Penn State Women, Men Earn Soccer Victories
No. 11 Penn State defeated No. 13 Wisconsin, 2-1, in its Big Ten Conference women's soccer opener Sunday at Jeffrey Field.
The 14-time conference champion Nittany Lions (6-2-0, 1-0-0) led the entire game and snapped a three-year winless streak against the Badgers.
Junior Maya Hayes also made her return after spending time in Japan playing for the Under-20 United States national team and winning the World Cup over Germany earlier this month.
In the final minute of the first half, freshman Raquel Rodriguez scored with an assist by Whitney Church, giving the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.
Hayes scored with 42:24 left in the second half, putting Penn State up 2-0. It was her first goal of the season and her first career goal against Wisconsin.
"It’s an honor to play with her. Maya Hayes is a big name," Rodriguez said.
Wisconsin's Lexi Peterson scored with nine minutes to go, but that would not be enough as the Lions hung on for the victory. Penn State outshot Wisconsin, 19-14.
Penn State welcomed back its alumni for the game. Former players were in the stands cheering on their alma mater and were recognized at halftime.
"We were able to achieve this victory because of the players that have been here before," Rodriguez said.
The first half was evenly played against a physical Wisconsin team, head coach Erica Walsh said.
"Because we like to play and keep the ball, eventually our opponents wear down and because we can possess the ball, in my opinion as well as anybody right now, eventually they’re going to tire and when we figure out when that moment is we have to have a killer instinct," Walsh said.
"I thought today was a statement. It was a statement to the Big Ten and to ourselves that we’ve taken on a number of injuries. My statement to (the team) is you can kick us and you can take a player here and there, but the next one is just going to come in."
Penn State men blank Adelphi
The men's soccer team continued its winning ways at home, downing Adelphi, 3-0, at Jeffrey Field Sunday.
Mikey Minutillo, Daniel Burnham and Kelton Cheney each netted a goal for the Nittany Lions (5-1-1).