Women’s Soccer: Northwestern falls on the road to Penn State 3-1


Andrew Golden, Sports Editor

Women’s Soccer

In Northwestern four matchups prior to Sunday’s contest against Penn State, the Wildcats’ opponents had been the first to score — and Sunday was no different.

Less than five minutes into the game, the Nittany Lions got on board after a goal by Payton Linnehan. In the previous four games, NU fought back to tie the game in three of them. But in University Park, Pennsylvania, the Nittany Lions (11-6-1, 7-3-0 Big Ten) scored another goal in the first half and eventually beat the Cats (5-8-3, 3-4-2 Big Ten) 3-1.

“They’re a really difficult team to play, probably the most experienced team in the Big Ten” coach Michael Moynihan said. “We got into an early hole and that doesn’t help against a good team.”

Moynihan said the team opted for a tactical change, hoping to bottle up Penn State’s stars offensively and win the game through counterattacking. But NU didn’t execute the game plan the way that Moynihan wanted.

Penn State only need two shots to get on the board. Linehan flew past the Cats backline of defenders, receiving a perfect ball from midfielder Sam Coffey. She kicked the ball right over the outstretched hands of sophomore goalie Mackenzie Wood, leaving NU in the early hole.

Despite being ahead, the Nittany Lions continued to be the aggressors, taking six more shots before Linnehan added her second goal on a corner kick. By the end of the first half, Penn State took 10 shots while the Cats failed to register one during the first 45 minutes.

But that wouldn’t last for long. Just 19 seconds into the second half, graduate midfielder Olivia Korhonen sent a cross into the box where junior midfielder Regan Steigleder was waiting and headed it into the bottom left corner of the net to give NU a glimmer of hope.

Unfortunately, that shot was the only one that the Cats took all game. NU was outshot 19-1 for the whole game and Penn State constantly put pressure on the NU defense to make stops throughout the game.

“We started off the game timid and by that I mean we played like that for most of the game,” Steigleder said. “We came in a lot better in the second half, but we kinda dropped off.”

Moynihan said he was particularly disappointed in the fact that two of the three goals given up were on corner kicks.

The Cats are currently sitting tied for seventh in the conference standings with two games remaining before the Big Ten Tournament. In order to move up in the standings, Moynihan said the team needs to be more aggressive, something that the team did in spurts throughout the game.

“The last two games, we have not executed our tactics very well which puts us in a mode where we’re chasing, ” Moynihan said. “Whenever you’re chasing it’s hard to assert yourselves.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @andrewcgolden