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Penn State Men’s Soccer Opens Big Ten Play With 3-1 Win Over Ohio State

Penn State men’s soccer claimed its first conference win of the season Sunday, defeating Ohio State 3-1 at Jeffrey Field in a dominant performance. 

Goals from Aaron Molloy, Mac Curran, and Stephen Kenney secured a resounding victory for Penn State in the annual Mack Brady Memorial Match. 

How It Happened

Jeff Cook deployed his squad in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with central midfielders Aaron Molloy and Mitchel Bringolf sitting deep behind attacking midfielder Noah Pilato and forward Jeremy Rafanello. 

Cook’s tactics proved effective, allowing the Nittany Lions to dominate possession throughout the first half and limit the Buckeyes to just two shots. 

Ethan Beckford cut in from the left side with a powerful dribbling run in the 14th minute, and found winger Austin Maloney with a low cross. But Maloney was off balance, and his shot missed wide. 

Molloy opened the scoring for the Nittany Lions in the 31st minute, turning and volleying Rafanello’s deflected shot past Ohio State goalkeeper Parker Siegfried. 

Five minutes later, Callum Pritchatt found space on the left side and sent a dangerous cross into the Ohio State penalty area. Mitchel Bringolf flicked the ball toward the penalty spot, where it found foward Mac Curran. Curran cooly slotted his finish into the left side of Siegfried’s net, and the Nittany Lions entered the halftime break with a 2-0 lead. 

Christian Sload maintained Penn State’s aggressive tempo early in the second half, stealing the ball from Buckeye’s left back Osman Fofanah and slipping a short pass to Curran. Curran turned and fired a dangerous shot to Siegfried’s left side that forced the Buckeye’s keeper to make a low, diving save. 

Ethan Beckford made another driving run into the Buckeye penalty area in the 68th minute, but Siegfried’s quick reaction save denied him one-on-one. Ohio State then orchestrated a quick counterattack that put Devyn Etling on a breakaway. The OSU center forward slotted a low finish past Josh Levine to bring the Buckeyes within a goal of the Nittany Lions. 

Stephen Kenney provided an insurance goal for the Nittany Lions in the 81st minute after replacing the injured Mason Deeds. The State College native and center back connected with Aaron Molloy’s free kick cross at the back post, powering a header past Siegfried to finalize Penn State’s victory. 

Josh Levine and the Nittany Lion backline withstood several late Buckeye attacking moves, and Penn State claimed its first Big Ten victory of the season with a final score of 3-1. 

Player of the Match

Mitchel Bringolf| Junior| Defensive Midfielder

Penn State’s midfield rock was solid throughout Sunday’s match, protecting the backline by winning headers and making tackles next to Aaron Molloy. 

What’s Next?

Penn State (2-4), travel to Ann Arbor to face the University of Michigan Friday, September 21 at 7 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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