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Penn State Men’s Soccer Suffers Tough 2-1 Loss To Rutgers

Penn State men’s soccer (5-5-4, 2-2-3 Big Ten) fell to Rutgers (8-3-5, 4-2-2 Big Ten ) 2-1 Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field at its last home game of the season.

Rutgers took the early lead with a goal in the 26th minute by Matthew Acosta, his first of the season. Ian Abbey followed with a shot that flew through the hands of Kris Shakes in the 40th minute. Penn State then cut the deficit in half with a goal from Peter Mangione in the 65th minute, but that would be all it would get.

Shakes and Ciaran Dalton both posted immense saves for their side throughout the physical game.

How It Happened

Rutgers controlled possession in the beginning as Penn State struggled to control the ball past Rutgers’ 40-yard line. Rutgers was able to capitalize on this, gaining two quick corners in the second and third minutes, leading to a couple of saves by Kris Shakes.

The Nittany Lions then slowed the ball down and start a slow build-up, waiting for an opportunity to send the ball up before getting their first real chance of the game in the 14th minute when Watson’s shot to the bottom-left of the net was saved by Ciaran Dalton.

The teams continued to trade shots as possession flipped. Rutgers won a free kick in the 23rd minute and soon after took the lead in the 26th minute, as the Penn State defense turned over the ball, and Acosta took his shot from about 20 yards out to score his first goal of the season.

The Scarlet Knights kept possession after the goal and gained another corner. The tide seemed to turn in Penn State’s favor, as it was granted a free kick, but Acosta quickly won the ball back for Rutgers and beat his defender in the 33rd minute to hit a hard ball low toward the near corner, which was stopped by a great Shakes save.

Nearing the end of the first half, Penn State found itself with multiple shots on goal but was unable to convert.

In the last minutes of the first half, Rutgers went up 2-0 after a goal from No. 20 Ian Abbey. The hit from the top of the box couldn’t be saved by Shakes as it flew through the middle into the bottom-left of the net in the 40th minute.

Following the second goal, the Nittany Lions found themselves in a scoring position, winning a free kick just outside 18. Seth Kuhn took the kick in the 42nd minute, hitting a hard strike to the bottom-left corner, which was pushed out by Dalton. Penn State then gained three throw-ins and two corner kicks it wasn’t able to convert, and Rutgers cleared the ball out to end the half up 2-0.

The second half started with two yellow cards against the Nittany Lions in less than two minutes following slide tackles from Liam Butts and Peter Mangione.

Possession went back and forth until a few minutes after the cards when Mangione ran off a quick break, sending the ball through to Ben Liscum who hesitated, giving Dalton time to run up and post a save.

In the 62nd minute, Thomas DeVizio took advantage of the space given to him by the Penn State defense, as he ran down the sideline. Shakes ran out to meet him, taking on the shot and shutting down the attack, keeping Penn State in the game.

After a break for a Rutgers injury, Penn State ran the ball down the sideline and won its sixth corner. Kuhn hit the ball into the box where Butts connected with Mangione, who soared the ball through Rutgers to give the Nittany Lions their first goal in the 65th minute.

Penn State stayed a constant threat in its attacking half with about 20 minutes to play through quick, successive passes to frustrate Rutgers. Tensions continued to rise and Penn State had to play a man down for the last 13 minutes, as Femi Awodesu was given a red card following a collision.

Rutgers and Penn State both fought to keep possession at the end of the half, with constant counterattacks by both increasing the intensity. Mangione sent the ball to Liscum, who hit it and forced Dalton to dive and push it out. MD Myers was close to a third goal for the Scarlet Knights, but it screamed just wide.

The Nittany Lions pushed high in the final 10 minutes, putting all their effort into finding an equalizer. Both sides struggled to keep possession, with Rutgers posing counterattacks struck down by a strong Penn State defense. Ultimately, some controversial fouls prevented Penn State from taking shots on goal and left it coming up short.

Takeaways

  • Penn State seemed to lack control at times with bad first touches losing possession. The Nittany Lions appeared disconnected, as they rushed passes in the attacking half and took selfish shots instead of passing inside the 18.
  • The intensity of the game increased in the second half, and play got aggressive. Five yellow cards were handed down in the second half alone — two for Rutgers and three for Penn State. Tackles and fouls were constant, leading to an altercation. The referee called 18 fouls, with players and fans getting louder with each one. As the game grew more physical, control of the ball suffered.

What’s Next

Penn State will travel to Michigan for its final regular season game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 30.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

Ashley is a freshman studying journalism from New Jersey. She has the misfortune of rooting for the New York Giants, but at least they have Saquon! You can send ways for her to meet Saquon to her instagram @aconnington26 or watch her obsess over Harry Styles and Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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