Penn State Men’s Soccer Shuts Out Rutgers To Clinch Sixth-Seed Playoff Spot

Penn State men’s soccer (6-8-2, 3-3-2 Big Ten) shut out Rutgers (4-12-1, 2-6 Big Ten) in the final match of the regular season with a final score of 2-0. 

Goals from Callum Pritchatt and Ethan Beckford secured a comfortable win for the Nittany Lions at home that clinched the sixth seed in the upcoming Big Ten playoffs. 

How It Happened

Penn State took control of possession early in the first half, notching two early shots and several corner kicks. The Nittany Lions struggled to produce accurate crosses in the early stages of the match. 

Callum Pritchatt opened the scoring for Penn State in the 16th minute. He collected the ball near the right touchline at midfield, skipped passed one defender, and cut inside, ripping a perfect curling shot into the top corner over the head of Rutgers goalkeeper Rafael Pereira.

Rutgers seemed poised to equalize in the 23rd minute when Josh Levine charged out of the penalty area to head a chipped through ball. Miles Hackett collected his weak clearance and tried to put the ball into the vacant net, but his effort was blocked by Dani Marks. Big Ten top scorer Jordan Hall looked dangerous throughout the first half, recording two dangerous shots in his search for his 14th goal of the season. 

Rutgers struggled to keep up with Penn State’s fast passing tempo, and conceded a series of dangerous fouls. Aaron Molloy’s 35th-minute free kick from just outside the penalty area was cleared off the goal line by a Rutger’s defender. Penn State was unable to add to Pritchatt’s early strike, and entered halftime with a 1-0 lead. 

Pritchatt came close to doubling his goal tally early in the second half, but dragged a weak shot to the right side of the post. As the pace of the game slowed, left winger Ethan Beckford found space out wide. In the 64th minute he cut inside on his right foot and played the ball to Austin Maloney as he was streaking into the penalty area. Maloney backheeled it into space ahead of Beckford, and the Manchester native sent a hard shot through the hands of Pereira to put the Nittany Lions up 2-0. 

Late efforts from Hall and a powerful shot from Gallagher failed to find the net, and the match ended in a 2-0 victory for Penn State. 

Player of the Match

Austin Maloney | Senior|Winger

Penn State’s hardworking midfielder and outside back was solid at both ends of the field, and his slick backheel assist to Beckford was a highlight to remember. 

What’s Next?

Penn State (6-8-2) will face Michigan State in the first round of Big Ten playoffs Saturday, November 3. 

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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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