STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Despite out-performing No. 6 Penn State in almost every category on the stat sheet, the Central Michigan women's soccer team fell to the Nittany Lions, 5-0, Sunday afternoon.
The Chippewas outshot Penn State 21-11, held an 8-6 shots on goal advantage, and took more than twice as many corner kicks, 7-3, but the Nittany Lions were able to convert several impressive chances in the first half to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
“I was pleased in certain ways that we had 21 shots and that we had roughly the same amount of shots on target as such a talented team,” head coach Neil Stafford said. “The difference today was individual technical brilliance. They have some fantastic players at Penn State who made some impressive plays today, and they're going to be so tough.”
The Chippewas held the Nittany Lions' offense in check for a large portion of the game, but a 12 minute stretch in the middle of the first half ultimately put the game out of reach.
The CMU defense worked hard to keep a clean slate early in the match, including a series during which Penn State made a breakaway run down the left side that was broken up by a dispossessing slide tackle and clear from senior defender Bailey Brandon.
Moments later, Penn State advanced into the box on another breakaway, but senior goalkeeper Stefanie Turner rushed out to cover the ball and avert the threat.
Junior forward Jennifer Gassman nearly put the Chippewas on the board first at the 15 minute mark, when her first shot was deflected by the goalkeeper. She retrieved the rebound and fired off another shot, which was blocked at the goal line by a PSU defender.
The game remained scoreless until PSU's Mallory Weber headed in a cross from the right corner from Christine Nairn for a 1-0 lead at the 23 minute mark.
Nairn followed with two goals of her own in the following four minutes. In the 24th minute Nairn fired a nearly indefensible shot from 30 yards out into the upper right corner of the goal, and she struck again in the 27th minute on a shot from the left side of the field from 18 yards out that again found the upper right corner of the goal, giving the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead.
PSU's Erin Kehoe capped the first-half scoring with a goal in the 35th minute, assisted by Kindra Kohne.
After halftime, the Nittany Lions added one final goal from 30 yards out by Jenna Kalwa in the 57th minute.
The CMU offense tried its hardest to claw back into the game following the goal, firing off 12 shots throughout the remainder of the match, three of which were on goal and four of which were blocked.
Junior midfielder Kaely Schlosser took five shots during that strech, and a game-high six in total. Senior defender Katie Slaughter took three shots, and Gassman took two, both on goal.
The Chippewas' next match will be at Dayton on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.