It probably shouldn't have come down to penalty kicks. It probably shouldn't have been as much of an exciting and heart-racing set as it was. But, a win is a win and Penn State will be moving on to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Michigan on Sunday night, 1-1 (3-2 PKs).
Penn State went down 2-0 early in the penalty kick portion after Rocky Rodriguez and Whitney Church both were stopped on their attempts, but senior goalkeeper Erin McNulty, made three straight stops and Maddy Evans, Tani Costa and star Maya Hayes all netted their attempts to walk off with a victory.
Penn State held possession for most of the match, but was only able to find the back of the net once in the 110 minutes of regulation.
Michigan led off the scoring in the first half at the 16th minute after Evans was given a questionable yellow card in the penalty box. Clare Stachel converted on the penalty kick and the Wolverines took a 1-0 lead.
Penn State would control the ball for the rest of the first half and their pressure would pay off in the 42nd minute when Christine Nairn lofted a corner kick right into the middle of the box and Evans cleaned up the ensuing mess to tie the game at 1 going into halftime.
There was no scoring in the second half, although both teams had great chances, the best coming off of a Taylor Schram rocket that just went over the crossbar midway through the half.
It was the same story for both overtime periods which were played under "golden goal" circumstances. Hayes had the best opportunity to end the game in regulation, dancing with the ball in the box, but shooting high on an open net.
It ended up working out in the end, though, after McNulty dove to her left to stop Holly Hein on Michigan's fifth and final penalty kick attempt to help the Lady Lions advance.
Penn State now moves onto the Elite Eight for the first time since 2006. They will host third-seeded Duke this Friday who defeated second-seeded Virginia, 3-1. Duke (13-5-2) is ranked #15 in the nation and has dispatched Loyola (MD), Miami (OH) and Virginia from the tournament by a combined score of 13-2.
Follow @BSDtweet on Twitter
And join us on Facebook
All BSD community members should review our current Posting & Commenting Policies before creating any posts or commenting.