Penn State's Costa key player in 3-0 defeat of Ohio State Buckeyes
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Eighth-ranked Penn State (9-2-0) picked up a 3-0 victory against Ohio State on Thursday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Nittany Lions used two first-half goals from Tani Costa and Maya Hayes and a nice second half goal from Christine Nairn to secure the victory.
Britt Eckerstrom was great in net, earning her first career shutout in just her second career start. Eckerstrom made nine saves as the Buckeyes applied pressure all night. Ohio State entered Thursday night's contest giving up a total of just five goals, as Penn State scored over half of that total.
Penn State's first goal came 25 minutes in. Mallory Weber garnered the ball in Penn State's offensive third of the field. Weber played a nice thru ball to Costa, who settled the ball near the top of the 18. The redshirt junior took a touch with her outside right foot and struck it just inside the 18, finding the back left corner of the net to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.
The Nittany Lions took a 2-0 lead approximately 18 minutes later. Raquel Rodriguez ripped a shot at the top of the 18, where Ohio State keeper Rachel Middleman made a great save. Rodriguez's hard shot was too hard to handle though for Middleman, as her save bounced off her hands and Hayes was right in front of the net to collect the rebound. She tapped it in to put Penn State up 2-0 with two minutes remaining in the first half.
Nairn had the goal of the night in the 70th minute of action. She garnered a loose bouncing ball and settled it about 35 yards out from the net. From the middle of the field at that distance, Nairn ripped a shot with her left foot and found top shelf netting to give Penn State a convincing 3-0 lead against the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes challenged all night in Penn State's defensive third of the field, outshooting the Nittany Lions 22-14. Ohio State had a great opportunity in the 59th minute. The Buckeyes' Caroline Murray had a wide open look and Eckerstrom made a great diving stop, which forced a Buckeye corner kick. Nearly one minute later, Murray struck one from about 30 yards out towards from the left side and hit it far post. The ball plunked off the crossbar as the shutout remained intact. Murray would hit the crossbar again in the 67th minute.