Penn State captures Women’s College Cup title 1-0 over Duke
CARY, N.C. – The Penn State women’s soccer team defeated Duke, 1-0, en route to its first-ever National Championship Sunday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park. The Nittany Lions tallied their eighth-straight shutout and 15th overall on the season. Senior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) tallied her sixth goal of the season in the 72nd minute.
“When you get to a National Championship game obviously you never expect it to be easy, but I thought that Duke gave us absolutely everything we could handle today,” head coach Erica Walshsaid. “They came out in the first 20 minutes with the crowd behind them. They put us on our back foot and we had to struggle through that time and could not quite find our rhythm. Once we got past that time I really felt like we got back on top of the game. That is an extremely good Duke team that we were able to beat today. Congratulations to Robbie Church and his program. He runs a tremendous program.”
Penn State (22-3-2) posted four shot attempts in the first half, including a pair of shots from senior Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.). Weber’s first shot attempt in the 13th minute, from the right side of the penalty area, was by saved EJ Proctor and 11 minutes later, her shot from six yards out was corralled by Proctor to keep the Nittany Lions off the scoreboard.
Senior goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) made her lone save of the first half on Toni Payne’s shot attempt in the 30th minute. A minute later, Imani Dorsey tallied a shot from the right side of the field that hit the top of the crossbar and bounced out of play.
Proctor stepped up for her final save of the first half on a Rodriguez header in the 38th minute. Off a Nittany Lion corner kick, Rodriguez headed the ball on goal, but Proctor was there to keep the Nittany Lions off the board.
Heading into halftime, Duke (14-6-5) outshot Penn State, 6-4 with Penn State leading 3-1 in shots on goal.
The Duke defense stepped up to block a pair of Nittany Lion shots in the 60th minute. Two minutes later, Proctor tallied another save on the day, as Nickolette Driesse (Wayne, N.J.) fired a shot on goal.
Ten minutes later, it was time for the seniors to etch their name in Nittany Lion history.
After a Blue Devil turnover in their own side of the field, Weber crossed the ball from the right side of the penalty area to Rodriguez on the left side of the penalty area. Then Rodriguez evaded a pair of Blue Devil defenders and fired a left footed-shot past Proctor into the bottom-right corner of the net for the 1-0 Nittany Lion tally.
With the Blue Devils down, Duke picked up the pace looking for the game-tying goal. Two minutes after the Rodriguez goal, Eckerstrom made her second save of the day on Kayla McCoy keeping the 1-0 lead intact.
During the final 10 minutes of the match, Duke tallied three shot attempts, but only one was on goal. Eckerstrom made her third, and final, save of the match in the 84th minute on Malinda Allen.
With the clock winding down in the match, Allen posted another shot in the 87th minute, but her header went high and with less than a minute left in regulation the Nittany Lion defense blocked Casey Martinez’ shot attempt.
Under 10 seconds left in regulation Duke was called for offsides and the Nittany Lions were moments away from history.
Rodriguez’ strike Sunday was her ninth career game-winning goal and will go down in Penn State women’s soccer history.
Overall, shots were tied at 11, with Penn State tallying a margin of 5-3 in shots on goal.
Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.), Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio), Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.), Rodriguez and Weber were named to the College Cup All-Tournament team. Rodriguez was also named the Most Outstanding Player on Offense of the 2015 College Cup.
NOTES: Penn State posted a scoring margin of 20-0 in the 2015 NCAA Tournament … First-ever Big Ten team to win the NCAA women’s soccer championship … Emily Ogle has started all 51 matches of her Nittany Lion career … Mallory Weber played in her 100th game Sunday … Penn State improves to 6-4-1 in neutral site matches … In 67 NCAA Tournament matches, the Nittany Lions have a record of 46-19-2 … Penn State has outscored the opposition 151-70 in those 67 matches … Penn State scored a program-record 20 goals in the NCAA Tournament … Penn State improves to 6-0-0 in rematches this season … In the final 23 matches of the season, Penn State held the opposition to one goal or less … On the year the Nittany Lion underclassmen scored 46 of the 64 goals. … Six Nittany Lions started all 27 matches … Penn State posted 22 wins which is tied for second all-time at PSU and it was the first time since 2005 … The win Sunday was No. 399 for the program … Coach Walsh tallied win No. 197 and No. 23 in the NCAA Tournament … Britt Eckerstrom tied Erin McLeod for wins in a season (22 – 2005) … Britt Eckerstrom won her 61st match, which is second-best in program history … Penn State improves to 4-1-1 against Duke all-time and 2-0-0 in the NCAA Tournament … Penn State finished the 2015 season with a record of 21-0-0 when scoring first, 6-2-1 against ranked opponents, 14-0-1 when allowing zero goals and 7-3-0 in one-goal games … The Nittany Lions did not allow a goal over the final 733:32 of the season … During that span, Eckerstrom played all but 19:23 in net for the Blue and White … The 194 points tallied this season ranks seventh all-time in program history … The Nittany Lions tallied 66 assists which ranks third all-time at PSU … Penn State posted 64 goals which ranks seventh all-time at PSU … PSU recorded 204 shots on goal which ranks fifth at PSU … PSU tallied a goals against average of .51 which ranks third all-time at PSU … Penn State’s .837 save percentage ranks sixth at PSU … Penn State’s 15 shutouts rank tied for second all-time (2004) … The school record for shutouts in season is 17 … Penn State tied the school record for games played (27) … Nickolette Driesse won a national championship with Florida State in 2014 and with Penn State in 2015 … Megan Schafer scored six game-winning goals in 2015 which ranks tied for eighth in a single season … Mallory Weber’s 11 assists in 2015 is tied for 10th all-time … Britt Eckerstrom tied the school record for wins in a season (22 – Erin McLeod – 2005) … Raquel Rodriguez finishes her career with 74 points – tied for 16th … Rodriguez tied her ninth career game-winning goal – tied for 15th … Rodriguez finishes tied for eighth in assists all-time at PSU (28) … Weber moves into a tie for sixth all-time at PSU with 29 assists … Eckerstrom finishes fourth all-time at PSU with 255 saves … Eckerstrom ranks third all-time in GAA (.80) … Eckerstrom finished her career with a record of 61-14-3 … Her 61 wins ranks second all-time at PSU … Mallory Weber is one of seven Nittany Lions to eclipse the century mark in games played (T-5th – Whitney Church and Emily Oleksiuk) … Eckerstrom’s 24 solo shutouts rank fourth all-time at PSU … Eckerstrom’s 77 starts ranks third all-time at PSU … All-time in minutes played, – Eckerstrom (6,966) – 8th, Rodriguez (6,829) – 10th and Weber (6,708) – 11th … Weber finishes her Nittany Lion career with 101 points (36 goals, 29 assists) … Weber’s 36 goals ranks 10th all-time at PSU … Rodriguez’ 23 goals ranks 18th all-time at PSU … Frannie Crouse ranks T-19th all-time at PSU with 21 goals … Frannie Crouse, Emily Ogle, Kaleigh Riehl, Rodriguez and Weber join Christie Welsh, Joanna Lohman and Erin McLeod as the only Nittany Lions named to the College Cup All-Tournament team in program history … Rodriguez is the first Nittany Lion to be named the Most Outstanding Player on Offense of a College Cup … Ten players scored 20 Nittany Lion goals in the 2015 NCAA Tournament … Seventeen of the 20 goals in the 2015 NCAA Tournament were from underclassmen.