No. 5 Ohio State Stuns No. 1 Penn State in Big Ten Tournament Semifinal
COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State outscored No. 1 seed Penn State, 5-4, on penalty kicks to win a thrilling Big Ten Conference Tournament semifinal at the University of Minnesota and advance to the championship game Sunday against either Purdue or Illinois.
Alex Burzynski and Carla Arbulu had goals in regulation for the Buckeyes to counter Penn State markers by Danielle Toney and Katie Schoepfer. In the penalty kick shootout, all five Ohio State attempts by Lara Dickenmann, Lisa Collison, Burzynski, Courtney Jenkins and Ashley Bowyer were successful. Goalkeeper Lauren Robertson’s save on Penn State’s second attempt would ultimately prove to be the game-deciding play.
The win advances the 12-8-1, No. 5 seed Buckeyes to their fourth Big Ten championship game. Ohio State is 2-1 in title games with wins in 2004 (over Penn State) and 2002 (over Wisconsin) and a loss in 1998 to Penn State.
For the Buckeyes, who came into the tournament realistically needing a win to bolster their NCAA Tournament prospects, they have done that and more. They have improved their post-season outlook by winning a critical game against one of the best team’s in the nation.
The Buckeyes needed determination, focus, resiliency and fierce effort in order to defeat Penn State. That is because Penn State sent wave after wave of attacks at the Buckeyes, firing 32 shots for the game with 12 on goal. After Lara Dickenmann had the first shot of the game less than two minutes into the contest, Penn State sent 11 consecutive shots toward the Ohio State goal between the 13- and 21-minute marks. Five of the shots were on goal (and handled successfully by sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Robertson) with Katie Schoepfer the aggressor with five shots.
But it was Ohio State that struck successfully first. Courtney Jenkins sent a corner kick into the box in the 23rd minute. Ohio State didn’t get a shot off, but maintained control of the ball. Lauren Beachy passed to Keiana Mitchell who found Alex Burzynski and it took the freshman no time to score her team-leading sixth goal of the season into the upper right corner of the net.
The half ended with Ohio State holding on to the 1-0 lead despite Penn State having 14 shot attempts with five on goal. Ohio State picked up the pace offensively after Burzynski’s goal to finish with six first half shots and three on goal.
Penn State continued its offensive assault in the second half, firing 12 more shots compared to four for the Buckeyes. Ohio State held on to the lead until the 78th minute, when Penn State struck twice within a two-minute span. First, Danielle Toney scored at 76:57 from the middle of the box on Penn State’s 24th shot of the game. Less than three minutes later Schoepfer found the back of the net for her 14th goal of the year to give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
It was a cold night in Minnesota and the Buckeyes had just fallen behind a 16-win champion, a 10-time Big Ten champion rated No. 1 nationally by the Ratings Percentage Index. The Buckeyes didn’t quit, though. Instead, they attacked, just like they did three weeks ago when they trailed Minnesota on this very same field this late in the game. Ohio State came back to win that game in overtime after a tying goal in the 85th minute by senior Amanda Ball. And they would do it against Penn State, too.
Senior Carla Arbulu, playing as much as her sore leg will allow and as determined as any player on the Ohio State roster, took a feed from Lisa Collison and tied the score with the clock reading 85:13. It was Arbulu’s second goal this year and her first since the second game of the season.
Overtime. There were four shots and three were by Penn State’s Schoepfer. Robertson was forced to make just one save. It was her ninth of the game.
Second overtime. There were just two shots both by Schoepfer who finished with 12 shots (two on goal) with each team picking up a second yellow card.
Then came the penalty kick shootout, where each team gets five shots. Coach Lori Walker in a thoughtful piece of coaching...perhaps forecasting in her mind things to come later in the week put her team through a penalty kick drill to finish a practice on Tuesday of this week. The team hadn’t been involved in a penalty kick shootout all year. It had been years, in fact. But one wouldn’t have known it because, against Penn State, one-by-one those five Buckeyes stepped to the line and scored.
Way to go, Buckeyes.
Game Notes and Good Stuff:
Soccer Game Summary (Final)
Ohio State (12-8-1) vs. Penn State (16-3-2)
Goals by period 1 2 OT O2 Tot
Shots: Ohio State 10, Penn State 32