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No. 20 Penn State Men’s Soccer Falls 1-0 To Villanova

Penn State men’s soccer (4-3-2) suffered its third loss this season in a 1-0 Villanova (4-2-2) shutout Wednesday afternoon.

The Wildcats took an early goal in the first half and despite efforts from Liam Butts and Tyger Evans, the Nittany Lions couldn’t find the net.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions took the early offensive start to the match with two shots coming from Tyger Evans in the first four minutes.

Villanova came out with a goal early in the 18th minute. Anthony Dragisics got the goal after an assist from near the 18 by Balthi Saunders.

Just a few minutes later, Villanova’s Vincent Petrera took another shot inside the box but it bounced off the far post and into Nittany Lion territory. Penn State defenders shut down the Wildcats and denied them a second goal.

In the 29th minute, Villanova took a shot from far out that landed straight in Kris Shakes’ hands. Wildcat Lyam Mackinnon was in the area to pick up the ball if it was deflected, but instead, he ran into Shakes, which drew the first yellow of the match.

With just 20 seconds left in the half, Villanova’s Jorge Garcia took a rocket of a shot from far out, and Shakes made the save with a huge dive. The Nittany Lions left the first half down 1-0.

In the 62nd minute, Shakes made another big save for Penn State and prevented a low goal by Viktor Benediktsson.

Liam Butts took Penn State’s first shot of the second half and has proved he’s as dangerous as ever since returning from injury. Although his shot in the 68th minute wasn’t quite on target, his chemistry with Peter Mangione and Evans made for some goal-scoring potential a few times.

Villanova couldn’t get through Penn State’s goal with Shakes holding down the fort. In the 75th minute, the Wildcats found their way into the box and snuck past Penn State’s defense. Akinjide Awujo took the shot from just outside the box, and Shakes was there for another great save, keeping the score at 1-0.

Shakes came in clutch yet again with the save in minute 87 after a Mackinnon shot at the 18, as he was nearly wide open with not many Nittany Lions pressing defensively.

Penn State couldn’t make the comeback by the end of the match, and Villanova took the shutout win 1-0, making this its third all-time win over the Nittany Lions.

Takeaways

  • The two teams were both stacked with players from Philadelphia Union Academy, which is Penn State head coach Jeff Cook’s previous team. The products of the Union team set the pace of the match and made for some high-energy and confident play that was fun to watch.
  • Penn State’s midfield seemed to struggle to keep the ball from floating back to its defense instead of moving forward. The backline held on well, but the Nittany Lions weren’t as consistent as we usually see with offensive possession.
  • We all know this, but Tyger Evans has speed. His runs along the sideline set up some great plays for Penn State to switch up the game. Paired with those crosses of his, Evans was definitely a threat to Villanova’s defense.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to Illinois to face Northwestern at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 2, to continue their Big Ten slate.

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About the Author

Mackenna Yount

Mackenna is a junior food science major from Manitou Springs, Colorado, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She loves food, is addicted to coffee, and can give you random facts or bad jokes that you didn't ask for. Ask her to bake gluten-free goodies so she has an excuse to try out new cupcake flavors. Mackenna can be contacted via Twitter @mackennayount (especially if you want to show off your best dad jokes) or you can shoot her an email at [email protected]

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