No. 2 Penn State Men’s Soccer Loses Penalty Shootout To No. 1 Indiana In Big Ten Final

So close.

No. 2 Penn State men’s soccer (8-1-2) lost to No. 1 Indiana (9-1-2) 3-2 in penalties in the Big Ten Championship Saturday night, after tying the match through regulation and two overtime periods.

Indiana opened the scoring in the 40th minute, but the Nittany Lions responded after a red card with time winding down. Liam Butts had the equalizer for the Lions.

How It Happened

Jeff Cook elected to go with the starting lineup that has been working lately for the championship match.

It was a pretty even affair in the first 25 minutes. The Nittany Lions had the edge in corner kicks, which was important for the visitors since the Hoosiers haven’t conceded from the run of play all year.

Early chances for the Nittany Lions came from the hold up play of Peter Mangione, Danny Bloyou, and substitute Liam Butts. Mangione had the best chance of the half for Penn State in the 25th minute, but goalkeeper Roman Celentano made the diving save.

Indiana wasn’t necessarily too dangerous on the attack, but the Hoosiers took their moment when it mattered.

In the 40th minute, Victor Bezerra scored his 11th goal of the year. The Big Ten Forward of the Year played a nice give-and-go and rocketed a shot past Kris Shakes.

The Nittany Lions went into the half with the one-goal deficit, but it was an even 45 minutes.

Penn State came out of the locker room hot, but couldn’t put any early chances away. Indiana responded by controlling the third quarter of the match, with Bezerra continuing to show why he is one of the most highly-rated prospects in all of college soccer.

With 20 minutes left, the Hoosiers had a great opportunity in the box, but Jalen Watson had a great defensive stand to earn the foul. Watson’s play sparked a counter, which resulted in a corner kick. Nicholas Rieple had a fantastic opportunity, heading his attempt off of Celentano’s bar.

With time running out, an errant back pass to Indiana defender Joey Maher went directly to Danny Bloyou. The striker nearly got to the box before Maher dragged him down, earning himself a red card.

Seth Kuhn hit his ensuing shot off the wall, earning a corner kick. The service entered the fray and bobbled to Butts, who tapped it home for a climactic equalizer with just 10 minutes to play.

With a man advantage, the Nittany Lions pressured the hosts for the remainder of regulation. Butts and Bloyou both had great chances, but Indiana was able to make a stand and send it to overtime.

Despite only having 10 men, the Hoosiers had the first positive foray of the overtime. Indiana had three-straight corners that troubled Shakes, but Penn State was able to survive.

The last five minutes of the first overtime was all Nittany Lions. They used their man advantage well, but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Penn State learned from the first overtime, and put the pressure on Indiana straight out of the gates. Kuhn tried finding Bloyou on a cross, but it was just a bit too tall for the diminutive Ghanaian in the 103rd minute.

Despite some half-chances, Indiana didn’t give and the match headed to penalties.

Andrew Privett didn’t make things easy to start the shootout, missing wide and high to give Indiana the early lead. Bloyou missed the second, and Indiana made no mistake in getting an early “dos a cero” advantage.

Mangione made the third to get Penn State off the mark, but Bezerra cooly matched him. Kuhn kept the Lions in it, and Shakes made the save to give the Nittany Lions life.

However, Callum Pritchatt’s shot to the left of Celentano was incredibly saved, clinching the Big Ten title for the Hoosiers.

Player Of The Match

Liam Butts| Sophomore |Striker

He has finally gotten the monkey off his back, folks.

After going the whole season scoreless, Butts has two in as many games. Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion in today’s game, there is no doubt that he will be a menace once the NCAA Tournament comes.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will find out their destiny on Monday, when the NCAA will reveal the Selection Show.

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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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