Nittany Lions Drop Double Overtime Heartbreaker to No. 9 Akron

It was a kick straight out of a FIFA video game. With four minutes to go in the second overtime period, Akron’s Aodhan Quinn drilled a 25-yard free kick from the right wing into the back of net to bury the Nittany Lions 2-1 in Akron.

Through a stiff rain, Quinn’s kick sailed over a wall of defenders then bent sharply, ducking into the top-left corner just past Penn State keeper Andrew Wolverton’s diving body. Quinn’s goal, his second off a free kick in the game, abruptly put an end to what would have been the No. 11 Nittany Lions’ biggest win of the season.

Penn State (11-6-1) scored first on Connor Maloney’s shot from ten yards out 39 minutes into the contest. It was an impressive first career goal for the freshman. He received a cross from Michael Gonzalez near the penalty area and booted a half-volley into the net.

The Lions survived countless attacks throughout the rest of the half and for the majority of the second half. Eight minutes before the end of regulation, Quinn netted his first goal on a penalty kick to equalize the match at 1-1. In the ensuing celebration, Penn State’s Akil Howard got entangled in a small scuffle and was disqualified. Howard’s actions left the Nittany Lions shorthanded throughout overtime.

As a result, the Zips increased the tempo, constantly threatening the Nittany Lions defense. In the first overtime period, they outshot the Lions 6-1. Wolverton remained poised, matching his career high with nine saves. Akron outshot Penn State 32 to 10.

Penn State’s steady goaltending and defending ultimately fell short in the second overtime period. After a Penn State penalty, Quinn knocked his game winner into the goal and was mobbed by his teammates at midfield.

The loss serves as Penn State’s second double overtime defeat in a row. Last Saturday, it fell to Ohio State 1-0 in Columbus. The Lions have lost to the Zips five consecutive times and are 13-16-5 against them overall. Further, the Big Ten regular season champion Nittany Lions dropped to 2-3-1 in overtime games this year.

With a week to recover, Penn State will enjoy its first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament before it plays on Friday, November 15 in the semifinals. The game will be broadcast at noon on Big Ten Network.

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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