Once again, Char Morett-Curtiss’ team started off strong in the first quarter against a ranked opponent on the road but failed to finish strong.
The No. 9 Nittany Lions should expect to fall in the rankings with a tough 3-1 loss to No. 16 Delaware. The squad continues to struggle to keep up the intensity in the closing quarters of each half this season.
Each team was playing strong on both sides of the ball but failed to convert on scoring opportunities for most of the first quarter. The only exception was when freshman midfielder Paityn Wirth carried the ball seven yards out from the cage and scored the first and only goal for Penn State.
On the defensive side of the field, freshman goalkeeper Brie Barraco made three pivotal saves in the second quarter to keep the lead for most of the half.
However, Penn State’s defense started to collapse on Delaware’s penalty corner opportunities very late in the half. With less than two minutes ago, Baracco could not stop the Blue Hens’ third consecutive corner as the game equalized at one a-piece.
According to Morrett-Curtiss, Delaware’s late second-quarter momentum provided as the dagger to Penn State’s chances of winning the game.
“We did a lot of good early on,” Morrett-Curtiss told GoPSUSports. “But we got away from our game plan late and their defense was good.”
Overall, Penn State’s defense was solid in the first half as they allowed only five total shots. However, the squad lost possession of the ball often with turnovers as the Blue Hens totaled 10 shots in the second half.
Immediately to start the third quarter, the squad’s defense were on their heals as Barraco made two saves to keep the score tied. Not too much longer, however, junior forward Femke Strein scored the game-winning goal off of another corner.
Penn State’s offense continued to struggle maintaining possession of the ball as Delaware’s defense remained persistent. As a result, the squad only got five total shots off all game.
“We were on attack throughout the game but could not get any shots off,” Morett-Curtiss said. “That cost us in the second half.”
Despite a valiant effort by Baracco with six total saves, she allowed another goal in the fourth quarter. At that point, the game seemed out of reach for the Nittany Lions as they failed to gather much momentum.
The young squad will look for their first win against Old Dominion on Friday. It will mark as the first home game and unranked opponent the team will face this season.