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Penn State Women’s Soccer Knocks Off Illinois In Controlling 2-0 Victory

Penn State women’s soccer (2-1-0) took down Illinois (2-1-0) 2-0 in Champaign Sunday afternoon.

After gaining an early one-score lead behind a Sam Coffey strike less than four minutes into the match, the Nittany Lions were propelled to the shutout victory by stout defense behind excellent goalkeeping, despite losing the total shot battle.

How It Happened

Penn State began the match in dominant fashion on the offensive end, as midfielders Jordan Canniff and Eva Alonso were vital in maintaining possession on the attacking end of the field.

On the Nittany Lions’ first registered shot on goal, senior Sam Coffey drilled the left corner of the net on a beautifully centered pass from Payton Linnehan to capture an early 1-0 lead. Coffey, the nation’s active leader in points and assists, tallied her second goal of the campaign on the strike.

Stout play from several Nittany Lion defenders proved to be key in keeping the talented Illinois attack helpless in the zone. Early in the first half, Illinois drove a corner kick into the opposing box, creating a defensive breakdown on Penn State’s end. Despite the favorable position, Cori Dyke was able to clear the ball to opposing end of the field for Erica Dambach’s unit to conclude the scoring chance.

Despite possessing limited goal-scoring opportunities following the Coffey boot, Frankie Tagliaferri continued to pester the Illini backline by setting her teammates with a flurry of crosses, but none of which led to a true, quality look on net. At the 31-minute mark, she fired back with a fiery attempt of her own, but defender Kendra Pasquale was able to stave off the chance with a quick re-direct.

To begin the second half, Illinois midfielder Hope Breslin pushed the pace by delivering a sharp stutter-step move followed by a high sailing shot attempt directly on goal. In a last-ditch effort, goalkeeper Katherine Asman punched the ball above the net to keep the Nittany Lions squarely in the driver’s seat.

Minutes later, Tagliaferri’s persistence on the offensive side of the field finally paid off, as the star-studded senior scored on a breakaway attempt just outside of the penalty area to take a 2-0 advantage. The conversion for the New Jersey native consisted as her first goal of the season and the eighteenth of her illustrious career.

After trading shots on goal late in the match, Coffey was awarded a penalty kick after picking up a blatant foul call deep in Illinois territory. The senior’s attempt nicked the left post after keeper Sami Sample made a fantastic save to keep the deficit within two scores for her dwindling group.

In the match’s closing minutes, Penn State held steady by controlling the ball without giving up ground to the eager Illinois offense. After a steady half consisting of five shots for each team respectively, the Nittany Lions ended their opening three-game road stretch with a 2-0 bang.

Player Of The Match

Katherine Asman | Goalkeeper | Redshirt Sophomore

The steady net presence carried the staunch Nittany Lion defense to its first shoutout performance of the season Sunday afternoon. After giving up four goals in her first two outputs, the sophomore garnered five saves on six shots on goal in the contest.

What’s Next

Penn State will open a two-game home stand beginning on Thursday, March 4, against Indiana. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. and will air live on BTN+.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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