No Chance for Illinois

No Chance for Illinois

On Sunday afternoon, the Penn State Women’s Soccer team celebrated Senior Day as they hosted the Illinois Fighting Illini. Ranked No. 17 in national polls, and coming off a big win against Ohio State, Penn State was roaring from the kickoff. Although Penn State beat Illinois 4-0 during the regular season last year, the Fighting Illini defeated the Nittany Lions 1-0 in the semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten tournament.

The energy and intensity of Penn State in today’s matchup was evidenced by 2 goals from Penn State sophomore Raquel Rodriguez in the first 15 minutes. Her first goal came just 8 minutes into the match via a through ball from Taylor Schram. The second came from just outside the box as Raquel responded to Taylor Schram’s rebounded shot. The pair of goals signified Rodriguez’s first multi-goal game of her Penn State career. The Penn State sophomore wasn’t the only player hungry for the back of the net. Indeed, Penn State senior Tani Costa improved Penn State’s lead to 3-0 in the 31st minute as she scored a goal of her own from 12 yards out. Another Penn State senior, Emily Carrollo, almost tucked away another goal on this special day for seniors, but Illinois keeper Claire Wheatly posted the save in the last minute of the half.

Already ahead 3-0, the second half was just as favorable for Penn State. About 2 minutes in to the half, Penn State’s Mallory Weber slid the ball past the Illinois keeper off an assist from freshman Brittany Basinger. Just minutes later, Weber returned the favor by penetrating toward the net and assisting senior Maya Hayes on her first goal of the game (and 16th of the season!). Though Illinois earned a few offensive chances of their own, Penn State held strong and dominated the field, leaving no hope for Illinois to catch up. Penn State keeper, Britt Eckerstrom, was resilient in net posting a number of tough saves. Thirteen minutes in, Maya Hayes almost earned her second goal, but Illinois deflected the shot, keeping the score at 5-0 for the remainder of the game.

For fans, players, families, and especially the Penn State Seniors, Sunday’s win over Illinois was certainly a game to remember. Penn State’s upcoming road games will kickoff in Iowa City on Friday, October 25, as the Nittany Lions take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at 8 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Penn State's WSOC Twitter page. Photo courtesy of Penn State's WSOC Twitter page.