Sam Coffey’s Penn State Nittany Lions advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 5-0 win over Alabama State. Portland Thorns FC’s second pick of the 2021 NWSL Draft helped lead Penn State to the Big Ten Regular season title.
The Nittany Lions got off to a quick start. In the second minute, Coffey’s corner kick found the head of Ally Schlegel, but the header was saved off the cross bar.
Coffey ran the show from the first whistle. She drove at the defense with the ball and tried to play defense-splitting passes to Schlegel, Payton Linnehan and Frankie Tagliaferri.
Tagliaferri made it 1-0 after she intercepted a clearance in the Alabama State penalty area and dispatched calmly. She doubled the lead after Linnehan squared to Tagliaferri on the top of the six-yard box.
Linnehan scored the third goal after being played through on goal courtesy of a lofted ball from Coffey. Coffey was subbed out along with other Nittany Lions starters after the third goal. Minutes later Olivia Damico scored a tap-in, making it 4-0.
Coffey returned to the pitch to start the second half. Alabama made good adjustments and possessed and pressed much better at the start of the second half, but the Nittany Lions maintained control throughout the match. Penn State added a fifth and final goal in the second half courtesy of an own goal.
Penn State will take on Vanderbilt on May 1 at 12 p.m (Pacific) at WakeMed Field #4 in Cary, North Carolina.