No. 16 Penn State women’s soccer beat Michigan 1-0 in Sunday afternoon’s Big Ten quarterfinals at Jeffrey Field.
Senior midfielder Marissa Sheva scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to send the Nittany Lions to the conference semifinals.
How It Happened
Junior goalkeeper Amanda Dennis made a pair of outstanding saves to keep things scoreless in the 16th minute. Neither team found the back of the net in the first half, but freshman midfielder Kim Dubs had an excellent opportunity in the 51st minute.
Michigan goalie Hillary Beall made the stop on Dubs’ shot before the Wolverines nearly struck first on the other end of the field. Sarah Stratigakis hit the crossbar and the ball deflected away from trouble. Dennis tied her career high with seven saves in the victory.
With the clock winding down, defender Ellie Jean dialed up a beautiful cross into the box that found Sheva, who chipped a shot into the top left of the net.
“I saw Ellie sprinting down the sideline and I knew she was going to beat the defender,” Sheva said. “I was just thinking, ‘Get first contact on the ball.’ She played the perfect cross and all I had to do was get a touch on it. Huge props to Ellie for that.”
Head coach Erica Dambach discussed Sheva’s team save in the last few seconds of the match, saying she showed absolute determination on the play.
“It was just pure commitment,” Dambach said. “It was her desire to get across to the near post and put her entire body in harm’s way. She wasn’t going to let that ball go through her.”
Player of the Match
Marissa Sheva | Midfielder
Sheva’s second goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. She also scored the winner against Rutgers on October 14.
“That’s all you can ask from a player when you’re getting close to the 90-minute mark is to make big plays,” Dennis said. “It just shows what a veteran she is.”
The top-seeded Nittany Lions (14-5) will face No. 5 seed Illinois Friday at 11 a.m. at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, with a spot in the conference championship on the line. The match will air live on Big Ten Network.
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