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Penn State Men’s Soccer Trying To Build On Last Year’s Success In 2022

Following an impressive year highlighted by a regular-season title and conference tournament championship, Penn State men’s soccer is more than prepared heading into its first matchup with Rhode Island on Thursday.

While Jeff Cook’s inspired squad boasted its best campaign yet last season during his four-year tenure, the veteran leader believes his veteran-laded roster should be able to cultivate even more success on the field this time around.

“It’s always exciting to open the season,” Cook said. “Every year is a new beginning, and we could not be prouder of the accomplishments of last season. But, we have full excitement for the year ahead.”

The Nittany Lions begin the year ranked No. 21 in the United Soccer Coaches poll and No. 1 in the Big Ten rankings. Even with a lofty bullseye on the backs of the Nittany Lions, several high-profile contributors still believe their best play is in front of them.

Junior midfielder Peter Mangione spoke about the expectations for this season and the team’s high standard for the upcoming year during Wednesday’s media availability. In addition to potentially repeating as Big Ten champions, Cook’s hungry squad is hoping to take home an even bigger prize — an NCAA Tournament title.

“We really want to win the three trophies that are on the table for us,” Mangione said.

In order to do so, he noted it is important that not only a select few players need to stand out, but the entire group must continually push each other over the season’s span. Additionally, he mentioned the new guys in the locker room have had a smooth transition into the program, and he is excited to see what they do this year

As every college program does, the Nittany Lions have graduated a few key players, including Brandon Hackenberg and Pierre Reedy. Fortunately, the team has brought in a strong recruiting class and enrolled new players in the spring to help fill the void. Senior Liam Butts talked about the role of the upperclassmen to teach the younger guys the culture and the expectations for the program.

“The older guys have set the tempo and are a great example for the newer guys. I think that if we can show them the level, we will be able to do well,” Butts said.

Mangione talked about the importance of starting strong. Despite a strong finish, Penn State started slow and tied their first game last year. He highlighted how meaningful it is for the team to perform well in their first game. He thinks the team can take lessons from last year’s experience and utilize it this year to put together a complete season.

Penn State will begin its season at 8:30 p.m. tonight, August 25, against Rhode Island. The match will air live on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Theo Koch

Theo is a sophomore at Penn State majoring in marketing. He is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both of his parents attended Penn State, so he was born into this. He enjoys watching all sports, outdoor activities, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] with any comments, questions, or concerns.

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