end.  

With 37 minutes to go in the second half, Dyke showed off her toughness after going down following a tackle on her ankle. Dyke was slow to get up at first but didn’t ask to be subbed off and got right back after it to help her team.  

The match continued to be slow as only one shot was taken in the second half before the 60th-minute mark. This shot was Iowa’s and came from outside of the box.  

Penn State was awarded its first corner in the 61st after a brilliant Kate Weisner run from her own half. She found Borgen just outside of the box before the ball was deflected out of bounds. The Nittany Lions didn’t take advantage of the opportunity as the ref called a foul on Borgen for being too aggressive ahead of the corner.  

Weisner had another big play for Penn State with 23 minutes remaining. She made a nice move just outside the box before she fired a shot that had to be blocked to the side by an Iowa defender.  

Penn State, now picking up its attacking prowess, found another opportunity in the 70th minute. Elle Kershner took the ball 35 yards from the goal and carried it until she found herself at the penalty spot. One extra touch led to her losing the ball, but the positive play had all of the Nittany Lions feeling more confident with 20 minutes to go in a must-win match. 

The Penn State momentum stopped in the 72nd minute when Mieke Schiemann went down. She walked off the field under her own power but did need to be taken out of the match. Michela Agresti came on in her place.  

Once again, Wiesner went on a terrific run to set up a Penn State chance. She made a nice move on the Iowa defender before crossing the ball in from the left flank. The ball was hit with a little too much power, and it glided over the net.  

Despite the lack of outcomes, Wiesner’s width in the second half continued to be the way through the stout Hawkeye defense with just 13 minutes left in regulation time.  

In the 79th minute, it was Amelia White’s turn to have a shot on goal. This time, it was off a counterattack following superb defense from the Nittany Lions. White found the ball on the edge of the box and beat her defender but couldn’t pick a side of the net, and Enneking maintained the scoreless stat sheet.  

Just two minutes, later Iowa rattled a ball off the crossbar, letting Penn State know it was still on the hunt for a win. As the time on the lock winded down, the pace of the game picked up as both teams spread out.  

The Nittany Lions were shown their first card in the 86th minute after Kershner went knee to knee with an opposing player. The subsequent free kick gave Iowa its best chance of the half as Kelli McGroarty got the ball in the 18-yard box and fired a shot on goal. Asman was up to the test and made an excellent save to keep the Nittany Lions in the game.  

This was the final big shot of the second half as the first two halves ended without a goal. The game went to overtime which was formatted as two 10-minute periods.  

Penn State started overtime off strong with opportunities just one minute in. Borgen made a nice move and forced a save from Enneking, winning the Nittany Lions a corner. Before the corner found a Penn State head, it was cleared by the Hawkeyes. 

Another grade-A chance came in the 93rd minute when a great ball from Gleason found the head of Macbean. Macbean couldn’t direct the ball far enough to the side, though, and Enneking made the save.  

In the fourth minute of overtime, it was Iowa’s turn to test the keeper. The initial shot from outside of the box hit off the crossbar, but the rebound couldn’t have fallen any better for McGroarty. McGroarty, with only Asman to beat, placed the ball in the bottom right corner giving the Hawkeyes the lead.  

Now, searching for the equalizer, Penn State moved Alonso up to more of an attacking role, leaving Dyke as the sole pivot. This change in formation didn’t have enough time to take effect in the first period of overtime as it ended 1-0 in favor of Iowa.  

From the 100th minute onward, it was all Penn State. Iowa was satisfied with a one-goal victory, so it cleared every ball it touched, allowing the Nittany Lions to play with it as much as they liked in the midfield.  

In the 103rd minute, Penn State was awarded a free kick just to the left of the box. Penn State loaded up everyone they could into the box. The free kick found Schiemann, but she couldn’t flick the ball on goal as it traveled wide.  

The final five minutes were no more successful for the Nittany Lions as they couldn’t find the back of the net to tie the game. Iowa’s 1-0 win knocked Penn State out of the Big Ten Tournament. 


  • Iowa switched its formation early in the second half, and Penn State was never able to deal with the extra midfielder deployed by the Hawkeyes. The low block Iowa used also proved to be very disciplined, and Penn State couldn’t break it down.
  • It only took one shot to win this match, so Penn State’s 10 shots to Iowa’s 14 could’ve been the difference in the match.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will now await the drawing of the NCAA Tournament where they will play their first match between November 10 and November 12. Penn State’s opposition, location, and time are all still to be determined. 

The NCAA Selection Show is slated for Monday, November 6.

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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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