All-around talent has allowed Penn State women’s soccer to have new players step up each week regardless of circumstance.
The No. 8 Nittany Lions (5-1) were able to dominate Pitt (4-3) in a 3-0 shutout on Sunday. The Lion offense was in control from start to finish with 6 shots on goal.
No time was wasted by the offense, as senior Maddy Evans scored quickly off of a Tani Costa assist in the seventh minute. Costa followed with a goal of her own in the half, blasting one to the right corner from 20 yards out.
“During the scout before the game they really wanted to emphasize everybody’s strengths,” Costa said. “I was able to pull out a couple of opportunities and Maddy was able to capitalize. I think our level of focus really worked for us.”
Senior Christine Nairn was able to continue on her early-season hot streak netting a goal in the 48th minute. Nairn has started this season on quite a roll with seven goals and four assists in six games. She kicked the game-winning goal in Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory over West Virginia
“She’s just getting better every game right now on the field as a leader,” head coach Erica Walsh said. “She’s determined to drive the team this year.”
A depleted Penn State defense was able to stifle a weaker Pittsburgh offense that only has nine goals in seven matches so far this season and has been shut out three times already.
Penn State is missing starters freshman Raquel Rodriguez and junior Bri Hovington. Rodriguez competed for the Costa Rican national team this weekend and did not travel with the team. Hovington injured her neck against West Virginia when she got hit while in the air. Though she was not able to play against Pitt it does not seem as if her injury will be long-term.
Sophomores Whit Church and Kori Chapic, along with redshirt senior Bri Garcia, led the defensive charge for the Lions, though Pitt was able to attempt 10 shots and only four of those shots were on goal.
“Whit Church and Garcia were the two that held down the fort all weekend,” Walsh said. “We also got a lot of Kindrah Kohne she went in for Raquel and was physical and just very aggressive.”
The Lions will likely move up in the rankings after an impressive 2-0 weekend. Even with the team running on all cylinders early this season, Walsh emphasized that the team has several areas of focus as the team travels to BYU for a Saturday contest.
“We needed to be more dominant in the air than we were this weekend,” Walsh said. “We need to continue to focus on our set patience, and we need to be more effective in the box.”