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Penn State Men’s Soccer Draws No. 9 Maryland In 3-3 Thriller

Penn State men’s soccer (3-2-2, 1-0-1 Big Ten) earned a 3-3 tie against No. 9 Maryland (4-1-2, 1-0-1 Big Ten) on Tuesday night from College Park.

Femi Awodesu, Peter Mangione, and Tyger Evans each converted goals throughout the competitive, back-and-forth match, and Kris Shakes recorded seven saves in the offensive showdown.

How It Happened

Head coach Jeff Cook rolled out a sturdy starting 11 against the ranked Terrapins. To slow down Maryland’s offensive momentum, the Nittany Lions lined up in a 5-3-2 formation with the addition of Michael Gaines in the defense.

Seth Kuhn drew a foul in the sixth minute to earn Penn State a free kick outside of the Terrapin’s penalty box. Kuhn’s attempt sailed just wide of goalkeeper Jamie Lowell’s net but opened up the offense for both teams.

Maryland midfielder Josh Bolma lined up for a similar free kick in the 13th minute, forcing goalkeeper Shakes to deflect the shot and keep his sheet clean.

However, the Terrapins struck first in the 16th minute when the team beat Penn State in transition from a throw in. After several deflections in the penalty box, Maryland midfielder Nick Richardson buried a shot far-post past Shakes to take a 1-0 lead over the Nittany Lions.

Penn State responded just four minutes later with a goal of its own. Sophomore Sean Bettenhausen and Kuhn combined off a corner kick and Bettenhausen ultimately sent a crossing ball to the six-yard line. Awodesu got tall and put a forehead on Bettenhausen’s service, redirecting the ball right over Lowell’s reach to tie the game at one.

Mangione sent a rocket from distance in the 27th minute to grab a 2-1 lead over the Terrapins. The co-captain took the ball himself through Maryland’s midfield and ripped a shot from just outside the penalty box. Mangione’s attempt slid right above Lowell and notched the Nittany Lions’ second unanswered goal.

Bolma tallied his third shot of the game in the 43rd minute with a heavy ball about 30 yards from the Nittany Lions’ net. Shakes laid out and made a diving save to preserve Penn State’s 2-1 lead at the end of the first half.

Griffin Dillon tied up the match at two-all in the 50th minute. In a similar fashion to the Terrapins’ first goal, Dillon finished a ball that ricocheted several times in Shakes’ goal box, leaving the goalkeeper unbalanced and unable to make the save.

The referee awarded Maryland a penalty kick in the 69th minute after defender Jalen Watson fouled Malcolm Johnston in the box. Johnston buried the kick from the spot and put the Terrapins up 3-2 with 21 minutes remaining in the match.

Shockingly enough, Penn State was awarded a penalty kick of its own in the 74th minute. Maryland’s William Kulvic was dealt a yellow card and Evans lined up for the shot. Evans drove a low ball to the left corner with his left foot and snuck the shot past Lowell, who even dove the correct way.

Evans almost made it two goals in the 82nd minute following a Penn State fast-break toward Lowell. Evans got a shot off, but the Terrapin goaltender made a diving save to maintain the tie game.

Despite some last-minute attempts by Maryland, the game remained locked at a 3-3 tie and both teams earned one point on the night.

Takeaways:

  • This was a Nittany Lion team that came out of the locker room fired up. The tempo, aggression, and energy from Penn State right from the opening whistle were unmatched in comparison to any matchup so far this season. Whatever words of wisdom Jeff Cook spoke in pregame, please say them again, coach.
  • Despite some unfamiliar pace from the Penn State offense against the ranked opponent, Andrew Privett was sorely missed in the lineup. The senior went down with an ankle injury in the team’s Wisconsin game on September 16, and didn’t see any time against Maryland. Privett’s consistency and authority in the midfield were clearly absent from the field.
  • The Nittany Lions’ defensive line needs to be more efficient on set pieces. Maryland’s first two goals came following corner kicks that ricocheted in the penalty box before the Terrapins managed to convert. Sure, things can get chaotic when the play starts to pinball in the box, but Femi Awodesu and Jalen Watson need to command the line and make clearances.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return to Jeffrey Field to take on Akron at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 25.

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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 keeley@onwardstate.com.

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