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Penn State women's soccer drops out of NCAA Tournament in shutout against South Carolina

Women's Soccer vs. Indiana

Forward Ellie Kershner (24) is rushed by Indiana defender Olivia Wos (18) as she attempts to score during the Penn State women's soccer match against Indiana University on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, at Jeffrey Field. Penn State defeated Indiana 3-0.

Penn State’s NCAA Tournament run came to an end Sunday.

The Nittany Lions fell to South Carolina 2-0 in the Sweet 16, ending the blue and white’s 2021 fall season.

Both teams started off feeling eachother out for the first 25 minutes with no goals for either side in the third-round matchup.

The first half finished with not a lot of action with both teams score at zero entering the locker room.

The second half was not like the first with South Carolina’s redshirt junior midfielder Samantha Chang firing a shot off the top of the crossbar in the 49th minute and giving the Gamecock’s the 1-0 lead.

South Carolina was not done with another strike from graduate student forward Luciana Zullo in the 56th minute to double the lead for the Gamecocks 2-0.

Penn State’s fifth-year senior midfielder Sam Coffey tried to put her team back within one, but her shot was saved by a diving junior goalkeeper Heather Hinz in the 74th minute.

The Gamecocks held off the Nittany Lions last efforts to put themselves on the board, giving South Carolina the Sweet 16 victory.

With the win, South Carolina will go on to play No. 4 BYU in the quarter finals of the NCAA Tournament.

Women's Soccer vs. Indiana

Forward Ellie Kershner (24) makes a second advance on the Indiana goal when she is rushed by Indiana defender Camille Hamm (32), forcing her to pass the ball during the Penn State women's soccer match against Indiana University on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, at Jeffrey Field. Penn State defeated Indiana 3-0.

Hot teams, cold start

In the past two games, Penn State and South Carolina have been hot when it comes to scoring goals.

The Nittany Lions put two goals on the defensive USC, and the Gamecocks put up three goals on Hofstra in their last match.

For a large part of the first half, both teams sat back and started to analyze each other.

In the first 45 minutes, the ball stayed in the center of the pitch with neither time able to establish dominance on the possession front, but there were not too many opportunities for either team to score.

When the two teams got close to the net, they were not able to get clean shots on the target with most of the shots sailing over the net.

However, Penn State edged out South Carolina a little offensively with six shots compared to the Gamecocks’ five.

Accuracy struggles

There has been a common theme all season for Penn State that has hindered its offense.

The Nittany Lions have been dealt with being unable to find the back of the net with the clear offensive opportunities they create for themselves.

This accuracy bug bit the blue and white on Sunday.

Penn State got past South Carolina’s defenders, but it was not able to complete the final pass to get close enough to the net.

With the Nittany Lions not being able to get off efforts within the 18-yard box, the blue and white often settled for shots from distance.

Penn State struggled putting shots on goal with junior defender Katie Wiesner taking multiple shots on net but most were sliced wide of the net.

So far in the NCAA Tournament, Penn State has been getting shots to fall leading them to the third round, but Sunday the Nittany Lions could not lock in on the net.

South Carolina’s second-half burst

Going into the locker room, both teams were on level pegging with neither team being able to find the back of the net.

Coming out of the locker room, the Gamecocks came out firing on all cylinders while the Nittany Lions were on their heels.

South Carolina wasted no time finding the back of the net with goals from Chang and Zullo scoring two goals in just over ten minutes into the half.

After the two strikes, the Gamecocks did not drop back and defend its lead.

South Carolina continued on the attack firing off multiple shots on redshirt junior goalkeeper Katherine Asman.

The Gamecocks did not dominate going forward, the offensive stats were about even with Penn State finishing with 14 shots and South Carolina finishing with 11.

However, the Gamecocks were able to get their shots past Asman, and Penn State could not find the netting on any of its chances.

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