Two More Overtime Games for Men’s Soccer
In all honesty, there was nothing easy about the Wednesday match against UMBC. It was bitterly cold and there were few supporters in the stands. In addition to the conditions, senior Matheus Braga and junior Corey Hertzog, regular starters, began the game on the bench.
Penn State controlled possession early, but UMBC struck first. A bad giveaway at midfield led to a breakaway for UMBC. Redshirt freshman goalie Brendan Birmingham made the initial save, but could not stop the second-chance effort. Braga and Hertzog both started the second half, and they would provide the difference. The Nittany Lions had the majority of chances in the half, with Hertzog scoring in the 76th minute to tie the game. Momentum was on Penn State’s side, but the score remained tied. In overtime, things were even until the 99th minute, when a UMBC player curled a beautiful shot into the corner of the net. This goal handed Penn State a disappointing 2-1 loss.
The Nittany Lions match with Ohio State on Saturday had added importance because of the loss midweek, and Penn State turned in a better effort. Penn State had better chances in the first half, but the game remained scoreless. In the second, Ohio State were able to score first, capitalizing on a free kick just outside the box in the 63rd minute. The Nittany Lions fought back, with Braga scoring on a counterattack in the 77th. He faked out one defender before blasting a shot into the side of the net.
The game went to overtime with both teams having plenty of chances. With about four minutes left in the first overtime, an Ohio State player appeared to have been brought down just outside the Penn State box. The foul went uncalled, setting up another Nittany Lion counter. Braga sent a long pass to the feet of senior Treavor Gelsinger. With the Ohio State keeper off of his line, Gelsinger chipped the ball over his head and into the goal, to the delight of the large crowd in attendance.
The Ohio State match was the final regular season home game for Penn State. Braga, Gelsinger, senior Andres Casais and redshirt senior Andy Parr were all honored after the game, which was also senior day. With the win, Penn State is now 9-5-1 overall and 2-2-1 in the Big Ten, tied for second in the conference. They have three road games to finish the season before hosting the Big Ten tournament in November.
Wednesday: at Penn, 7:30 p.m.
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