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Penn State Men’s Soccer Opens Big Ten Season With 1-0 Win Over Wisconsin

Penn State men’s soccer (3-2-1, 1-0 Big Ten) opened its conference season with a 1-0 win over Wisconsin (3-3, 0-1 Big Ten) on Friday night at Jeffrey Field.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t find their offense momentum until the 85th minute when redshirt freshman Van Danielson notched his first career goal. Kris Shakes also tallied two saves on a fairly quiet night for the goaltender.

How It Happened

Head coach Jeff Cook rolled out a fairly familiar lineup against the Badgers, however, notably missing from the starting 11 were Liams Butts and Tyger Evans.

Both teams traded possession for the first several minutes of the match. Most of the Nittany Lions’ play fed through Seth Kuhn and Peter Mangione in the midfield and the duo seemed to tire out the Wisconsin center midfielders.

Olu Ogunwale picked up a yellow card in the fifth minute after taking down a Badger forward with a potential goal-scoring opportunity. Wisconsin midfielder Inaki Iribarren’s free kick stayed low and was driven out of Penn State’s penalty box by Femi Awodesu.

Kris Shakes saw his first action of the game in the 13th minute off a Wisconsin corner kick. The goalkeeper punched the corner away and reset the Penn State defense.

Just one minute later, Mangione produced an opportunity at goal for Alex Stevenson. Mangione sent a crossing ball to Stevenson, but the two couldn’t connect and the pass went out of bounds.

Around the 25th minute, Penn State found its rhythm and ran circles around the Wisconsin defense for quite a while. Nearly all of the Nittany Lion lineup was involved in the offensive push, but ultimately Ogunwale ripped a shot that Ben Liscum nearly netted off a header. Badger goalkeeper Carter Abbott redirected Liscum’s header over the net, and gifted the Nittany Lions with a corner kick.

Penn State almost converted another Liscum header attempt off the corner, but Abbott made his second save in as many minutes and kept things square at nil.

There was little offensive action for the remaining 20 minutes of play, and both teams only manufactured a combined three shots in the half. The Nittany Lions headed into the locker room tied at zero with the Badgers.

Out of the break, Andrew Privett took a hit that required attention from training staff in the 53rd minute. Privett seemed to be nursing his right ankle but ultimately walked off under his own power.

Penn State created its next opportunity in the 65th minute. Mangione, Michael Gaines, and Kuhn combined to get a shot off toward Abbott. Kuhn’s attempt went wide but was evident that the Nittany Lions’ offensive momentum was on the uptick.

Freshman Cohen Weaver nearly netted his first career goal in the 78th minute, but the assistant referee indicated that the midfielder was offside and the goal wouldn’t count.

Finally, redshirt freshman Danielson found the back of the net in the 85th minute. He combined with Henderson and managed to convert a header goal beyond Abbott’s reach to make it 1-0 in favor of Penn State.

The Badgers couldn’t respond to Danielson’s goal in the remaining five minutes and the final whistle blew with a score of 1-0.

Takeaways:

  • Ben Liscum and Matt Henderson played really well together. The redshirt freshman and true freshman, respectively, locked down the left side of the field. The outside back spot seemed to be a battle amongst several Nittany Lions, but Henderson is falling in nicely and combining well with Liscum on the flank.
  • A Penn State team without Andrew Privett would be rough. The senior midfielder is a consistent threat for the Nittany Lions and the team’s offense would look quite different without his efficiency and strength in the lineup, especially during Big Ten play.
  • Despite Wisconsin’s No. 8 ranking in the Big Ten preseason poll, the Badgers generated an impressive game against Penn State. It’ll be interesting to see how the Nittany Lions perform against higher-ranked Big Ten squads considering their generally lackluster match against Wisconsin.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will hit the road for their next game against Maryland at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. The match will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or send your best Spotify playlist to her email [email protected]

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