Penn State reaches Women’s College Cup Final with 2-0 win over Rutgers
CARY, N.C. (Via Penn State University) – The No. 6 Penn State women’s soccer team defeated No. 9 Rutgers, 2-0, Friday night at WakeMed Soccer Park to advance to the College Cup Final for the second time in the last four seasons (2012). For the seventh-straight match and the 14th time this season the Nittany Lion defense held the opposition off the scoreboard.
“First, I just want to start off by congratulating Rutgers on an incredible performance,” head coach Erica Walsh said. “I thought that defensively, their game plan gave us everything that we could handle. They did a really good job of slowing down our attack, creating problems for us to solve for too many portions of the game that we did have a hard time solving. The overall discipline in that team is obviously the reason why they are here. I just really impressed with their performance overall. Also, I want to say congratulations to our team. Another shutout and another goal off of set pieces, which are too things we have been focusing on so much over the last few weeks. Obviously, it took a group of 26 players to get here and we had some good players coming off the bench. Just a really strong performance from our group.”
The Nittany Lions (21-3-2) took advantage of their first shot attempt of the night, as both defenses did not allow a shot attempt until the 24th minute.
Sophomore Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.) capitalized on a Rutgers miscue and fired a shot on goal over Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Casey Murphy, for the 1-0 lead in the 24th minute of play.
A Rutgers defender (19-4-3) went to play the ball back to another member of the RU defense, but a charging Crouse intercepted the pass and shot the ball on goal. Crouse’s shot was from just inside the penalty area near the right side and was placed over the out-stretched Murphy and under the crossbar. Her goal Friday is the 11th of her sophomore season.
Throughout the first half, both defenses made key stops on the opposing offenses, as both teams combined for four combined shot attempts in the first 45 minutes of play.
With Rutgers attacking in the final minutes of the first half, the Nittany Lion defense blocked a pair of shots in the 44th minute to preserve the 1-0 lead heading into intermission.
During the final 45 minutes of action the Nittany Lion offense opened up, tallying 10 shot attempts. Murphy made three saves on the Nittany Lions in the second half.
The Nittany Lions came inches from doubling the lead in the 65th minute on a shot attempt from senior Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.). Weber received a pass in the penalty area and beat Murphy, but her shot from the six yards out hit the left post and bounced back into the hands of Murphy.
The swarming Nittany Lion defense did not allow a shot on goal until the 74th minute when Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) made her lone save of the night.
Five minutes later Penn State scored its second goal of the night.
After a Nittany Lion corner kick from Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio), the RU defense was unable to clear the ball from its own penalty area and freshman Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) netted her first goal as a Nittany Lion.
In the 79th minute, Riehl corralled the loose ball just outside the RU penalty area and buried a left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area into the bottom-left corner of the net past the diving Murphy for the 2-0 mark. Her goal Friday night was the first of her career and came off her second career shot attempt.
Overall, Penn State outshot Rutgers, 12-5, and posted a margin of 5-to-1 in shots on goal.
Penn State will play No. 20 Duke Sunday, Dec. 6, at noon live on ESPNU.
NOTES: The Nittany Lions have scored a program-record 19 goals in the 2015 NCAA Tournament (17 – 2005) … Penn State hasn’t allowed a goal since the 77th minute of the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 1 (Illinois) … Penn State improves to 17-0-0 when leading at halftime, 20-0-0 when scoring the first goal, 19-0-2 when out-shooting the opposition, 18-0-0 when scoring two goals or more, 13-2-1 against the Big Ten, 8-0-0 when a freshman scores, 13-0-1 when allowing zero goals … Penn State has not conceded a goal in the 2015 NCAA Tournament … Friday’s win is No. 398 for Penn State women’s soccer program … Penn State leads the all-time series 9-5-1 against Rutgers … Penn State leads Rutgers, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament … Career win No. 196 for Coach Walsh and her 22nd victory in the NCAA Tournament … Sixth time this season Penn State has held an opponent to one shot on goal or less … The 14 shutouts by the Nittany Lions in 2015 is tied for third all-time in the Penn State record books (2011) … Penn State has recorded 21 wins for the eighth time in program history and for the first time since 2012 … Penn State has outscored the opposition 150-70 in 66 NCAA Tournament matches … Penn State owns a record of 45-19-2 in the NCAA Tournament … The 2015 College Cup Final appearance by the Nittany Lions marks the third time a Big Ten team has advanced to the final … Emily Ogle has started all 50 matches of her career … Penn State improves to 5-0-0 in rematches this season.