The defending national champion Penn State women’s soccer team beat on in-state rival Bucknell 6-0 in the first round of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament Friday at Jeffrey field.
“I knew we were capable of this,” Penn State head coach Erica Dambach said. “I see them score goals like this in practice on a daily basis.”
In their first postseason game since winning it all last year, the Nittany Lions wasted no time and took control of the game early.
With nearly all of the possession in the first half, Penn State methodically moved its way up the field. Its constant presence in the offensive zone put tremendous pressure on Bucknell’s defense, which resulted in several defensive mistakes that almost resulted in goals for the Nittany Lions.
Senior midfielder Nickolette Driesse opened up the scoring for Penn State at the 15th minute of the first half on an assist from Frannie Crouse. After a marvelous first touch that led her past a defender, Driesse sniped the top right corner of the net from just outside of the 18-yard box. It was the first goal of the season for Driesse.
“Knowing that it is my last time playing on Jeffery and in front of these fans,” Driesse said. “I knew I had to do something to leave a mark here.”
Charlotte Williams gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead just four minutes before halftime. While attacking at pace, she rifled a shot into the top left corner of the net.
“Anytime you get a chance to play on Jeffery, it’s a huge deal, especially getting another chance after Rutgers to protect it,” Williams said.
The Nittany Lions continued to control the game in the second half, as they added four more goals.
Just 46 seconds into the second half, Haleigh Echard extended Penn State’s lead to 3-0 after an improbable shot from a near impossible angle. Following a give and go, Echard found herself down by the end line where it looked like she was trying to cross the ball to a teammate. The ball kept drifting over the goalie’s head and it eventually bounced off the far post and into the back of the net.
Marissa Sheva, Megan Schafer and Williams all tallied late in the second half.
Penn State takes on Virginia in the second round at a date and time to be determined.
“This is the perfect way to end the season at Jeffery Field in front of another great crowd,” Dambach said.