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No. 12 Penn State Men’s Soccer Falls 8-2 To Hofstra In Shocking NCAA Tournament Loss

It couldn’t have gone any worse for Penn State men’s soccer Sunday, as its NCAA journey came to a sharp end.

The Nittany Lions fell to Hofstra 8-2 in a shocking performance. Femi Awodesu and Danny Bloyou had consolation goals for Jeff Cook’s side.

How It Happened

Jeff Cook made two changes to the starting lineup that defeated Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament title. Keegan Ness and Tyger Evans replaced Kyle May and Jalen Watson to start the match, respectively.

The Nittany Lions got punched in the mouth early. Hofstra showed its intent from the opening kick and got into a good area from a set-piece just three minutes in. Two Hofstra players volleyed it on, before finding Ryan Carmichael for a dunk right in front of Kris Shakes’ net for the (very) early lead.

Penn State showed its class by not crumbling early on.

The Nittany Lions promptly dominated the next 20 minutes of the match but looked timid in front of the goal. Seth Kuhn had the best chance of the early going, taking a shot from his range of 25 yards that forced a good save from goalkeeper Wessel Speel.

Penn State wasn’t clinical in the first half, and it came back to bite the hosts. Hofstra left-winger Hendrik Hebbeker was tormenting Alex Stevenson and Pierre Reedy each time he got the opportunity, and he punished them with a fantastic solo effort in the 30th minute for the 2-0 advantage.

After Hebbeker’s goal, the Nittany Lions seemed to lose the plot. Hofstra had the ball in dangerous areas for the remainder of the half, and it wasn’t long — just seven minutes later in the 37th minute — before Hebbeker got his second and Hofstra’s third with an easy tap-in.

Penn State got to the break down 3-0, and they were lucky to not be down more after 45 minutes.

Needing a spark to begin the second half, it just went from bad to worse to begin the second period. Just 23 seconds after the whistle blew, Francesco Perinelli earned Hofstra’s fourth.

If Penn State was already crumbling, the avalanche was released throughout the rest of the second half. Roc Carles scored two nearly identical goals to make it 6-0 by the 62nd minute, before Hebekker clinched his hat trick just 19 seconds later for the extra point.

Penn State had absolutely nothing going forward, and a scrum near the Nittany Lions goal resulted in Hofstra’s eighth. The Nittany Lions would respond in the 78th minute to finally break Hofstra’s hope for a clean sheet, as Femi Awdoesu bundled in an identical scrum to make it 8-1.

Danny Bloyou scored in the 89th minute for a second consolation goal. Despite it not meaning much, the goal was a nice ending for Bloyou’s impressive Penn State career.

Player Of The Match

Park Avenue Army

Let’s be real, folks. No player deserves this award after a horror show like that match. However, there is something honorable to be said for the 35-ish Penn State students who delayed their Thanksgiving travels, braved the cold conditions, and — more than everything else — stayed the full match all while watching their team get absolutely demolished in the most important game of the year.

The Park Avenue Army had one of its best seasons, fan-wise, in recent memory. This was by no means the best way to end the year, but the fans of Penn State soccer truly showed their true colors by sticking this one out.

What’s Next

That’s it for the Nittany Lions. Meanwhile, Hofstra will play No. 5 Pitt in the Sweet Sixteen next weekend.

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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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