PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Men’s Soccer Gearing Up To Face No. 5 Indiana In Big Ten Quarterfinals

When Penn State Men’s soccer traveled to New Jersey to face Rutgers two weeks ago, the team’s season seemed like a lost cause. The Lions had won a total of three games, scored only eight goals in 13 matches, and languished at the bottom of the Big Ten table alongside the Scarlet Knights and Northwestern.

Then, with gritty determination and an offensive explosion, the Nittany Lions clawed their way out of a season-long rut. They crushed Rutgers 6-2 in their finest attacking display of the year that day, and followed up their impressive victory with back-to-back wins against James Madison and Northwestern.

This revival has placed them safely in the No. 7 seed spot and quarterfinals of this month’s Big Ten tournament. They’ll face the tournament’s No. 2 seed, national powerhouse No. 5 Indiana, in Bloomington on Sunday. Penn State lost to Indiana at Jeffrey Field in an intense, single-goal game earlier in the season.

Due to a rule change in 2009, the team with the most points in the conference at the end of the regular season is seeded first in the Big Ten tournament. The winner of the tournament earns an automatic berth in the NCAA national playoffs.

Penn State has never won the Big Ten playoff tournament, despite several first-place finishes at the end of the regular season, the most recent coming in 2013. The Nittany Lions haven’t made it past the quarterfinals since 2011. To improve on this record and have a chance against the Hoosiers on Sunday, the Lions will need to capitalize on a tactical change and several in-form players who have contributed to their end-of-season winning streak.

Four Defenders  

For the past two seasons, head coach Bob warming has favored a three-center back, two-wingback system that has left his team vulnerable on the counterattack and constricted its width going forward. By moving his two wingbacks to true, reserved outside-back positions, and starting captain Dani Marks and sophomore Brandon Hackenberg in the center of defense against Northwestern, Warming opened crucial wide space for Ethan Beckford and Aymar Sigue to exploit.

This move also provided a more solid defensive base for the team that severely limited Northwestern’s opportunities in the first half. Defensive strength will be crucial against Indiana’s lethal attack, making the back four a smart move for the long term.

Aaron Molloy and Ethan Beckford 

Penn State’s attacking strength is derived from the resurgent Ethan Beckford (three goals in three games) and midfield magician Aaron Molloy. Molloy is best when deployed as a deep, defensive midfielder and gets forward to shoot or assist from outside the box — or the half. Beckford is most dangerous when dribbling in from the outside to shoot or pass. Both must be free to work their magic against Indiana.

Josh Levine

The redshirt freshman goalkeeper has been outstanding for the Nittany Lions this season, averaging an impressive six saves a game since replacing senior Evan Finney as Warming’s first choice. He will face plenty of shots against the Hoosiers, who have scored 37 goals this season. It’s crucial to the Lions’ title hopes that the young goalkeeper continues to play well.

About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is your classic confused and undecided sophomore in Penn State's Division of Undergraduate studies and a staff writer for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

Comments

Athletics

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Former Penn State women’s gymnastics head coach Jeff Thompson has filed a lawsuit against the university following the termination of his contract in February 2017. Thompson, alongside his wife and associate head coach Rachelle Thompson, was accused by former gymnasts and an assistant coach of creating a hostile team environment. The Thompsons allegedly pressured athletes to compete […]

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Penn State Women’s Soccer Adds Swiss Forward Kim Dubs

Student Life

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love you to join us.

Pennharmonics To Hold 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Submit Your Proposal For The 2019 Class Gift

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love you to join us.

Mayor Don Hahn Asks Borough Council To Consider Changes To Proposed Overnight Parking Restrictions

State College Mayor Don Hahn posted on his blog Sunday republishing a letter he sent to Borough Council on August 1 outlining three revisions he’d like them to consider for the proposed overnight parking restrictions.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend