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Penn State Men’s Soccer Sneaks Past Rutgers 2-1 In Overtime

No. 16 Penn State men’s soccer (11-2-3, 6-1-1 Big Ten) came from behind to finish off Rutgers (7-7-3, 1-6-1 Big Ten) 2-1 in overtime.

Christian Sload won the game on his second golden goal this week to earn his side the second seed in the Big Ten. Liam Butts had the other goal for the Nittany Lions, while Randy Arronis scored for the Scarlet Knights.

How It Happened

Jeff Cook kept largely the same lineup from the comeback victory against Maryland on Tuesday. The only change came in midfield, with freshman Kyle May replacing Pierre Reedy, who limped off of the pitch against the Terrapins last time out.

The Scarlet Knights nearly shocked Penn State just three minutes into the match. A good cross found Vincenzo Pugliese but the junior failed to convert past Kris Shakes from within the six yard box.

Ten minutes in, Christian Sload found Seth Kuhn on a breakaway but goalkeeper Oren Asher was up to the challenge. A point blank opportunity for both sides within the first ten minutes showed what kind of game it would be.

The Kuhn chance was the only attacking foray the Nittany Lions had in the early going, as Rutgers continued to have the brunt of the chances despite being the obvious underdog. After 25 minutes, Rutgers’ seven shots were far superior to Penn State’s two attempts.

Aaron Molloy had a good chance for the Nittany Lions at the half hour mark, as a long sweeping cross met the Irishman at the top of the box. However, Molloy couldn’t keep his volley on frame.

The Nittany Lions headed into the locker room at the break with the match poised for the second half. Although it was an eventful 45 minutes of play, the match was a deadlock halfway through.

Due to other matches across the conference, Penn State was second and Rutgers eighth in the live table.

An uneventful start to the second half followed the 19 shot first period between the two sides. Rutgers had a chance with 34 minutes left in the match, but defender Will Campbell stood his ground within the penalty box.

Halfway through the second half, Shakes had to come up big. Jackson Temple received a cut back pass and fired a driven shot from eight yards out. Shakes made a reactionary save with no warning, keeping the Nittany Lions’ clean sheet.

The Nittany Lions avoided a scare as midfielder Apronis was taken down in the box. Thankfully for Penn State, referee Dimitar Chavdarov was sympathetic towards the defense.

A boring second half sprang to life with in the last few moments of regulation. Rutgers finally snapped the deadlock with six minutes remaining. Arronis spun away from the Penn State defense to strike a volley into the top left corner, a shot that Shakes had no chance to stop.

Knowing that Penn State’s title hopes and NCAA Tournament ranking were slipping away, Butts leveled through a nice spin move just 59 seconds later.

Rutgers survived a goalmouth scramble in the last minute of regulation to force the match to overtime.

While Penn State and Rutgers were preparing for up to 20 more minutes of play, Indiana won in East Lansing, solidifying the two seed for the Nittany Lions. Meanwhile, a Wisconsin 1-0 final result meant that Rutgers were playing to avoid the last spot in the table.

It took just over two minutes of overtime for Sload to score his second straight golden goal off of a corner kick and give Penn State a 2-1 victory. Despite the victory, the Nittany Lions may feel that they need to do more in the coming weeks against tougher opposition.

Player of the Match

Kris Shakes | Freshman | Goalkeeper

For large portions of the match, the Penn State offense was nonexistent. However, freshman keeper Shakes was alert to each challenge, especially the Temple save from short range. Shakes has been given more responsibility from Cook over the past few weeks, and he has taken his chances by storm. In the end, there was nothing he could do about the Arronis volley.

Although the Levine-Shakes debate remains ongoing, it is clear that Cook now values Shakes as a starter for the next four years. His shot-stopping ability has been apparent over this week’s matches.

What’s Next?

No. 16 Penn State will claim the two seed heading into next week’s Big Ten Quarterfinals. They will play host to seventh-place Wisconsin on Sunday, November 10 at Jeffrey Field. Kickoff time is to be determined.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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