This season has been all about progression for junior Taylor Schram.
From working back into the Penn State lineup, to fitting in the flow of the offense, to getting consistent minutes, Schram has had to wait patiently for her time in the spotlight.
The wait ended for Schram on Sunday, in her third game back after suffering from concussion symptoms, she found the net for the first time this season.
“I feel like I’m just running off pure adrenaline right now, happy to be back on the field with my teammates,” Schram said. “I’m just running as hard as I can and giving everything I have.”
Redshirt sophomore Emily Hurd found Schram open in the middle and the forward drilled a goal to the bottom left corner to put the No. 4 Nittany Lions up one goal over Indiana in the 21st minute. The Lions eventually cruised to a 5-2 victory Sunday.
“Schram’s a workhorse. We are more than happy to have her back. She’s going full tilt right now and we can’t be more proud of her,” senior Christine Nairn said. “She got that first goal under her belt and hopefully there’s more in the future.”
With the second most goals on the team last year (12), Schram was expected to be one of the Lions’ key offensive weapons in her junior campaign. She missed a combined 11 games due to traveling with the U-20 National Team. With the emergence of Mallory Weber as an early season go-to scorer and a concussion, Schram began to fade into the background.
She saw action for the first time last week, coming off the bench against Minnesota and has been steadily working her way back into the Lions’ system. She was inserted into the starting lineup against Bucknell last Tuesday and looked to fit into the flow of the offense even without scoring.
Getting the start in place of junior Tani Costa, who missed the game due to illness, Schram was able to put it all together Sunday. Her first score of the season came from three shots on goal, including a high-beaming attempt from the right side that was stopped just in time by a jumping save from Indiana goalkeeper Sarah Stone.
“It feels so good finally scoring a goal after all this time,” Schram said. “It’s a big weight lifted off of my shoulders now I can relax and play a little bit, have some fun.”
Schram injured her nose after being hit by an Indiana defender in the 56th minute, she was able to return to the match quickly but will have X-rays today. On a team that has been ravaged by injury, Penn State will look to Schram’s contribution as they gear up for a playoff run.
After a limited 52 minutes in her first game, she saw her minutes increase to 80 and 87 over the next two matches. Head coach Erica Walsh said that she would be able to move Schram around in the lineup throughout the rest of the season.
“She is a complete soccer player. She is one of the few players in the country that can literally play six positions well on the field,” Walsh said. “She’s going to get the time, it’s a question of figuring out where to put these pieces right now.”