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No. 14 Penn State Men’s Soccer Drops To Penn 3-0

No. 14 Penn State men’s soccer (2-1-2) fell to unranked Penn (1-2-0) Friday night at Jeffrey Field in its first loss of the season.

Despite having more shots than the Quakers, the Nittany Lions failed to capitalize on any of their attempts and lacked its usual togetherness. The Nittany Lions’ backline stayed strong in the first half but was unable to keep up with the counterattacks and started to fall in the last 45 minutes.

How It Happened

Penn State controlled possession early on and took a shot on goal in the third minute, but it was easily grabbed by Penn goalie Nick Christoffersen.

The Nittany Lions kept the majority of the possession but failed to capitalize as it continuously provided costly turnovers. Stas Korzeniowski received a yellow card for Penn in the 13th minute, giving the Nittany Lions a free kick but nothing came of the chance.

Penn State saw its first real chance in the 17th minute, crowding the box. Alex Stevenson found the ball at the top but it was blocked and Christoffersen grabbed the rebound.

Action was limited and 20 minutes into the game, there were only three shots on goal between the teams and no corners.

Penn then found a breakthrough, sending the ball over the top to Charlie Gaffney who pushed it low past goalkeeper Kris Shakes, but the Nittany Lions were saved by a miracle as Gaffney got called offsides.

Penn State attempted to switch momentum after the call, running the ball downfield and winning its first corner. The ball was cleared by the Quakers but won back by Matthew Henderson, who sent a curling cross in that was met by Penn.

The Nittany Lions continued to attempt to hit the back of the net with Caden Grabfelder sending a low ball across the six that was missed, and Atem Kato heading the next chance over the crossbar.

They retained the ball in their attacking half, producing a slow build-up waiting for a mistake from the Quakers.

Penn State won a corner with five minutes to play, but Henderson’s cross went right to a Quaker defender.

The blue and white had another breakaway, with Samson Kpardeh opting to attempt to feint the defense but soon turned it away. The Quakers came with a quick counter-attack, forcing the Penn State defense and Femi Awodesu to come up strong.

The first half ended scoreless with only two goals on target from each team.

Penn State came out strong in the second half, with Kpardeh sprinting down the line to send in a cross to Stevenson before his shot was cleared. The Quakers used this turnover to work their way down and win a corner kick but their header went wide.

Sean Bettenhausen found himself with the ball and time at the top of the box in the 62nd minute but his shot went wide.

The Nittany Lions saw another chance in the 64th minute, with Grabfelder’s header being intercepted by the defense. The Quakers immediately went on the attack, catching Shakes rushing to make it back into his net. Korzeniowski shot the ball to the left corner but was denied by Shakes before Michael Hewes hit the rebound right into the middle of the back of the net.

Penn State struggled to regain its footing, giving Penn the space to attack. Hewes found himself in front of the goal and tapped it past Shakes to gain his brace and give Penn a two-goal lead in the 72nd minute.

Play got scrappy and Penn State won a free kick outside the box but captain Peter Mangione’s shot hit wide.

Christofferson received a yellow card in the 84th minute, providing Penn State with a free kick right outside the six. An attempt to slide the ball past the defense was broken up and cleared out to Stevenson, who shot it high over the net.

The Nittany Lions gave away a penalty kick with 90 seconds left in the game. Michael Hewes stepped up and blasted it into the right side to secure a hat trick of the night and make it 3-0 for Penn.

Takeaways

  • Penn State looked sluggish and slow tonight. After being unbeaten in the first four games, it may have gone to their heads as they had uninspired play and caused too many turnovers.
  • The Nittany Lions had only five shots on goal tonight, but it was still their second-highest of the season. Penn State was unable to finish tonight due to a seemingly lack of communication from the team.
  • Penn was able to capitalize on all their opportunities tonight, having more of a fight than the Nittany Lions. The quick counters were deadly to Penn State, who were unable to come together quickly enough to shut it down.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will hit the road to take on Ohio State at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 8. The game will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

Ashley is a sophomore studying journalism from New Jersey. She is not okay about Saquon leaving the Giants and was crying on her couch all day. She can't look at all of her Saquon merch and doesn't know when she will recover. You can email [email protected] to send her ways to meet Saquon or watch her obsess over Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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