The Ohio State Buckeyes women’s soccer team (9-2-1, 4-1-0 Big Ten) upset the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-3-1, 3-1-1) 1-0 Saturday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, earning the team’s first victory over Penn State in seven years.
The pressing attack of the Ohio State offense finally paid off at the 74th minute when a cross from sophomore defender Marike Mousset landed in the center of the box to be struck into the back of the net just inside the right goalpost by senior forward, Sammy Edwards. The goal proved enough to earn a victory in the hard-fought match.
“It honestly is the best feeling right now,” junior goalie Devon Kerr said of the win. “I even said to my team that I’m on such a high because we played from minute to minute and did not give up the entire time, and it clearly spoke on the field. I’m just so proud of our team and the outcome we got here tonight.”
The talent of the top two teams in the Big Ten was apparent as they each opened the game with patient ball-handling to feel out the opposing defense. Possession was steady and changed hands every few minutes as the teams equally shared the ball as they both waited for an opportunity to strike.
The Buckeyes had an early cross dribble across the box two yards from the Penn State goal line that came close to breaking the scoreless tie, but the Ohio State offense was unable to capitalize as the ball rolled away from the net untouched.
Penn State battled back in the 24th minute as senior forward Megan Schafer dribbled the ball past the Ohio State defense and struck a hard shot from eight yards out, but it was saved by Kerr.
The Nittany Lions earned another opportunity in the 36th minute as sophomore midfielder Laura Freigang sent a powerful shot that was blocked by Buckeye defenders.
The teams spent the rest of the half trading extended possessions and meticulous attacks as both defenses stifled any further attempts to attack the goal. Both teams played at the top of their game in a half well managed by each side.
The second half started off with a much quicker pace than the first, with both sides executing more aggressive attacks. Both of the teams had passing inside five yards of the goal within the first 10 minutes, only to end up being cleared to the midfield by defenders.
Penn State earned a close shot from junior midfielder Marissa Sheva in the 53rd minute that sailed over the bar as they looked to start an attack.
Its attack was quickly met with a Buckeye counterstrike in the 68th minute, where a high cross from 20 yards out was saved and held in a huge collision between Penn State junior goalie Rose Chandler and Edwards.
Ohio State spent the rest of the game holding off an extremely aggressive Penn State attack with Kerr making save after save, backing up her Big Ten defensive player of the week honors. The game came down to the last minute, as the Buckeyes were able to bend, but not break under the pressure of the Nittany Lion attack.
“These clean sheets are not just me. It’s my team helping with the no-shot mentality and making sure shots can’t come off the other team’s foot,” said Kerr. “When the shot’s coming on net, I just try to stay as focused and engaged as I can. Hopefully I can hold the ball or at least do something to get it out of the game of play.”
The Ohio State women’s soccer team next faces off against Michigan State at home on Friday at 5 p.m.