Penn State will look to continue its hot form by collecting its 11th straight win against Arizona in Palo Alto, California for the second round of the NCAA tournament.
It will be a Friday-Sunday slate for the second and third round action in the tournament in the highest seed’s home field. That means Penn State, being in No. 1 Stanford’s quadrant, will play in the Golden State for the weekend.
Coach Erica Dambach’s squad took care of business last time out at home, as the No. 4 seed team came back to defeat Stony Brook 3-1 by way of goals from Frankie Tagliaferri, Sam Coffey and Kerry Abello.
The team had to live through a bit of an early scare by way of a first-half Fanny Gotesson goal, the first for the Seawolves in program history, but Penn State was able to compose itself en route to the victory. The mental toughness would be a key factor shall the team continue on in the tournament.
The defense has also been solid as the team has only allowed five goals in its last ten games, with Amanda Dennis certainly being a bright spot as the starting goalkeeper.
Caitlin Haislip was the third-best performer against Stony Brook according to inStat. Partnering her with three seniors, Kaleigh Riehl, Ellie Jean and Laura Suero in the backline has allowed Penn State to play for wins more aggressively.
Arizona had to face some tough opponents of late in its 12-6-1 season.
The Wildcats dropped 3-0 and 6-2 defeats against Cal and No. 1 Stanford. They were able to close out the season with a 1-0 win against Arizona State and then continue on to triumph over TCU with another 1-0 result in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Penn State has to be wary of Jada Talley. The junior forward leads her team with 28 points with 10 goals and two assists. Other double-digit point scorers include forwards Jill Aguilera and Brooke Wilson.
For the Nittany Lions, it is of utmost importance to just stick to what has been working, as the attacking group has gelled completely and the free-flow offense could be detrimental for a team to handle.
The winner will go on to face the winner of No. 1 Stanford and Hofstra on Sunday.
Kickoff is scheduled to be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22 at Maloney Field.