[PENN STATE-NEBRASKA] Whitney Church's first collegiate goal in the 79th minute was the difference as No. 17 Penn State withstood a furious charge from Nebraska to win, 5-4, in a barn-burner Friday night at Jeffrey Field.
The game featured the duel between Penn State's Maya Hayes and the Huskers' Morgan Marlborough, who are battling for the national scoring lead. Hayes went into the game first in the nation with 18 goals, and Marlborough was tied for second with 16, but Hayes' goal in the third minute was the only goal either player would contribute to this goalfest.
The Lions led 1-0 and 4-2 but the Huskers would not give up.
Nebraska got the first collegiate goals from freshmen Mayme Conroy and Caroline Gray, and Maddie Hanssler's goal off a Marlborough corner kick tied the score at 4-4 three minutes before Church struck with the winner.
Ali Schaefer lofted a curling corner to Carly Niness, who headed a short ball to Church, who put the goal away to the delight of the nearly 800 fans in attendance.
“Nebraska had great fight tonight,” Penn State coach Erica Walsh said. “Nebraska’s fight and determination was absolutely fantastic and I think that’s a team on a given day can beat anyone in the country. I’m not happy about giving up four goals at home, but we found a way to win with some injuries. We only had 13 players [play on Friday] and I’m really proud of them tonight.”
Penn State (6-1-0 in conference play) stretched its Big Ten lead to five points. The Huskers have dropped five straight conference games after opening their first year of Big Ten play with two wins.