BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The No. 8 Penn State women’s soccer team swept its weekend in Indiana and open the 2014 Big Ten campaign 2-0 after its second shutout of the weekend, a 3-0 win over Indiana on Sunday.
“Anytime you’re on the road for back-to-back Big Ten games, to come out 2-0 is a feat,” head coach Erica Walsh said.
Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) opened scoring for the Nittany Lions in the 10th minute with her second goal of the season. She capitalized on an Indiana (4-4, 0-2 Big Ten) turnover and laced a shot past Sarah Stone inside the far post for the 1-0 score.
“She understands the importance of coming out to train and play every game, she understands that when there’s a lull, it’s her responsibility to pick things up, and she shoulders that responsibility really well,” Walsh said. “As far as I’m concerned, she’s the best left-sided player in the country.”
Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) extended her scoring streak to three games at 56:14 to double Penn State’s lead. After another Indiana defensive miscue, Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) fed Rodriguez a pass from the right side of the goal to the top of the box. Rodriguez then sliced the ball in from 15 yards in front of the nearside post to put the Nittany Lions up, 2-0.
Mallory Peterson’s (Clinton Corners, N.Y.) first goal since 2012 gave Penn State a three goal lead at the 86 minute mark. After a cross fromHaleigh Echard (Lebanon, Pa.), the junior headed in the ball amidst a tussle in the box for the 3-0 lead. “Two players that came off the bench combining to score a big goal,” Walsh said. “That third goal is an important one. To get that third one from reserves is massive.”
Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) earned her third clean sheet of the season behind a Penn State defense that allowed one shot on goal.
“Britt is playing the best that I’ve ever seen her play, and I attribute it to the work she put in this summer, ” Walsh said of the redshirt junior. “She’s made a real commitment to improving her presence in the goal, and has been an unsung hero so far this season.
“The work that the upperclassmen in the backline are doing, Whitney Church, Kori Chapic and Britt Eckerstrom, they’ve had a very strong season so far. I’ve been so impressed by our defense since the start of the season.”
The win improved the Nittany Lions’ overall record to 6-1 and 2-0 in Big Ten play. All-time against the Hoosiers, Penn State is now 22-1-1.
The Nittany Lions host Ohio State on Fri., Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. for Penn State’s first Big Ten match of the season at Jeffrey Field.