Even an extremely soggy field could not stop the Nittany Lions.
As the ball bounced back and forth off Northwestern defenders’ and her own teammates’ feet inside the box, senior midfielder Ali Schaefer got her foot on the ball for her first goal of the season.
This is Schaefer’s third goal of her career and was the second goal of the Lions’ game versus Northwestern Friday night. The joy on her face was evident as she ran over to the sidelines and received a congratulatory chest bump from Kyle Arnaud--redshirt freshman Ellen Arnaud’s brother.
The pair had this planned from the beginning of the season; they would chest bump in celebration once Schaefer scored that first goal.
In the 33rd minute, Schaefer recorded her second goal of the game off the pass of senior midfielder Jess Rosenbluth. Schaefer sent the ball towards the goal, which then ricocheted off the leg of Northwestern’s goalie and into the back right side of the net for Penn State’s third goal of the game.
The Lions won Friday’s game 4-0, making their record 8-3-0 for the season and 1-1 in Big Ten play.
“The team was playing great, I was just connecting passes,” Schaefer said. “Ultimately, it just comes down to playing at Jeffrey under the lights, nothing is better than a home game.”
The Las Vegas native then added that her mom flew all the way out to see tonight’s game. It was a golden opportunity for her to have her first two goals of the season and make her mom proud.
Maya Hayes captured the first goal of the game in the 34th minute to tie for most goals in the entire NCAA. In the 26th minute, the New Jersey native scored off an assist from fellow forward Taylor Schram and Schaefer to take the lead in the NCAA race.
With only 17 minutes to go in her own game Friday night, the Nebraska player in competition with Hayes for the most goals scored another, leaving the pair tied once again.
After Hayes gained possession of the ball, only the goalie stood in her way of that second goal. She sailed the ball directly over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net.
By the middle of the first half and again in the middle of the second, nearly all of the starters were substituted out and bench players got their chance on the field. The reserves also saw a lot of time during the Bucknell game last Tuesday when the women’s soccer team defeated the Bison 3-0.
Penn State dominated their opponent the entire first half. The ball rarely crossed the 50-yard line into the Lions’ territory. Freshman Kori Chapic was instrumental in making sure that her team controlled the field.
“I think collectively as a team we all stuck together today,” Chapic said. “We were really tight and didn’t give them space for them to turn…or for passing lanes…We moved as a unit.”
Junior midfielder Christine Nairn also did her part to create numerous scoring opportunities throughout the first half. Her moves faked defenders out and gave her teammates the set ups they needed to take shots.
The Lions showed great maturity and control and had no offsides calls against them--Northwestern had three.
The command the Lions demonstrated was evident in their stats, 18 shots and eight corners. Numerous players had the opportunity to play hard and make plays to add to the team’s winning record.
Northwestern took absolutely no corners and had just 6 shots over the course of Friday night’s clash.
Coach Erica Walsh applauded Schaefer for leading the team in true senior fashion tonight. The bench proves to be a serious asset for Penn State’s women soccer team.
“One thing we tell the reserves is to make it tough for us,” Walsh said. “Make it tough every time we decide the starting lineup and that’s exactly what several of them did tonight is make it tougher for us on Sunday.”