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Penn State Men’s Soccer Falls To No. 15 Villanova 2-1

Penn State men’s soccer suffered its fourth defeat of the season Saturday, losing 2-1 to No. 15 Villanova on the road. The match, originally scheduled to be played at Talen Energy Stadium Friday night, was postponed to Saturday afternoon due to storms. 

Jeremy Rafanello canceled out the Wildcats’ early goal late in the first half, but junior Conor Bradley scored Villanova’s winning goal in the 73rd minute. 

How It Happened

Villanova took the lead in the third minute when captain and midfielder Zach Zandi scored for the Wildcats. The Nittany Lions then pressed forward in search of an equalizer. Efforts from freshman center forward Jeremy Rafanello and midfielder Noah Pilato tested Villanova goalkeeper Carson Hunt, but failed to find the back of the net. 

The Nittany Lions’ breakthrough came in the 34th minute. Christian Sload’s pass found Rafanello, who slotted a shot into the left side of Hunt’s net to notch his second goal of the season. Penn State outshot the Wildcats ten to five in the first half, but the two teams entered halftime locked at one. 

The Nittany Lions created several early chances after the break, earning five corners in the first 25 minutes of the second half. Mason Deeds’s 72nd minute shot glanced off the left post. Midfielder Conor Bradley scored from a rebound a minute later to put the Wildcats in the lead. 

The Nittany Lions pressed high in search of a last-minute goal, and Ethan Beckford’s shot missed wide in the 87th minute. Villanova’s defense remained strong against Penn State’s attacking scramble, and the Wildcats held on to win with a final score of 2-1.

Player of the Match

Jeremy Rafanello| Freshman| Forward

The Delran, New Jersey native tallied his second goal of the season and recorded six shots against the Wildcats. 

What’s Next?

Penn State (1-4), hosts High Point at Jeffrey Field Tuesday, September 11 at 2 p.m. 

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor 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.

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