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No. 2 Penn State Men’s Soccer Overwhelms No. 7 Ohio State In 3-1 Victory

No. 2 Penn State men’s soccer (7-1-1) took down No. 7 Ohio State (3-6-1) 3-1 in Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal action at Jeffrey Field Saturday afternoon.

The stout Nittany Lion defensive unit dictated the pace of play all afternoon, as All-Big Ten goalkeeper Khris Shakes toted his fourth shutout performance of the season and was later relived by Owen Elliott. On the opposing end of the pitch, junior forward Daniel Bloyou terrorized the outmatched Buckeyes early and often, finishing the day with two goals and one assist.

How It Happened

The match began in physical, fast-paced fashion as the two conference foes traded possession for a majority of the opening minutes. Just over eight minutes into the action, Ohio State midfielder Xavier Green registered the game’s first shot on goal, but sailed the opportunity over the top right corner of Khris Shakes’ net.

Stout defensive stands by both squads set the tone for a battle anchored by the two backlines. Senior leader Brandon Hackenberg registered a plethora of crucial stops in the early going on the driving Ohio State attack, which proved to be pivotal in jumpstarting the Nittany Lion offense.

After a slow start marked by zero shot attempts through the midway point of the first half, Peter Mangione took charge of an advantageous breakaway opportunity favoring the Nittany Lions. The senior leader fired a strike directly at Noah Lawrence who blocked the attempt, but was unable to halt the scoring chance.

On the rebound, forward Danny Bloyou bolted into Ohio State territory and fired a low-scorching bullet towards the right corner, resulting in the first goal of the match and vaulting Penn State to a crucial 1-0 advantage.

Moments after the score, Jeff Cook turned to Tyger Evans who replaced defenseman Alex Stevenson for the first substitution of the match. The strategic moved proved to favor the home squad, as Evans immediately bursted into Buckeye territory off of a throw-in.

The speedy freshman slashed towards the 6 yard box, received a beautiful cross courtesy of Bloyou, and delivered a strike resulting in the second Nittany Lion goal of the match. Evans’ score extended the advantage to a 2-0 clip, placing Penn State in a comfortable position nearing the half’s conclusion.

With nearly two minutes remaining, Mangione registered Penn State’s fourth shot-on-goal of the match, but was unable to cleanly connect the strike. The opportunity landed in the gloves of Lawerence, effectively ending the first half of action.

Big Ten Freshman of the Year Laurence Wootten began the second half with a shot opportunity for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes were unable to maintain possession on its end of the field.

Once again, Penn State took advantage of a yet another fast break opportunity spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Pierre Reedy and Alex Stevenson, who were able to place a flurry of shifty moves on the Buckeye defense.

Stevenson then centered a sliding pass to Reedy, who found Bloyou positioned perfectly inside the Buckeye zone. The Ghana-native fired a high, powerful strike while falling to the ground, resulting in his second score of the match to extend the Nittany Lion lead to 3-0.

Following the goal, the Penn State offensive attack let off the gas as keeper Khris Shakes continued to shine in net for the home squad. The Second-Team All Conference selection garnered multiple impressive saves to keep the opposition scoreless as the game clock continued to wind.

Late in the half, Ohio State showed its first sign of life by converting its first goal of the match with just over two minutes remaining. Wootten scored on a close-range strike that slid past the gloves of Owen Elliott to put the underdogs in the scoring column.

Despite the late charge, the Nittany Lions held strong and finished the match victorious by a 3-1 margin. The home team sported six shots on net in comparison to just three by Ohio State, proving to by pivotal in the triumph.

Player Of The Match

Daniel Bloyou | Junior | Forward

The first-team All Big Ten selection pestered the Ohio State defense for the entirety of the match, accounting for two, highlight-reel goals on three shot attempts. Additionally, Bloyou fired a pinpoint pass directly to the feet of Tyger Evans, resulting in the second score of the postseason matchup.

What’s Next?

Penn State will host the winner of Saturday afternoon’s matchup featuring No. 3 Michigan against No. 6 Michigan State in the tournament semifinals at Jeffrey Field. Kickoff is set for Wednesday, April 14, and the time is to be announced.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a freshman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania majoring in journalism. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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