Nov. 14, 2009

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--The No. 16-ranked Penn State women's soccer team cruised to a 5-0 win over Colgate Friday night at Jeffrey Field. The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions used a natural hat trick from Katie Schoepfer (Waterford, Conn.) to propel them to the largest NCAA Tournament victory since 2005.

"Obviously, I'm proud of the team," Head coach Erica Walsh remarked after the game. "I'm really proud of the way that they finished off the game. I spoke to them at halftime. I thought it was a bit of a `B' effort in the first half in our ability to complete passes and to concentrate and get the ball where we wanted it to go. But I thought the response in the second half was quite good. The effort was there."

After a furious start by Colgate, who notched two shots on goal in the opening 10 minutes, Schoepfer quickly quelled any thoughts of an upset when she uncorked a 35-yard blast into the upper-right-hand corner in the 18th minute. Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.) assisted on the outstanding goal.

"I don't know that I've ever scored one from that far out before," Schoepfer said. "I didn't really expect it. I kind of fell over while I was shooting and so I didn't really see it go off my foot or where it was going. Then I looked up and it was in. That was pretty exciting."

Three minutes later, Danielle Toney (Northville, Mich.) was dragged down in the box by Colgate's Calista Victor and a penalty kick was awarded to Penn State. Schoepfer stepped up, poised to score her second of the night, but she sent the ball sailing high, her first penalty kick miss of the season.

It would take 17 more minutes before Schoepfer could redeem herself as she took a Nikki Watts (Hungerford, England) pass and sent a missile to the net, which hit the bottom of the crossbar and went in for a 2-0 PSU lead in the 39th minute.

The Nittany Lions came out of the locker room feisty and looking for more and Schoepfer would cap the natural hat trick in the 58th minute. With Hayes supplying the assist on a beautiful long ball that found Schoepfer near the penalty spot, the senior forward slotted it home in the lower right side of the net for her 14th goal of the year.

Two and a half minutes later, the scoring continued when Watts had her second assist when her cross found the chest of Toney for the junior forward's 13th goal of the season. From there on out, the Penn State subs played out the string of the game.

Jackie Molinda (Pittsburgh, Pa.) tallied her second goal of the season off a great combination of passes from Rachel Lamarre (Montreal, Quebec) and Jess Rosenbluth (Gladwyne, Pa.).

The star of the game, Schoepfer, recorded Penn State's 18th shutout in women's soccer history. Also, it's the first time since the 2005 season that a Nittany Lion notched two hat tricks in the same season, when Tiffany Weimer tallied hat tricks against Washington (Aug. 26) and Texas A&M (Nov. 19).

For the second half Penn State out-shot Colgate, 20-0, en route to a 34-5 shot advantage, its largest disparity in shots this season. The Colgate goalkeepers combined for nine saves, while Penn State's Alyssa Naeher (Seymour, Conn.) stopped four shots in net, all in the first half.

The Lions held a 5-2 edge in corner kicks and fouls were 6-5 in favor of Colgate. Both teams were whistled offside one time each.

Penn State moves on to play Virginia in the NCAA Second Round on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game will be a match-up of two teams that played a 1-0 game in favor of the Nittany Lions on Aug. 21.