Offensive struggles loom over Penn State women’s soccer as conference play heats up | Penn State Soccer News

Offensive struggles loom over Penn State women’s soccer as conference play heats up | Penn State Soccer News

After getting off to a hot offensive start this season, it has not been smooth sailing as of late for Penn State.

The blue and white have struggled on offense, and the last few games have felt like a far cry from the beginning of the season when the team was on fire offensively.

In the first four games of the season, the Nittany Lions scored two or more goals in every game. Since then, they have reached that goal mark just once.

Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes marks the fourth consecutive game that the Nittany Lions have scored one goal or less.

Coming into the game with nearly identical records, the Buckeyes were able to stymie the blue and white’s attack and hand the team to its third straight loss.

At 0-3 in conference play now, Penn State is now tied with Illinois at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with no conference wins.

Coach Erica Dambach knew that Ohio State played well on Jeffrey Field, but she felt that the Nittany Lions left too many opportunities uncapitalized on Sunday.

“Tough Sunday afternoon game. Ohio State came in here and set themselves up in a way that we had a hard time breaking them down,” Dambach said. “At this point, we gotta make some of our own luck right now.”

As it stands, the offense has not been clicking nearly as much as it was in the beginning of the season, and Dambach has taken notice of that.

Penn State team members cheer in the sidelines during Penn State Womens Soccer game against Northwestern at Jeffrey Field on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in University Park, Pa. The Wildcats beat the Nittany Lions 2-1.

When asked about the biggest difference in the offense since the start of the season, Dambach said that her team hasn’t been taking its chances and “putting them in the back of the net.”

“These are huge chances. You’re standing in front of the goal, it’s you and the goalkeeper and you gotta finish those,” Dambach said. “Against Virginia, we finished those chances, so the difference is the same quality of chances, same moments and just not putting them in the back of the net.

“How do you change that? You get back on the training field and you build your confidence.”

Coming off their third straight loss and an 0-3 start in Big Ten play, Dambach knows that the attitude and mentality of the team must change in order to get back on track.

“For us, it’s a little bit with each player and staff member of figuring out how to get 1% better and doing it together,” said Dambach. “It’s keeping each person switched on and keyed in, and these guys are locked in.”

“I can’t fault the effort and mentality right now. We just got to keep working hard on the training field and get some belief.”

While a lack of effort isn’t what is bringing the Nittany Lions down, the lack of results on the field is what is concerning. Recent results put the team at a crossroads as Big Ten play heats up.

Dambach’s team will head out on the road and look to get back on track at Wisconsin and Minnesota this week before beginning a three game homestand.


No. 12 Penn State women’s soccer falls to Ohio State, stays winless in Big Ten play

Facing a defeat on Sunday, No. 12 Penn State was left searching for its first Big Ten victory.

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