STORRS, Conn. — Penn State (17-5) earned a 1-0 victory against Northeastern on Saturday afternoon in NCAA tournament first round action. With the victory, the Nittany Lions will take on the UConn, Sunday afternoon on the Connecticut campus.
Freshman Taylor Herold scored the lone goal for the Nittany Lions in the first half. Redshirt junior Ayla Halus made three saves in the cage.
Penn State has a great opportunity with about 28:30 remaining in the first half. Sophomore Whitney Reddig played a great ball down to sophomore Lauren Purvis. Purvis then slotted a beautiful pass, where the ball went right in front of the cage. Nobody was there though and the score remained tied at zero.
Nearly four minutes later, sophomore Ashtin Klingler played a ball ahead to Herold. The freshman hit the ball and the goalie made a nice pad save to keep the Lions in check. However, Penn State would keep up the pressure. Herold had another shot that was stuffed, but PSU kept the ball in the circle and earned a pair of penalty corners. On the first corner, redshirt junior Hannah Allison had her shot stuffed by the Northeastern keeper. Then on the second opportunity, sophomore Brittany Grzywacz drag flicked a shot that hit the cross bar.
The Nittany Lions would finally capitalize. Herold continued her effectiveness off the bench, as she received a pass from freshman Jenna Chrismer and slid it in the cage to give the Lions a 1-0 advantage with 17:27 remaining. Immediately following Penn State’s goal, Northeastern provided a scare earning a penalty corner down in its offensive end. The Huskies’ Crystal Poland took the shot off the corner, but Halus made a great save at 15:25 to hold the PSU lead.
The Huskies kept up the pressure in the second half, as Kaela Barker fired a shot on a penalty corner that Halus made a nice kick save on.
With over 16 minutes remaining, freshman Laura Gebhart fired a shot in the circle that was saved by the keeper. Chrismer grabbed the rebound and hit another shot that was saved. A little over 15 minutes remained in the game, with PSU leading 1-0.
Penn State controlled the vast majority of the game from there. Lizzie Priest played an amazing game for Northeastern, making saves in bunches to keep the Huskies in the game. With 1:35 remaining, Northeastern had two penalty corner opportunities. After failing to convert on the first one, Herold gave out her body and blocked a rocketed shot to clinch the win for PSU.
The Nittany Lions will take on the Connecticut Huskies on Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner of the game will advance to the national semifinals in Louisville, Kent. next weekend. The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series with UConn, 16-15-4, but look to snap a five -game losing skid. The past four games have been one-goal losses, including slim 2-1 losses in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Penn State’s last win against the Huskies came back in 2006.