Penn State women’s soccer prepares to host West Virginia in ranked matchup

After a standout performance from the Penn State women’s soccer team — which defeated Duquesne 3-0 — the team is set to play West Virginia on Thursday.

No. 21 West Virginia won its previous game against Saint Joseph’s, finishing with authority by closing out the game 5-1.

During the game, the Mountaineer’s arsenal of forwards was on full display as they kept their foot on the gas pedal, combining for 24 shots against Saint Joseph’s five shots.

The cause for concern on Penn State’s side is that it hasn’t gotten much competition against tough offenses, the toughest being its first opponent Georgetown.

Despite being ranked, Georgetown saw just five shots the whole game. However, the Hoyas did manage to score twice to tie the game.

Goalkeeper Katherine Asman needs to limit the number of goals that pass her, especially if the defense can limit scoring chances.

Coach Erica Dambach also thinks that Asman will “see more action” as the Mountaineers have a lethal front three consisting of forwards Chloe Adler, Dilary Heredia-Beltran and midfielder Maddie Moreau.

Dambach plans to “defend with numbers” against West Virginia’s offense, with the primary goal of limiting the number of shots Asman will have to face.

In its previous game, Duquesne didn’t give the Nittany Lions much to defend against, struggling to even get the ball out of its own side.

The defense needs to shut out West Virginia’s best, and the blue and white’s midfield will also play a crucial role in the outcome.

Dambach said Cori Dyke will be one of many Nittany Lions who will lead the team in finding the momentum that helped secure the first win of the season.

Midfielder Cori Dyke (5) rushes to meet Maryland midfielder Tori Paul (5) for possession of the ball during the Penn State women’s soccer match against Maryland on Friday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Jeffrey Field. Penn State won 5-1 against Maryland.

“[Dyke]’s the one in the midfield that’s making us go right now,” Dambach said.

The blue and yellow offense started strong to begin its season as it racked up 12 shots against a worthy Indiana team, despite the score ending 0-0.

Penn State’s offense has been doing wonders as of late, looking to build on its performance in the last game against Duquesne.

Against West Virginia, Dambach may have to fight fire with fire as both offenses will look to cause the defense nightmares. Dambach said the game plan for the forwards will be the same as the defenders — to attack with numbers.

“We’ve got some of the best attacking players in the country,” Dambach said. “We got to make sure we can get them the ball, we’ve got to threaten. We got to shoot more. We’ve got to take half chances and be ready to go in waves. I think we’ve got enough attacking firepower if we can figure out tactically how to get them working together.”

Everything Dambach mentioned has been put on display thus far, as the Nittany Lion offense has racked up 32 shots in two games.

The ability to work together has been a sight to see for Penn State fans, as Amelia White and Penelope Hocking have fit right in with the team.

If the Nittany Lions can be the first to find the back of the net, it may pay off in dividends by rattling the Mountaineer’s staunch defense.

The aggression on offense doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, which may pay off in the box score in a game that forward Payton Linnehan predicted to be “a bloodbath.”

In terms of the mentality, Dambach was happy to see where the team was after two games of hard work.

“Mentality is good and there’s a lot of excitement,” she said. “In terms of the momentum, part of our success is our depth and the competition within our own group to try to keep driving and push each other forward. I think it’s going to serve us well as we continue down this path.”


Penn State has cracked the top 10 after the opening week of competition.

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