The Nittany Lions held onto an early lead in a high-scoring, rainy Friday night game, giving them their first win in the NCAA tournament. Penn State came away with a 4-1 win over the Falcons in its last home game of the season with all four goals coming off the feet of seniors.
“It’s appropriate for this class,” coach Erica Dambach said. “These guys wear their hearts on their sleeves and I want the world for them. I’m so happy to continue on and get another week with these guys.”
Penn State came into this game with a clear upper hand over Bowling Green. The team possessed and maintained strong control.
The Nittany Lions took multiple shots on goal throughout the first period, something they haven’t done much of this season.
Penn State outshot the Falcons 14-3 in the first period, which ties the highest number of shots seen from Penn State in the first half this season. The last time the Nittany Lions recorded these many shots in the first period was during a match against Syracuse in September.
“We had to loosen them up a little bit,” Dambach said. “They gave us everything and I thought they were stingy defensively and we had to keep going.”
Williams and Ortega-Jurado became the essential game changers of this match. Both players put one past Bowling Green keeper Kathleen Duwve within the first 13 minutes of play, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Not long after the Penn State goals, Bowling Green’s Erica Hubert put one on the board and cut the deficit in the score. The redshirt senior took a high shot on Amanda Dennis, putting it in the back of the net.
Hubert’s goal was the first goal scored in the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Falcons have seen the NCAA Tournament twice before, playing two other teams in the Big Ten.
Both Penn State and Bowling Green had to work through tough weather conditions throughout the entirety of the game. There were visible puddles on the field that affected the speed of multiple passes and slowed the ball down significantly.
The Nittany Lions worked through most of the weather challenges and dominated the Falcons in the first period.
“We just love coming out sunshine, rain, snow, whatever it is we kind of don’t think about, we just embrace it.” Williams said.
The two teams came into the second half in a 2-1 contest. The Falcons were able to get more offensive opportunities and did a better job of stopping the Nittany Lions’ offense.
Bowling Green’s Nikki Cox was able to get two shots off on Dennis. The weather appeared to be a major issue for the keeper as she bobbled the slippery ball on these shots but was able to come away with two saves.
In 65th minute of play, Marissa Sheva added another for the Nittany Lions, increasing the lead 3-1, and just five minutes later, the Nittany Lions were presented with a penalty kick opportunity.
Emily Ogle netted the PK and is now 5-5 on the season in PK’s.
The rain could not stop the Nittany Lions as they kept heavy pressure on the Falcons for the remainder of the half and created threatening scoring opportunities.
The Nittany Lions ended the game with a 4-1 win over the Falcons and will be advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.