Men’s Soccer Snaps Three-Game Skid, Shuts Out Loyola Marymount 3-0
In the wake of its recent three-game losing streak, Penn State looked to finish the season strong starting with a win against the Loyola Marymount Lions at home.
The Nittany Lions got the momentum on their side with two first half goals, followed by another one in the second half. Evan Finney got the start at goal and was the difference maker in the net, saving all five shot attempts by Loyola Marymount. With a stellar performance from both sides of the ball, Penn State was able to shut out Loyola Marymount, 3-0.
How It Happened
Penn State dominated the first half. The Nittany Lions attempted six shots against Loyola Marymount’s four shots. While the shot total was close, the first half was all Penn State’s. Sam Bollinger’s first shot found the back of the net by way of a header. The goal was assisted thanks to a cross by senior midfielder and Onward State staff writer Drew Klingenberg to take the lead, 1-0.
Loyola Marymount’s next two shot attempts were unsuccessful, and set up Penn State’s next possession. The Nittany Lions drove down the field in a hurry and capped off the possession with Connor Malony’s sixth goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Brian James and extended the lead over Loyola Marymount to 2-0. James and Robby Sagel received yellow cards in the first half.
The Nittany Lions played a very defensive game in the second half. After going up 2-0 in the first, the Nittany Lions took it slow on offense and kept a majority of the team in Penn State territory to help preserve the lead. Loyola Marymount came out aggressive in the second half, but couldn’t find the net once on four shots on goal. Goalkeeper Evan Finney ended the game with five saves.
However, even with the decreased offensive presence, the Nittany Lions were able to net their third goal of the night to put the game away. After attempting six shots in the first half, Penn State only shot twice in the second, with the third goal coming unassisted by Kyle MacDonald.
This was a different team out on the pitch on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions were able to strike first and add on to the lead, even against an aggressive opponent in the second half. The momentum from the first goal was what this team needed, and was ultimately what kept the game in Penn State’s favor. “We really learned from the Maryland game,” Klingenberg said. “I think scoring and keeping that scoreline is really crucial, especially as we head into the postseason.”
Coach Bob Warming was impressed with Evan Finney’s performance, and was not reluctant to name him the starter for the next match. “Evan [Finney] will get the start at Wisconsin after this performance,” Coach Warming said. ” I mean, how can you not? His performance tonight was unbelievable.” Warming also alluded to wanting Penn State to be known as “Goalkeeper U,” and believed that Finney displayed every characteristic of what that means during this performance.
Player Of The Game
“Evan Finney, Evan Finney, Evan Finney,” as Coach Warming said after the shutout win. Finney was on fire against the Lions, as he saved five shots en route to the shutout. His performance was also impressive because he found out he was starting less than three hours before kickoff. “Last year I had to go in at a moment’s notice, and that’s pretty much been my mentality,” Finney said. “I took the same mentality here and I had a blast tonight.” Finney has not allowed a goal in his career at when Penn State is at full strength, so he’ll have the chance to stay hot in the net as he’s expected to start the next game at Wisconsin this weekend.
Penn State will be on the road to take on Wisconsin on its Senior Night on Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 p.m., before coming to home for the Nittany Lions’ Senior Night against Northwestern on November 1 at 1:00 p.m.