COLUMBUS, Ohio Think the Ohio State Buckeyes were spooked this Halloween night about playing 11-time Big Ten champion and 21st-ranked Penn State on the road? Think again. Led by a school record-tying 35th career goal by Lisa Collison, the Buckeyes donned their road warrior outfits for this final game of the regular season and defeated Penn State, 1-0, in State College, Pa.
The win snaps a streak of 61 Big Ten games at Jeffrey Field without a loss for Penn State, dating to 1995, and it also gives Ohio State a huge boost of confidence heading into the Big Ten Conference tournament next week at Iowa City, Iowa. Complete final seeds are still to be determined, but the Buckeyes will be in their 13th conference tournament by virtue of their 5-5-0 league record that should have them seeded sixth and very possibly fifth. The team is 8-9-2 overall.
Penn State is 13-7-0 overall, 8-2-0 in the Big Ten and it will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next week.
“We put together a special game plan and we did a great job of executing it for 90 minutes,” Ohio State coach Lori Walker said. “We were going against the emotional flow of the day with it being senior day and Penn State getting the Big Ten trophy, but the credit goes to what our defense was able to do. The defense kept things organized and our kids believed in and executed the game plan.”
Collison’s goal came midway through an exciting first half. Sophomore central midfielder Courtney Jenkins sent a corner kick one of four in the half for Ohio State into the box that Ashley Bowyer headed toward Penn State All-American keeper Alyssa Naeher. The ball deflected off Naeher and Collison was there to score her seventh goal of the season from point blank range to tie Lisa Grubb on the all-time goal scoring list.
“I feel pretty good,” Collison said. “Mostly because it’s such an amazing feeling that we won. We believed we could do it and that’s what we did. The goal was kind of surreal at first. I thought to myself: did it just go in?’ The goalkeeper fumbled it and I ran in and poked it in as she was diving to save it.”
Penn State, ranked second in the conference in shots with 16.8 attempts per game, sent 12 at Ohio State keeper Lauren “Taz” Robertson in the first half including six on goal and a seventh that hit the goal post. But Robertson, playing her first game after missing four with a leg injury, made all six saves and thanked that great white post on the other shot on goal.
The second half stats were downright scary. Penn State sent 18 more shots toward the Ohio State goal, including five more on goal, but Taz was perfect on her way to securing her 17th career shutout, second on Ohio State’s all-time list.
Taz’s biggest save came inside of 10 minutes to play when a Penn State shot caromed off the cross bar. Second effort allowed Taz to pounce on the ball and hug the ball...literally on top of the line and much to the disappointment of the Penn State players, who were lobbying for the goal.
“Taz was unreal,” Collison said. “Penn State hit a few great shots, clear shots and her saves were simply unreal. She made several saves that had players on the sidelines holding their breath. She flew out of nowhere to make some saves and her leadership was evident. She stepped in like she had never left.”
Penn State finished with 30 shots and 11 on goal. Ohio State had just four shots, two on goal and no shots after Collison’s ultimate game-winner.
A game-winning goal Collison’s 13th and a record-tying goal: outside of the big win over an outstanding team, nothing could be sweeter on this night when sweet treats are everywhere.
Game Notes and Other Notes of Interest:
- Lori Walker, in post-game comments, cited the terrific, team defensive play and she also noted the effort off the bench by senior co-captain Amy Graeff. “Amy gave us great minutes and leadership off the bench,” Walker said.
- This won’t be in the statistics, but Lauren Beachy “did a great job marking” Penn State’s talented Danielle Toney, according to Walker. Toney leads the Nittany Lions with seven assists.
- Ohio State’s win snapped a streak of 61 consecutive games without at loss at Jeffrey Field for Penn State. Penn State had not lost at home in conference play since the 1995 season, going 59-0-2 vs. the conference in regular season games and 65-0-2 when Big Ten tournament games at Jeffrey Field are added to the mix.
- Penn State came into the game allowing just a shade over two corner kicks per game, but Ohio State’s effective and critical first-half attacks led to four corners, including one that led to the game-winning goal.
- Courtney Jenkins and Ashley Bowyer were each credited with assists on Collison’s goal.
- Bowyer’s assist increased her team-leading total to seven this season. The total is tied for fifth-most in a single season by a Buckeye. She has 11 career assists, good for a tie for 13th all-time at Ohio State with Caitlin Colfer.
- The win was Ohio State’s fifth vs. Penn State. No team has as many wins against the perennial conference champions as the Buckeyes.