Penn State Men’s Soccer Takes Down George Mason 3-1
Penn State men’s soccer (2-1-1) defeated George Mason (0-3-0) on the road 3-1 Monday night.
Goals from Peter Mangione, Liam Butts, and Andrew Privett secured the program’s first-ever victory over the Patriots, as head coach Jeff Cook’s side rolled comfortably to its second win of the season.
How It Happened
Penn State was given a gift early in the match when Peter Mangione was awarded a chance from the penalty spot just five minutes in. Mangione didn’t disappoint, as his shot deflected slightly off keeper Jake Langley’s hand and into the Patriot net.
Liam Butts doubled the score just moments later with a great run through the heart of George Mason’s defense, as Penn State ran rampant in Virginia. Butts was assisted by Mangione, who recorded his first assist of the season just after his third goal.
Butts nearly scored a similar goal 20 minutes later, once again racing past the entire George Mason defense aside from Langley. However, this time, Butts placed the ball just wide of the net, and the Patriots stayed within two goals.
With less than six minutes left in the first half, George Mason was awarded a penalty kick after a foul from Sean Bettenhausen. Kris Shakes came up big for Penn State, making a diving save to his right to preserve the shutout.
Penn State nearly earned a third goal to begin the second half, as a wild sequence led to the ball hitting George Mason’s crossbar twice in less than three seconds. Both times, the Nittany Lions received unlikely bounces, and the ball stayed just outside the net.
After Penn State controlled the second half, Ben Liscum drew its second penalty kick of the night with less than 20 minutes remaining in the match, but Seth Kuhn was turned away by Langley from the spot. Kuhn’s shot lacked his typical power and wasn’t close enough to the left post to beat the keeper.
George Mason pulled a goal back after Noah Raphael got the deflection from a Shakes save at his feet and pounded the ball home. Shakes was briefly evaluated for an injury after the play but was allowed to continue on.
The Patriots had another great chance with seven minutes remaining in the match when Zach Eichelberger placed a header on goal from point-blank range, but once again, Shakes came up big for his team, parrying the ball away to continue to hold on.
With two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Privett sealed the deal for the Nittany Lions. A pass from Mangione found the midfielder’s feet perfectly, and with nobody in front of him, Privett placed his ball into the upper 90 perfectly to end George Mason’s hopes.
After Privett’s goal, neither team seemed intent on challenging for a victory, and Penn State cruised to its second straight win.
- Kris. Shakes. What more can you say? He wasn’t challenged too much during this match, but the goalkeeper’s massive penalty save shouldn’t be understated. Four games into the season, and he’s clearly the Nittany Lions’ MVP.
- Tyger Evans looks great in the midfield. After starting the season off as a left back, Evans moved up to a No. 8 spot on the left side of Jeff Cook’s formation, and he looks comfortable. He’s been able to use the strong combination of his ball-winning abilities and progressive movement while not being forced to track back too often.
- Penn State could have had six or seven goals in this one. A missed penalty and chances in front of goal ultimately didn’t cost the visitors the game, but it certainly didn’t help the efforts. A team close to its Big Ten stretch will want to focus on its finishing before it slows the Nittany Lions down in conference play.
The Nittany Lions return home for a matchup against Princeton at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 9.
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