Women's soccer advances to Elite Eight

November 25, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion women's soccer team advanced to its 10th NCAA quarterfinal in program history after topping Virginia Tech, 2-1, in a hard-fought third round NCAA Tournament match on Sunday (Nov. 23).

"That was a very good Virginia Tech team," head coach Erica Walsh said. "They gave us everything we could handle and it certainly felt like we had to bend at times but we never broke."

Penn State's (20-3-0) first goal came with five minutes left in the first half. Katy Keen (Zionsville, Ind.) sent a cross from the center line to Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica). The junior took off on a breakaway and sliced in her seventh of the season to put the Blue and White up 1-0.

"The game was about the midfield, picking up those second balls," Walsh said. "The work rate of our midfield five today made a big difference for us."

Seven minutes into the second half, the Hokies (16-6-0) knotted the score. Ashley Meier received a pass from Danielle King and buried a shot from 18 yards out.

But the Nittany Lions got the golden goal in the 71st minute. Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) fired off a perfectly placed free kick from 30 yards out. Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) then rose above a scrum in front of the net and headed in the 2-1 score.

"We work on free kicks in practice day in and day out," said Weber. "Ogle played a great ball in, the goalie came out and I just needed to get touch on it. One of our players settled a screen and I got a little more space."

Said Walsh, "You look at the goal that Mallory scored today and the goal Frannie (Crouse) scored on Friday and both of them were about courage. You know you're going to get hit, but Mallory went in and all she saw was the ball, as she does every time."

The strong defensive effort saw Penn State limit Virginia Tech to just five shots on goal, four of which came in the first half. Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) made three saves in the match.

"It was a tough task that the backline had today," said senior Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.). "They were just bringing it to us but we stayed strong."

The Nittany Lions will travel to No. 5 Texas A&M for the Elite Eight, facing the Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 29.

"This team is a good soccer playing team this year but even more importantly, they've got a ton of courage," Walsh said. "This is our family and we live to fight another day and play another day together."    

Last Updated November 25, 2014