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Penn State Women’s Soccer Falls to No. 3 Stanford in Season Opener

by on August 24, 2019 2:20 PM

No. 6 Penn State women’s soccer (0-1-0) failed to open its season with a win against No. 3 Stanford (1-0-0) Friday night, falling 2-1 in a tightly contested match.

Despite the result, Friday’s match yielded several positives for head coach Erica Dambach’s squad. They played in front of 5,238 fans — the second most in Jeffrey Field history.

“I had goosebumps when this game started,” Dambach said. “This was the place to be in college soccer.”

But most importantly for Penn State’s season outlook, Friday’s match saw solid performances from several new talents, including Sam Coffey, goalscorer Kate Wiesner, Payton Linnehan, and Cori Dyke.

How It Happened

Several exciting new members of Erica Dambach’s squad made their starting debuts Friday evening. Freshmen Kate Wiesner and Cori Dyke started for Nittany Lions at left back and center midfield, respectively. Hermann trophy semifinalist Sam Coffey, who transferred to Happy Valley after several successful seasons with Boston College, started in attacking midfield alongside freshman winger Payton Linnehan.

Linnehan, playing on the right side of Dambach’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, nearly converted the match’s first chance. Her chipped shot was just slightly under hit, and Cardinal goalkeeper Lauren Rood was able to collect the ball easily.

Despite attacking sparks from combinations between Frankie Tagliaferri and Coffey, Stanford settled into a rhythm of possession and struck first through MAC Hermann Trophy winner Catarina Macario. The midfielder collected the ball in the Penn State penalty area surrounded by four defenders, took several touches, and curled an unstoppable shot into the upper-right corner of the net past a frozen Amanda Dennis.

Penn State continued to press the Cardinal after conceding, and last-ditch tackles from centre backs Kaleigh Riehl and Laura Suero kept the Nittany Lions from going two behind. Rood was tested by shots from Shea Moyer and Coffey, but it was Wiesner who finally leveled the score.

Collecting the ball on the left side of the field, the No. 1 recruit of college soccer’s 2019 recruiting class dragged Stanford’s backline across the center of the field and finished the opposite way, placing a low shot under Rood’s outstretched glove.

 

Solid defending from Riehl and Dennis held the score level, and the Nittany Lions entered halftime deadlocked with the Cardinal at 1-1.

But the deadlock was short-lived — Macario cut in from the right side in the 49th minute and curled a shot past Dennis once again to give the Cardinal a 2-1 lead.

 

Spells of possession and several solid saves from Dennis dominated the next ten minutes, culminating when Coffey had a goal called back for offside in the 66th minute.

Stanford put the Nittany Lion backline under pressure in the final 20 minutes of the match, forcing Suero and right back Ellie Jean to make several last-ditch tackles.

Ally Schlegel came close to converting a Coffey cross, but Rood pounced on the ball before the freshmen could finish. Late efforts from Tagliaferri and Coffey failed to hit the mark, and the Cardinal secured a 2-1 win.

Player of the Match

Catarina Macario| Junior | Attacking Midfielder

Macario was unstoppable against the Nittany Lions, making the most of her chances against a backline that played well despite the scoreline. Her first goal, a curled finish in traffic, may have already set the bar for goal-of-the-season candidates.

What’s Next?

Penn State faces Hofstra at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Jeffrey Field.



Jim Davidson is a Penn State student and Onward State contributor.
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