To be the best, you have to beat the best. Penn State women's soccer isn't the best quite yet.
North Carolina, the most-decorated collegiate women's soccer team in history, took home their 21st national championship on Sunday, defeating the Lady Lions by the score of 4-1. It was the first time this year that Penn State has conceded more than three goals in a game.
The Lady Tar Heels started quickly when Kealia Ohai ripped a shot that knocked off the cross bar and in just 71 seconds into the game. After that defensive lapse, Penn State tightened up for the rest of the half and added a goal of their own when Taylor Schram streaked down the left side and put a shot just over the North Carolina keeper's head to tie the game at one.
That was as close as Penn State would get though. Just 48 seconds into the second half, Hanna Gardner headed in a corner kick from Katie Bowen to give UNC a 2-1 lead. From there, they wouldn't look back, adding two more second-half goals on a Penn State defense and goalkeeper in Erin McNulty that had been dominant throughout the entire tournament. Playing zone defense against a team as balanced as North Carolina (no player had more than seven goals) might have been what prevented Penn State from claiming its first-ever national championship.
Even with the loss, Penn State completed its greatest season in team history, going 21-4-1 while winning its 15th straight Big Ten title, making its fourth College Cup and competing for its first championship.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments, ladies!
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