Penn State Women’s Soccer Dominates Central Connecticut State 7-0 In Opening Round Of NCAA Tournament
Penn State women’s soccer (14-2-4, 6-1-3 Big Ten) dominated Central Connecticut State (10-5-5, 7-0-3 Northeast) 7-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State came out in fire, and Payton Linnehan led the attack and secured an early hat trick. The offense had itself a night, easily connecting time and time again in a strong showing. It bullied the Blue Devils all game long with an easy night on defense. Katherine Asman recorded the one and only save for Penn State through the 90 minutes.
How It Happened
Penn State wasted no time to get on the attack and Olivia Borgen quickly nutmegged the Blue Devils in the box in the first minute of play. It hit the back of the net in the third minute, but Kaitlyn MacBean was called offsides and the goal was disallowed.
Just three minutes later, the Nittany Lions were back on the board. Kaelyn Wolfe served Payton Linnehan a perfect ball to blast above goalkepper Melinda Ford’s head to put Penn State up 1-0 in the sixth minute.
Buckle up, Penn State. pic.twitter.com/uCAa2Otw84— Onward Sports (@OnwardStSports) November 10, 2023
One early goal wasn’t enough for Penn State, and Linnehan secured her brace in the ninth minute. Penn State won a corner, and Cori Dyke connected with Linnehan in the box who put a screamer into the back of the net.
The corner kicks kept coming for Penn State as it won four in the first 20 minutes and dominated the opening attack with eight shots.
The Nittany Lions found another breakthrough in the 25th minute as MacBean’s shot was blocked by Ford, and Linnehan tapped in the rebound for a first half hat trick.
Penn State’s defense was untested, and started to join the attack. It won a free kick, and Dyke soared it into the box for Mieke Schiemann, who beat the Blue Devils’ defense and hit it into the back of the net in the 32nd minute.
Central Connecticut State’s attack picked up in the last 10 minutes of the half, and it sent threatening balls into the box, forcing Katherine Asman to come out of net. Asman punched it off out the box and Rebecca Cooke got the ball, going on a quick counterattack. She set up her shot but was taken down in the box, winning a penalty kick for Penn State.
Dyke stepped up as captain to take the kick, calmly lobbing it into the right side of the net in the 36th.
The Blue Devils had another short-lived attack in the final five minute of the half, breaking into the box. Dyke had a superb sliding tackle to cut off a shot, and Penn State resumed its offensive attack with a close shot from Natalie Wilson.
Penn State ended the first half with a commanding 5-0 lead after 14 shots.
The Nittany Lions returned from halftime with Mackenzie Gress in net and wasted no time resuming its attack. They broke into the box, but the Blue Devils took down Cooke, giving up another penalty kick.
Elle Kershner stepped up to take but her shot was blocked by Ford. Julia Raich ran in and sent the rebound across the goal line to score Penn State’s sixth goal of the game in the 49th.
Kershner was hungry for more assists, sending the ball high into the box for Cooke to connect and score in the top left corner just three minutes later.
Amelia White sent a curling shot at net, missing by centimers and instead hitting the inside post. She won Penn State a corner kick and a flurry of through balls and shots occured but no breakthrough was able to come from that momentum.
The Blue Devils got their first shot on goal in the half in the 65th minute, but posed no real threat to Asman.
Action slowed down, and Penn State maintained control of the game, settling into a relaxed pace. It put in its third goalkeeper of the game with Amanda Poorbaugh coming in for Gress.
Penn State continued to shoot and make runs, but its slower build up and rotation made it hard to find another breakthrough. It parked the bus, making no unnecessary plays to dwindle time.
With a minute left, the Nittany Lions went on a quick counter and forced a save to win a corner kick.
The final whistle blew and the game ended 7-0 for Penn State, finishing the night with 29 shots.
- Payton Linnehan was the star of the first half, taking just 20 minutes to score a hat trick. She was the powerhouse for the opening momentum, and the pieces all fell into place after her performance.
- With such a commanding lead, Penn State was able to heavily rotate players tonight. Eighteen players hit the field, and all three goalkeepers got playing time. It was a bright look to the future of this Penn State team and a needed rest for the starters ahead of the second round.
- It’s hard to think of anything that can compare to the beauty of Penn State’s attack. The team moves together seamlessly, always able to connect. With 29 shots on the night, there was nothing holding it back.
The Nittany Lions will move onto the second round of the NCAA Tournament and take on the winner of Arizona State—Santa Clara on Friday, November 17.
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About the Author
Kotelnicki would be James Franklin’s sixth offensive coordinator at Penn State.
The Nittany Lions are now 11-0 all time against the Bulldogs.
The Blue-White Game returned to its traditional format in 2023.