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Standout Super-Subs Fuel Penn State Men’s Soccer’s Success

Penn State men’s soccer has had an outstanding performance throughout the season so far and topped it off with a 3-0 shutout against Indiana, the previously reigning Big Ten Tournament champion. The Nittany Lions’ matchup on Sunday was fueled by outstanding players both starting on the field at kickoff and coming off the bench to be an unsuspecting threat for the Hoosiers.

Stars like Tyger Evans, Danny Bloyou, and Dax Hoffman have been fuel in the fiery success for the Nittany Lions. Bringing key players who can handle both offensive and defensive modes of play is characteristic for the Nittany Lions and is usual in their standout games.

“When we make subs, it’s such a great feeling as a coach that you can bring a team player into the game and it makes a positive impact. That is the mentality that these guys have embraced all year long, and I want to give them a lot of credit,” head coach Jeff Cook said.

“Obviously, every player wants to start. Everybody wants to play all the time, and I have to manage that with my coaching staff,” he continued. “But they had been outstanding and have embraced that we are going to do what’s best for the team.”

Evans and Bloyou’s subs onto the field into the first half set up the beautiful play between the two of them and Seth Kuhn. Evan’s speed brought Penn State possession, allowing Bloyou to make the assist for Kuhn’s rocket goal. Evans also made his first goal of the season and was the second point in Sunday’s match, helping to root Penn State in a comfortable position for their win over Indiana.

“When we have the depth that we have, and we can make changes to the lineup like that and they can impact the game, I think what it did today is give Indiana a threat they had to deal with behind their defense and it opened up more possibilities for us to get in possession,” Cook said.

Throughout the season, Evans has played a huge role both offensively and defensively. His speed, handle on the ball, and footwork that can break ankles have been what Penn State needs to switch to an attacking and possessive style of play.

“Tyger is very exciting. He’s fast and lively and hard to stop. What we’ve been asking him to do in practice is that [he needs] something that puts the exclamation point behind it, like a cross or a pass or a shot. To do it in this game, the championship game, to score, we’re really really proud of him,” said Cook.

Bloyou, meanwhile, has been an aggressive force in Penn State’s attacking line, plowing past defenders and really digging into the danger zone for opponents of the Nittany Lions. His assists and goals throughout the season have been solid and sure, and, most importantly, not easily predicted by defenders and goalkeepers of the opposing team.

“[Bloyou] brings energy. You know, we have players on the bench who can be starting on the team, so it’s helpful. Like Dax Hoffman, he can come off the bench and bring energy,” Evans said.

Although not every player can play the full 90 minutes, they all recognize how crucial they are to the outcome of every game. Having the drive to rattle the game and dig deep into the opponent’s strategies is no easy task, and Hoffman, Bloyou, and Evans have beautifully delivered what the Nittany Lions need in tight spots.

“When I come into the game I want to help with the team, any energy that I can bring to the team where I can help them, that’s what I come in to do. On the bench, you have the opportunity to observe the game, see their weaknesses. When I go into the game I just want to break their weaknesses,” Evans said.

Penn State’s bench stars will have another opportunity to flash their skills this weekend when the Nittany Lions enter the NCAA Tournament. Ranked as the No. 12 seed, Penn State will face the winner of Hofstra and Lipscomb on Sunday, November 21, at Jeffrey Field.

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About the Author

Mackenna Yount

Mackenna Yount is a sophomore food science major from Manitou Springs, Colorado. She loves food, is addicted to coffee, and can give you random facts or bad jokes that you didn't ask for. Ask her to bake gluten-free cupcakes and she'll throw in some brownies, too. Mackenna can be contacted via Twitter @mackennayount (especially if you want to show off your best dad jokes) or you can shoot her an email at [email protected]

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