Penn State men’s soccer (1-2-2, 0-1-0 Big Ten) dropped its first conference match 3-0 to Ohio State (5-1-0, 2-0-0) Tuesday night in Columbus. Three second-half goals carried the Buckeyes to a commanding win over a Penn State team that seemed to feel the effects of three consecutive double-overtime games.
How It Happened
Tuesday’s match saw senior forward Cameron Steele return to the Lions’ starting lineup after being sent off two weeks ago against Loyola Marymount. Freshman forward Ethan Beckford started alongside Christian Sload, the hero of Friday’s double-overtime win against St. Francis.
Ohio State recorded the first chance of the match when attacking midfielder Abdi Mohamed fired a low and powerful shot just wide of Penn State goalkeeper Evan Finney’s right post. The Nittany Lions looked vulnerable in the first fifteen minutes of the half, and were often pinned in their own defensive end by the Buckeyes’ aggressive pressing.
Penn State’s back three failed to clear a skipping cross in the 14th minute, allowing Ohio forward Micheal Prosuk to fire a half volley that missed just high of Finney’s crossbar.
Sam Bollinger continued to look dangerous on the right side of the Lions’ attack, providing several crosses and recording a shot, which was blocked, in the 22nd minute.
But Ohio State continued to press. Mohamed’s 35-yard swerving free kick almost snuck beneath the Lions’ crossbar, but missed high in the 29th minute. He hit another skipping free kick from the same distance less than a minute later, but Finney made the save and held on to the ball.
Penn State nearly scored against the run of play late in the first half when Steele volleyed a Bollinger cross just wide. Brennan Ireland’s last-ditch slide tackle less than ten yards from the Nittany Lions’ goal in the 38th minute kept the match scoreless going into halftime.
But it was clear that Ohio State had dominated first half play, outshooting the Lions 8-4. Penn State Head Coach Bob Warming acknowledged that his team looked “sluggish” in a halftime interview. He cited three double-overtime games in the past two weeks as a reason for the Lions’ tired legs.
The Buckeyes carried their momentum into the second half. Ohio’s Irish center-back Niall Logue opened the scoring in the 49th minute, blasting a free kick under the Penn State wall and just inside the near post.
Senior forward Nate Kohl added to the Buckeyes’ tally in the 55th minute, making a quick-footed dribbling run into the Penn State penalty box and finishing coolly under Finney’s outstretched arm.
Penn State failed to gain attacking traction in the second half. Hard-running forward Aymar Sigue almost pulled one back for the Blue and White in the 81st minute, but his shot missed wide.
Ohio State continued to control possession, and tacked on a third goal in the 84th minute when outside back Kevin Blackwood found forward Mitch Bergman with a perfectly weighted cross. Bergman’s cushioned header found the side netting of the Lion’s far post, eliminating any hopes of a Nittany Lion comeback and continuing the Buckeyes’ perfect start to Big Ten play.
Player Of The Match
Abdi Mohamed | Junior | Midfielder
Ohio State’s star midfielder set the tempo of his team’s passing and recorded eight shots against the Lions.
The Nittany Lions host annual powerhouse Maryland (4-0-1) at Jeffrey Field on Sunday, September 17.