The Penn State women’s soccer team couldn’t have asked for a stronger start to the season.
The Nittany Lions — who started the season unranked in the United Soccer Coaches Association preseason poll — never trailed as they thumped No. 8 BYU 3-1 on Friday night at Jeffrey Field in front of 3,570 fans, the fifth-largest crowd in program history.
Junior midfielder Marissa Sheva got the scoring started just 10 minutes into Friday’s match when she found the net from eight yards out. The Cougars tied the game up in the second half — but the fans clad in blue-and-white didn’t have to wait long for their Nittany Lions to rally.
Four minutes after BYU’s equalizer, Penn State’s Alina Ortega Jurado found the bottom-right corner from 20 yards out. Less than three minutes after that, the Nittany Lions punctuated the contest with Sheva’s second goal to seize the 3-1 advantage.
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The win wasn’t exactly an upset, however. Five Penn State players missed the entire 2016 season while playing for the U.S. Women’s National Under-20 team in the World Cup, and a sixth missed part of the season playing for Germany. Two other polls ranked PSU Nos. 1 and 3, respectively.
Penn State dominated in just about every phase of the game. It had more shots (14-11), more shots on goal (6-4), more corner kicks (6-3) and just as many saves (3).
Charlotte Williams tied a career best with two assists, and redshirt junior Rose Chandler notched her first career start in the net.
The Nittany Lions will continue their season when they host Hofstra at 1 p.m. Sunday.