Women's soccer defeats Michigan for Big Ten tournament title

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – For the eighth time in program history, the Penn State women’s soccer team won the Big Ten Tournament championship. The Nittany Lions defeated Michigan 2-1 in overtime in dramatic fashion on the campus of Rutgers University.

Freshman Payton Linnehan scored the game-winning goal in overtime to secure the Big Ten title for the Nittany Lions. Linnehan chipped the Michigan goalkeeper and the ball rolled into the back of the net to give Penn State the 2-1 victory.

The win gave Penn State its eighth Big Ten Tournament championship and fourth under head coach Erica Dambach.

The first half saw back-and-forth action from both teams but neither team could find the back of the net.

The Nittany Lions and Wolverines each registered seven shots in the first half but the game remained scoreless. Senior goalkeeper Amanda Dennis was on her game as she made three saves in both the first and second half. 

After the first 45 minutes of action, the Nittany Lions and Wolverines went into the locker rooms tied at 0-0.

The offensive attack from both the Wolverines and Nittany Lions continued to be ferocious over the next 45 minutes of play.

Penn State had numerous opportunities to take the lead in the first 30 minutes of the second half, but a strong defensive effort by the Wolverines backline and goalkeeper kept the game knotted at 0-0. 

A defensive struggle continued until the final minutes of the second half. Penn State’s stellar defense was tested often but proved up to the task. In the 82nd minute, Michigan sent a cross into the box that deflected off a sliding Nittany Lion and gave Michigan a 1-0 lead with eight minutes to play.

Despite the late goal, Penn State remained calm, cool and collected as they looked to score the equalizer.

Just 42 seconds after the Michigan goal, Frankie Tagliaferri drew a foul in the penalty box and the Nittany Lions were awarded a penalty kick.

For the second time in the tournament, junior Sam Coffey stepped up to take the penalty kick for the Nittany Lions.

Coffey drilled her penalty kick past the outstretched hands of the Michigan goalkeeper to tie the match at 1-1 with less than eight minutes to play in the game.

Penn State’s attack was not done as the Nittany Lions registered three shots and earned three corners in the final seven minutes of the match. Penn State could not score the game-winning goal in regulation.

After a tremendous 90 minutes of regulation from both teams, the Big Ten Tournament title would be decided in overtime.

In the overtime period, the Nittany Lions had the first chance to win the game in the 91st minute. Junior Kerry Abello beat her defender inside the box and sent a missile on goal that was saved by the Michigan goalkeeper.

The Wolverines countered with an attack of their own and the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, Sarah Stratigakis lept for a header that went just wide of the net.

Following the goal kick for Penn State, redshirt senior Ellie Jean found Frankie Tagliaferri at midfield with space. Tagliaferri sent a perfect ball behind the Michigan backline and found Payton Linnehan in stride. Linnehan’s shot beat the keeper and gave Penn State the win.

Penn State earned the Big Ten’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with the victory. This marks the 25th-straight NCAA Tournament for the Nittany Lions. The NCAA Tournament selection show will stream live on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11.