The Washington Spirit defeated Penn State 2-0 in front of nearly 3,000 fans in its second contest of the preseason. After a scoreless first half, Crystal Dunn scored a close-range goal in the run of play and Christine Nairn earned a goal off of a low-curling free kick.
Although neither team was able to score in the first half both sides had dangerous looks on goal. In the 27th minute Penn State forward Frannie Crouse won the ball while applying pressure in the midfield. Crouse drove the ball into the Spirit half and drilled a shot toward Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys, but her shot bounced off of the crossbar.
The Spirit saw its first goal of the game shortly after the start of the second half. In the 47th minute Spirit forward and 2016 draft pick Cheyna Williams sped toward the endline left of the goal. Williams played a cross back toward fellow forward Dunn who fired a ball into the upper right of the net bringing the score to 1-0 in favor of Washington.
The Spirit doubled its lead in the 71st minute after two shots by Francisca Ordega were drilled off of the crossbar in the penalty box. A foul on Penn State allowed midfielder and free kick specialist Nairn a free kick opportunity just outside of the box. Nairn’s driven shot on the ground curled past Penn State defenders into the lower left hand corner of the net.
Penn State had a chance to pull a goal back in the 69th minute when forward Charlotte Williams created a breakaway in the midfield. Spirit center back Estelle Johnson challenged Williams in the box, hindering her advance and forcing her shot directly into the hands of recently arrived Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.
Six minutes later Penn State nearly scored an own goal when goalkeeper Amanda Dennis was caught out slightly off her line. Penn State defender Elizabeth Ball made a diving effort to clear the ball out ahead of Dennis, but sent the ball rolling backward toward the net and just outside the right post.
When asked about the team’s victory over the reigning Division I National Champions, Washington Spirit’s head coach Jim Gabarra stated, “It was better than it was last game. I think the tempo was much better, what we’re asking them to do is not easy…. It was good to be able to play that way and get that kind of result. “
Next week the Spirit will continue its preseason run with an intrasquad scrimmage on April 2nd.
Washington Spirit Lineup: Megan Oyster, Shelina Zadorsky (Estelle Johnson 60’), Christine Nairn, Diana Matheson (Whitney Church 60’), Ali Krieger, Katie Stengel (Francisca Ordega 45’), Kelsey Wys (Stephanie Labbé 45’), Crystal Dunn (Tiffany Weimer 77’), Cheyna Williams (Hayley Raso 70’), Alyssa Kleiner (Caprice Dydasco 45’), Tori Huster (Joanna Lohman 45’)
Penn State Lineup: Brittany Basinger, Maddie Elliston, Elizabeth Ball, Frannie Crouse (Megan Schafer 31’, Maddie Elliston 65’), Charlotte Williams, Ellie Jean, Alina Ortega-Jurado (Lilsi Vink-Lainas 42’), Haleigh Echard (Cecilia Knuab 38’ Salina Williford 84’), Salina Williford (Emily Ogle 31’, Emma Hasco 71’, Cecilia Knaub 84’), Nikolette Driesse, Rose Chandler (Amanda Dennis 45’)
TEAM 1st 2nd FULL
Washington Spirit 0 2 2
Penn State 0 0 0
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 47 Spirit Crystal Dunn Cheyna Williams
2 73 Spirit Christine Nairn
CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS
Time Team ## Player Card Reason