Men’s Soccer Downs Detroit Mercy 2-0 at Jeffrey Field
Penn State men’s soccer (2-3-2, 0-2-0 Big Ten) defeated Detroit Mercy (4-3-1) 2-0 on Tuesday night with goals from Mitchel Bringolf and Mac Curran.
How It Happened
Wednesday’s match began with a feeling of Nittany-Lion optimism. Maybe it was a hunger for a win after Sunday’s disheartening defeat to Maryland, more experimental lineup shifts or the home debut of the team’s classy new blue kits.
Whatever it was, it inspired a burst of initial attacking flare that has been missing from Penn State’s play this season. Aaron Molloy, Penn State’s midfield general with the perfect combination of Andres Iniesta’s swivel hips and Scott Parker’s bite, got things started in the fourth minute. Beating Detroit’s left back with a classic Houdini turn on the touchline, he dribbled into the box and forced goalkeeper Robbie Beckwell to make a high reflex-safe.
Austin Maloney cut in from the right four minutes later, but his scuffed shot missed wide. Center-back-turned-attacking-midfielder Callum Pritchatt, who loves a good long shot, then made a powerful run down the middle, but his 25-yard effort missed wide.
And then the game settled down. Despite captain Dani Mark’s calls of “Come on boys, energy,” Penn State settled into a largely uneventful spell of possession. Detroit looked dangerous only through the driving, dangerous runs of attacking midfielder Spiro Pilakos. Brennan Ireland was forced to make a diving, shutout-saving header, and the Nittany Lions almost conceded to a well-worked counter attack in the 22nd minute, but Detroit’s Adam Clauss couldn’t finish.
Malloy’s brilliance seemed to break the deadlock in the 26th, when his slipped through ball found Aymar Sigue who finished coolly under the the legs of Beckwell. But the hard-running Canadian was judged offside, and the first half ended scoreless.
Top-scoring forward Christian Sload almost ended Penn State’s goal drought when he latched onto Noah Pilato’s perfect cross in the 51st minute, but his toe-poke missed wide. It was the tough-tackling center back Mitchel Bringolf who finally brought the rain a minute later, latching onto a mis-clearance and tapping the ball into Detroit’s open net.
Forward Mac Curran layered a left-footed shot into the top of the net in the 69th minute, and the Nittany Lions were officially in control. Center back Ryan Holland almost connected with an audacious long shot. Sload came close to collecting his second goal of the season when his shot was parried wide by Beckwell in the 78th.
Penn State’s shutout was almost shattered when Jake Poorman’s pile driver hit the crossbar late in the match. But the Nittany Lions were able to clear their lines, finish the match and win with a final score of 2-0.
Time will tell as to whether Tuesday’s match marks a turning point in the Lions’ lackluster season. A solid performance from the team’s defense, and an invigorated group of forward missing arguably its best forward, Pierre Reedy, seem to be improvements.
Player of the Match
Mitchel Bringolf | Sophomore | Defender
The center back was solid throughout the match, and contributed offensively with his first goal of the season.
The Nittany Lions host big ten opponent Wisconsin (3-2-2) in Madison on Saturday, September 23.
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