Men’s Soccer Fall Short in Big Ten Championship
The Penn State men’s soccer team could not come back to win a third game in a row on Sunday afternoon. An unlucky early goal and some inconsistent calls from the referee seemed to take the Nittany Lions mentally out of the game, leading to a 4-1 defeat to Michigan.
Like the first two Big Ten Tournament games Penn State played, the opposition scored first. In the fifth minute, there was a miscommunication between Penn State’s goalkeeper and defender, leading to an easy open-net goal for Michigan. Being down early, the Nittany Lions tried to press the action, which led to even more problems. In the 14th minute, Michigan’s Justin Meram eluded several defenders and scored to make it 2-0. He followed up that goal with another in the 31st minute. The first half ended with a goal from senior Drew Cost, giving the Nittany Lions some hope down 3-1 at the half.
Penn State came out in the second half with a very offensive line-up to try to make a comeback. Any hope the Nittany Lions had, however, was dashed in the 53rd minute. A Michigan counterattack led to a shot that eluded freshman goalie Brendan Birmingham, but sophomore Brian Forgue seemed to have saved the day by heading the ball clear. However, the referee called a handball on Forgue, giving him a red card and awarding Michigan a penalty kick that they converted, making them the Big Ten Champions.
The Nittany Lions now await the draw for the NCAA Tournament. The field will consist of 48 teams that are separated into groups of three. The highest seeded team in the group gets a bye to the second round with games being played at various campus sites. The first round will be held on November 18, and the second round will take place on November 21.