Penn State returned to the NCAA Division I women's championship game for second time in four years as it defeated Big Ten rival Rutgers, 2-0. The shutout win was the fifth in five games in this year's
NCAA Tournament and extended the Nittany Lions' margin of victory to 19-0 in the postseason.
In a defensive struggle, Penn State took the lead on the first shot of the game by either team
in the 24th minute as sophomore Frannie Crouse
intercepted a Rutgers pass and beat Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Casey Murphy
for her 11th goal of the year.
"I saw that
they were going to play the ball back, and I kind of felt like I was cherry picking," Crouse said. "Unfortunate for them, they mishit the ball or misjudged how hard they hit it, and I just kind of
went in and took it." Mallory Weber
almost made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, but her shot from the six yards out hit the left post and bounced back into the hands of Murphy.
Fourteen minutes later, freshman Kaleigh Riehl
scored her first collegiate goal to seal the win after Rutgers failed to clear a corner kick from Emily Ogle
Lion keeper Britt Eckerstrom
needed to make only one save of the night as Penn State extended it shutout streak dating back to the 77th minute of the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Dec. 4 in Cary, North Carolina
Penn State 2 Rutgers 0.
Goals: Crouse 24, Riehl 79.
Penn State --
Eckerstrom, Basinger, Riehl, Elliston, Ball, Ogle, Rodriguez,
Driesse, Schafer, Crouse, Weber. Subs: Williams, Jean, Echard, Ortega-Jurado, Sheva.
Murphy, Skroski, Reed, Smith, Morash, Wright, Katkowski, Valliant, Inacio, Tiernan,
Ciarrocca. Subs: Cole, Ryan, Benintente, Andresen, Walters, Prager. Att.: