Everyone thought No. 1 Penn State was unbeatable.

Last night at U-M Soccer Field, the No. 8 seed Wolverines proved everyone wrong.

With 6:25 to play in regulation, Michigan senior forward Therese Heaton put the Wolverines ahead 3-2 on a flick from freshman Danelle Underwood on a Michigan corner kick. Michigan held the lead for the next six minutes, and it looked as if it had achieved the impossible and beaten undefeated Penn State (10-0-1 Big Ten, 19-0-1 overall). But with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Penn State forward Tiffany Weimer scored on a penalty kick to tie the game 3-3 and send the first-round game of the Big Ten Tournament into sudden death overtime.

“The calls, maybe they didn’t go the way we thought they should have, but we didn’t let that get in the way of us fighting hard until the end,” Heaton said

Michigan (3-6-2, 7-8-4) fought off the Nittany Lions for two 10-minute sudden-death overtimes and, finally, the Wolverines won the game on penalty kicks, outscoring the Nittany Lions 4-2.

Michigan started out strong, winning balls in the middle of the field, but, four minutes into the game, the Nittany Lions soon showed the crowd why they are the nation’s top-ranked team. Penn State freshman Sheree Gray carried the ball from one end of the field to the other, finally crossing it from the far sideline. Weimer headed the ball toward the right side of the net and Penn State midfielder Ali Krieger was there to dump it in.

With nice touches and major speed in the midfield, Penn State kept the pressure on.

But just when it looked like the Nittany Lions’ speed and skill were too much for the Wolverines to handle, sophomore Melissa Dobbyn gave Michigan a glimmer of hope. Stuck on the right sideline, Dobbyn lifted the ball into the air, and it sailed just over the outstretched hand of Penn State senior goal keeper Erin McLeod, crossing the goal line inches below the crossbar to tie the game at one.

“OK, that first shot was sick, first of all – unbelievable,” said junior Brenna Mulholland, who scored Michigan’s final penalty kick to seal the victory. “(Dobbyn’s goal was) crucial. That sets the tone for the rest of the game. It gets the momentum going.”

The goal raised the Wolverines’ intensity, but Penn State quickly responded to regain the lead 3-2. Freshman Allie Long carried the ball down the field and dished it out wide to Weimer, who sent a cross into senior Carmelina Moscato. Moscato cashed in, sending the ball over diving Michigan goalie Megan Tuura.

“We knew at halftime, we were in the game,” Heaton said. “The goals they scored weren’t anything special. They were things we could clean up defensively. And we knew – this was it, this was our season. If we lost, we were going home. We were done. And the seniors weren’t ready to be done; our teammates weren’t ready to be done. We weren’t going to hang up the cleats tonight. So we fought to the end.”

Michigan looked like a different team in the second half and put pressure on the Penn State defense from the start. Three and a half minutes into the half, Heaton found herself with the ball at her feet at the top of the box. She turned and shot, notching her first goal of the game and tying the game at two.

Michigan will face No. 4 Illinois at 7:30 p.m. today at U-M Soccer Field in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament.

Because yesterday’s game was recorded as a tie, the Wolverines must beat Illinois and win the Big Ten Championship game to raise their winning percentage above .500 and become eligible for the NCAA Tournament.

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