No. 4 Penn State Holds Off Bison Women's Soccer, 3-1
Oct. 2, 2012
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The Bucknell women's soccer team gave fourth-ranked Penn State all it could handle on a wet night at Jeffrey Field, but All-America striker Maya Hayes scored twice in the second half to lift the Nittany Lions to a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night. Senior goalkeeper Sandita McDermott had a terrific night and kept the Bison in the game with 11 saves, and senior Jenna Tryon scored her second career goal to pull Bucknell within one in the second half.
It looked like the Bison would be able to get to halftime scoreless, but McDermott's challenge in the box was deemed to be a foul and Penn State was awarded a penalty kick in the 39th minute. Raquel Rodriguez scored from the spot to make it 1-0.
Bucknell did well to keep Hayes in check in the first half, but the Penn State star made a terrific individual move in the 58th minute to make it 2-0. She worked around two defenders, carried the ball to the left side of the box and sent a left-footed shot back across her body and just inside the far post. Hayes, a member of the United States U-20 Team, led the nation with 31 goals last season and was picked as the Big Ten Forward of the Year.
The Bison were not done, however. With Penn State pushing numbers forward for most of the night, Bucknell often found itself with space to counter. Just past the hour mark, Tryon carried the ball on the right side and found Courtney Nelson posted up with her back to the goal just inside the 18. A defender forced Nelson to dribble outside the box on the right side, and she passed back to Tryon, who one-timed a perfect high-arcing shot from 25 yards out over the head of keeper Britt Eckerstrom and into the left side netting.
It was Tryon's first goal since her freshman season in 2009. That one was an 88th-minute game-winner in a 1-0 victory at Iona.
Down just a goal at 2-1, Bucknell earned a free kick in a dangerous spot about 23 yards from goal. Taryn Boucher fired a hard, low shot through the wall, but Eckerstrom was well-positioned for one of her four saves on the night.
A few minutes later Cassie Denger got a step on her defender coming in from the right wing. Denger was knocked off the ball and this time no foul was given, and soon after the Nittany Lions had the ball all the way up the field. Emily Hurd centered a pass for Hayes in the middle of the box, and Hayes was able to slot a shot off the hand of a diving McDermott, who nearly had another highlight-reel save. Instead it was Hayes' second goal of the night and ninth of the year, and the Lions had a big insurance marker.
"I am extremely pleased with how we played tonight, against what was obviously a very quality opponent," coach Ben Landis said afterward. "Coming off a disappointing loss to a league rival, I was very interested to see our level of focus tonight, and it was 100 percent. We came to win, but we were able to work some things out tonight, and for me that made the score secondary in the bigger picture. Sandita McDermott played maybe her best game. She was unlucky on the penalty call but she made the right play, and she came up with some brilliant saves."
Penn State finished with a 20-10 shot advantage and led 10-5 in corner kicks.
The Nittany Lions, who are already 5-0 in the Big Ten, won their sixth game in a row and improved to 11-2 on the season, with the only losses coming to Stanford and BYU. Bucknell has now dropped back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 0-2, and the second of those games was also a close road loss against a ranked opponent (2-1 at No. 23 Rutgers).
Now 7-6 on the season, Bucknell has nothing but Patriot League matches remaining in the regular season. The Bison have a big home weekend coming up, with Holy Cross in town on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Army visiting Emmitt Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.