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NCAAW: No. 2 Penn State battles No. 6 West Virginia to 1-1 draw

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Via Penn State University) – In front of a record crowd of 5,791 fans packed into Jeffrey Field, the No. 2 Penn State women’s soccer team battled the No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers to a 1-1 draw Friday night. Freshmen Amanda Dennis (San Diego, Calif.) and Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) made an impact in the 2016 season opener.

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“Obviously another electric atmosphere at Jeffrey Field, I think it was our largest crowd ever,” head coach Erica Dambach said. “Over 5,700 people showed up and you could feel the heartbeat of this place and why this is the best place in the country to play college soccer. West Virginia is always a great team and it’s a great rivalry which certainly didn’t disappoint tonight. The crowd came out for a good match and that’s exactly what they got.”

The No. 2 Nittany Lions (0-0-1) and No. 6 Mountaineers (0-0-1) battled during the first 45 minutes of play as both teams recorded five shot attempts apiece. In her Nittany Lion debut, Dennis tallied four saves in the opening frame, including a pair of key saves during the 18th minute of play.

WVU’s Sh’Nia Gordon received a through ball from near midfield and fired a shot on a one-on-one with Dennis, but Dennis was there for the stop, but was not out of danger yet. Seventeen seconds later, Michaela Abam took aim on net with her shot attempt, but Dennis was there once again for her third save of the night.

After taking to the field for the first time during the 31st minute, Freigang played the final 14 minutes of the first frame and following the break, she netted the Nittany Lions’ lone goal of the night on her first career shot attempt.

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Near midfield, Salina Williford (Wayne, Pa.) played the ball up field to Nickolette Driesse (Wayne, N.J.), who went to play the ball, but it deflected off a WVU defender and to the feet of Freigang. With the ball outside of the WVU penalty area, Freigang moved up field before placing the ball off the left post and into the back of the net for the 1-0 tally during the 51st minute of play.

The Nittany Lions held their 1-0 lead until the 77th minute when Abam found the back of the net from left side of the penalty area from six yards out. Heading into tonight’s game the Nittany Lion defense posted eight-straight shutouts to close out the 2015 season.

With the clock winding down during the final minutes of regulation, both squads battled looking for the go-ahead goal, but neither team was able to find the back of the net sending the contest into extra time tied at one goal apiece.

The Nittany Lion offense peppered the West Virginia defense down the final stretch of the first overtime period with four shot attempts. West Virginia keeper Rylee Foster made three of her nine saves on the night in the final minutes of the first extra period. The second period of overtime featured a pair of shot attempts by the Nittany Lions and one shot attempt by the Mountaineers, but none on target for either side.

The No. 2 Nittany Lions close out the 2016 Penn State Invitational Sunday at 2:30 p.m. against Hofstra.

NOTES: The Penn State women’s soccer team played in front of 5,791 fans, which is a program-best at Jeffrey Field…The previous record of 5,117 was set on Aug. 24, 2012, against the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal…The Nittany Lions are now 18-2-3 in home openers…The Nittany Lions are now 399-103-30 all-time…Since the start of the 2005 season, the Nittany Lions have battled in a top-10 showdown eight times at Jeffrey Field…Penn State is now 215-24-11 all-time at Jeffrey Field…With WVU’s goal at 76:59, the Nittany Lions scoreless shutout streak of 810:31 is over…PSU’s streak of 810:31 is the second-best in program history only to 1032:33 set back in 2004…Penn State leads the all-time series over WVU, 7-6-2.

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