Bouncing Back for the Win
Although Penn State found themselves down early in the game, they demonstrated resilience and came back strong in the remainder of the half. Excellent penetration from Bri Hovington (23) through the Northwestern defensive line created opportunities for the Nittany Lions on the attack. Soon after, Maya Hayes (5) executed a beautiful flick behind her back, setting up a shot for Mallory Weber (16). About midway through the first half, senior Taylor Schram (19) drew a pair of fouls that earned Penn State two free kicks. Neither opportunity earned the Lions the goal they were looking for. Later in the half, a give-and-go between Hovington (23) and Weber (16) instilled hope for a goal, but the Northwestern goalkeeper held her own with the save.
Late in the half, Emily Hurd (3) crossed the ball from the left side of the field but no one able to capitalize on the opportunity. With only 5 minutes left in half, a pass from Northwestern’s Kate Allen (17) to Georgia Waddle (15) almost resulted in a goal, but was shot wide of the left post. Although they kept Northwestern at just one goal, Penn State did not get the equalizer they were hoping for going into half time.
The second half of the game proved to be more exciting, with numerous scoring opportunities that resulted in some goals. Five minutes in, Penn State keeper Britt Eckerstrom made an outstanding save off a Northwestern free kick, keeping the Wildcats at just one goal. Connections between Hayes, Weber, and Schram were indicative of the offensive success to come. Multiple shots from Penn State’s Taylor Schram (19) and a header from junior Kori Chapic built the anticipation. But with 12 minutes left in the game, Northwestern senior Kate Allen (17) earned her second goal for the night with an incredible shot from just inside the 18 yard box.
Despite being down 0-2, Penn State was quick to bounce back with a header goal from junior Whitney Church (17) off a corner kick. Penn State wasn’t going to stop there! With 6 minutes left in the game, senior Maya Hayes (5) strategically tapped the ball behind the keeper tying the game 2-2. Penn State almost pulled ahead when junior Kori Chapic (14) sent a beautiful long ball up to Schram (19) who attempted a header into the net. The momentum was in Penn State’s favor as they headed into overtime (and double overtime). Indeed, with just over 3 minutes left in the second overtime, Penn State pulled through with another goal from Whitney Church (17) about 20 yards out.
Despite digging themselves into a 0-2 hole, Penn State’s persistence, dedication, momentum, and heart carried them through until the very end. Emerging with a 3-2 win, this was an important game for Penn State, its first of the Big 10 season. Next up: the Purdue Boilermakers on September 26 at 7 p.m. back at Jeffry Field.