No. 6 Penn State rebounded from its season-opening loss to Stanford with an offensive explosion against Hofstra on Sunday.
“First off, that’s a heck of a Hofstra team,” coach Erica Dambach said. “I thought we handled their pressure really well. I thought they made things challenging in the midfield for us that we have to solve some things.
“Today, I thought we came out, we looked confident and comfortable and knocked in a few early, which gave us a lot of confidence.”
After Dambach elected to make only one switch to the starting 11 from Friday’s affair, five different Nittany Lions scored in a 6-0 rout over the Pride.
Penn State started the match very strong, dominating the possession while probing for opportunities throughout.
It did not take Penn State long to secure a lead. Kate Wiesner and Kerry Abello both had chances early, before the Nittany Lions put one in to capitalize on their hot start.
Shea Moyer found co-captain Ellie Jean with a through ball in the sixth minute. Jean was able to slot the shot right under the approaching opposing goalie Skylar Kuzmich for a quick strike.
Minutes later, Sam Coffey scored her first goal of the season after making a sharp run against a shaky Hofstra backline. She was able to calmly finish her chance toward the far post in the ninth minute.
The Nittany Lions looked very sharp throughout the first half, especially in the midfield. The likes of Moyer, Wiesner and Cori Dyke had absolute control over the middle of the pitch as they forced a number of key turnovers and start breaks.
Moyer was part of that dominating midfield. She also chipped in two assists in a stellar performance.
“Right after the [loss against Stanford], all of our thoughts were on how can we improve, how can we get better and how can we bounce back,” Moyer said. “The result today and the effort we put in really showed that we are the type of the team that can come back from everything.”
She also enjoyed the domineering midfield performance a lot herself.
“I have so much confidence and so much faith on our midfield,” Moyer said. “I think we’re really working together and making sure we’re on the same page. We’re nothing without the rest of our teammates so it’s everybody doing a great job.”
Coffey and Payton Linnehan both had cracks at goal before Kerry Abello made it 3-0 in the 22nd minute.
Schlegel played a long through ball and opposing right back Monique Iannella failed to clear the dangerous pass. Abello latched on to the pass, took the ball around the keeper and found her first goal of the season.
Tagliaferri had two chances to extend the lead, but was flagged offside on a pair of through balls which put her in on goal. Toward the end of the half, the game also opened up a bit with a number of substitutions.
She finally got her goal early in the second half, though. Cori Dyke put a ball into the box and Tagliaferri was able to find space to her left and found the back of the net for the Nittany Lions’ fourth goal.
Tagliaferri secured her brace near the hour mark. Shea Moyer hit yet another through ball, and the striker stayed onside, went past the keeper and gave Penn State a five-goal lead in the 59th minute.
The Nittany Lions continued their offensive masterclass as the lead was extended five minutes later. Linnehan’s point-blank range shot was saved by Kuzmich, but Casey Ballow followed up and opened up her scoring account for the season.
It was very much the same dominant display for Penn State in the second half, winning over the midfield and looking for chances on the break and with through balls.
Hofstra spent some time in the Nittany Lions’ final third, but was not able to find the openings like it did the latter part of the first half as the match slowly wrapped up. A few stray shots were all the Pride was able to muster as Penn State was content to sit back and see out the game.