Penn State women’s soccer looks to continue strong nonconference play

Penn State women’s soccer looks to continue strong nonconference play

Penn State bounced back after losing 2-1 to UCLA and picked up another important out of conference win, shutting out James Madison on Thursday by a score of 3-0.

The No. 5 ranked Nittany Lions will be continuing their out of conference schedule as they go head-to-head in a battle against Wake Forest at 6 p.m. Sunday night.

Despite a home field advantage for the Demon Deacons, the match is likely to be close and competitive.

Wake Forest’s Estelle Laurier, Ryanne Brown, Bayley Feist and Peyton Perea will be strong contenders to test the strength and skill of the Nittany Lions defense and goalkeeping during Sunday’s battle.

Last season, the Demon Deacons made the NCAA tournament and have proven to be a solid out of conference match up for the Nittany Lions, including in the most recent meetings for the two sides. The last time Penn State met Wake Forest was during the second round of the 2017 NCAA tournament, ending in a 2-0 win for the Nittany Lions.

In nonconference games like Wake Forest, coach Erica Dambach hopes to bring more than a win back to Happy Valley. Dambach aims to come away with more knowledge of the game to better prepare Penn State for teams in the Big Ten.

She also felt that her team didn’t necessarily play up to its standard against the Bruins, making it important to grow from these games.

“I didn’t think the quality of soccer was where it should be but it’s August and that’s what you would expect right now,” Dambach said after a loss against UCLA. “I think it’s the team that grows the most over these next few months that will be the one that’s there in December.”

Dambach sees her team with a lot of potential to grow as the season progresses. It’s the tough nonconference matches like Wake Forest that Dambach and the players find bring them success as they begin games in their conference.

Senior Emily Ogle echoed a similar sentiment and said the main goal is ultimately to improve and for Penn State to be the best team it can come tournament time.

“We were better this weekend than we were last weekend,” senior Emily Ogle said after UCLA. “It’s just all about getting better each and every day. It’s only August and we want to be the best versions of ourselves in December.”

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