Soccer upsets No. 3 Penn State, 2-1
AUSTIN, Texas -- The University of Texas women's soccer team made its 2006 home debut a memorable one, as the Longhorns used single goals by senior Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and junior Kelsey Carpenter (Allen, Texas) to upset No. 3 ranked Penn State, 2-1, Friday evening at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.
The Longhorns evened their season mark at 1-1, while the Nittany Lions went to 1-2-1 with the setback.
The game was played in front of 2,614 fans, the fifth-largest home crowd in UT soccer history.
With the score knotted at 1-1, Carpenter netted the game-winning tally three minutes, 17 seconds into the second half. The play began when Lelie Imber (Houston, Texas) took a pass from outside the box and chested the ball down. PSU goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher charged out and Carpenter chipped the ball over the charging Neaher for the 2-1 edge.
In the final 24 minutes of regulation, Penn State challenged for the equalizer, but UT sophomore goalkeeper Dianna Pfenniger (Sugar Land, Texas) responded to the Nittany Lions attack.
With 24 minutes left, PSU's Sheree Gray went on a breakaway down the right side, and, one-on-one with Pfenninger, sent her shot past the dive of the UT goalie, and the ball hit the far post and bounced away before being cleared by the Texas defense.
With 16:30 left, PSU's Katie Schooepher had an open shot from 12 yards out but sent the ball into the side of the net. With 3:18 to go, Pfenninger came up with a final big save when she stopped a point-blank shot from Schoepher from 12 yards out.
The win over third-ranked Penn State was UT's first over a top-10 opponent since the Longhorns defeated Kansas twice in 2004. The Jayhawks were ranked sixth during the regular season when UT won, 1-0 in double-overtime during the regular season, and KU was seventh nationally a few weeks later when the Longhorns upended them 3-2 in another double OT win in the 2004 Big 12 Championship semifinals.
The last UT victory over a top-five ranked opponent took place on Oct. 12, 2001 when the No. 20 Longhorns upset fourth-ranked Nebraska, 2-1, in Austin.
"It's nice to see (our team) get rewarded for all their hard work," said Petrucelli, winning in his first match ever against Penn State. "They had character and determination tonight and won on effort and fight more than anything else. (Amy scoring first) was big for all of us.
"Our reaction to their goal was excellent," continued Petrucelli. "We played harder and that's what you want in a team. When you face a tough moment, you want them to bounce back and that's exactly what we did."
Texas scored the game's first goal 17:10 into the match when senior Amy Burlingham netted the team's first score of the year on a 10-yard shot. The play developed following a goal kick by Pfenninger.
Pfenninger's kick was lofted to senior defender Karen Haight (Beaverton, Ore.) , who headed the ball to Burlingham. Burlingham carried the ball upfield and beat two Penn State defenders before sending a 10-yard shot towards goal. The shot deflected off Penn State goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher's body and into the far left corner of the nets.
"Our whole team worked really well together tonight," said an estactic Pfenninger. "We wanted to put everything behind us and come out tonight and play hard."
Penn State scored the equalizer with 4:49 left in the first half as freshman Akilah Duggan netted an unassisted goal. Following a deflection at midfield, Duggan picked up the loose ball and carried it to the top left corner of the penalty box where she split two defenders and sent a 16-yard shot toward the goal. The ball bounced off the near post into the goal.
In the first half, the Longhorns were out-shot, 7-1, as UT scored on its lone shot of the period. PSU also had a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.
Texas responded offensively in the final half, and cut the shots on goal edge to two, as PSU had 12 shots on goal and Texas had 10.
For the game, the Nittany Lions out-shot the Longhorns, 19-11. Penn State finished with nine corner kicks, while UT had two.
Pfenninger posted the win by making seven saves. Her counterpart Naeher finished with four saves.
The Longhorns return to action on Sunday, Sept. 3 when they host No. 13 Illinois at Myers Stadium. That game is set for 1 p.m. (Central).