STATE COLLEGE, Pa. –The No. 4 Virginia women's soccer team (8-0-0) went on the road for the first time this season and came away victorious, using a late goal to take a 2-1 win at No. 8 Penn State (4-3-1) on Sunday (Sept. 15) afternoon at Jeffrey Field.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. –The No. 4 Virginia women’s soccer team (8-0-0) went on the road for the first time this season and came away victorious, using a late goal to take a 2-1 win at No. 8 Penn State (4-3-1) on Sunday (Sept. 15) afternoon at Jeffrey Field.
Junior midfielder Sydney Zandi (West Chester, Pa.) scored the game-winner in the 86th minute, marking her second straight game with a score. Her goal came just 0:26 seconds after Penn State hit the equalizer, making it the second fastest answering goal scored by the Cavaliers in program history. It matched the mark set by Jen Redmond against Wake Forest in the 2006 season.
Senior Meghan McCool (Glenside, Pa.) hit the first goal of the day for the Cavaliers with her goal in the 16th minute.
With the victory, the Cavaliers have won six consecutive in the series with Penn State and claimed a victory on the road against the Nittany Lions for the second consecutive season. Three of the last four victories over the Nittany Lions have come away from home with the Cavaliers also winning in the 2016 season in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament in a match played at Georgetown. The 2017 meeting was a home victory for Virginia.
“I’m really proud of the team today to get this result against a quality program like Penn State,” said Virginia head coach Steve Swanson. “The game, as we expected, had its ebbs and flows. We did a good job of dictating the tempo, especially in the first half, but down the stretch Penn State capitalized on their free kick. To score the way we did right after they equalized says a great deal about our mentality. That response was good to see.”
Virginia struck first, scoring in the 16th minute off a goal from McCool. Zoe Morse (East Lansing, Mich.) played a long ball over the top of the defense out wide to Rebecca Jarrett (Washington Township, N.J.) who attacked the Nittany Lion back line. Jarrett drove down the right side and cut in toward the box before sending in a cross to McCool. The Penn State defense couldn’t clear the ball as McCool stayed with the play. The senior went down, but regained the ball inside the six, kicking it as she was on the ground and slipping the ball into the lower right past the keeper as she came off her line for the 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers had the run of play throughout the first half, holding a 13-to-2 edge in shots against the home team and the 1-0 lead on the scoreboard.
Penn State got on the board in the 85th minute, converting off a free kick following a Virginia foul outside the top right corner of the box. Sam Coffey sent the ball in toward the back post where Ally Schlegel connected on her run and converted to even the match at 1-1.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Cavaliers reclaimed the lead with Zandi finding the net 0:26 seconds after the equalizer from the Nittany Lions. Virginia played the ball down the right side and, just like the first goal, played the ball into McCool. The senior took the shot that was deflected, but not cleared. With the ball loose inside the six and Penn State unable to make the clearance, Zandi took her shot from a yard out and put Virginia back in front 2-1.
The score would hold as the Cavaliers picked up the victory and remained undefeated on the season.
Virginia will return to action on Friday (Sept. 20), opening ACC play at Wake Forest with a 7 p.m. match on ACCNX.