Penn State Men’s Soccer Confident In Progress, Ability Despite First Loss
Penn State men’s soccer lost its first game of the season against Penn and gave up three goals Friday.
The Nittany Lions seemed to have control of the match in the first half and dominated possession before its quick downfall in the last 45 minutes.
“We’ve been in that type of situation before when it’s 0-0 and we kind of feel like we have control of the game,” team captain Femi Awodesu said. “And to be honest, we thought we did. It’s just hard, you gotta keep your focus.”
Penn State started the game slowly and got lulled into a sense of false security. By the time it entered the second half, it was unprepared for a newfound locker room energy from the Quakers.
“I think if we look back at tonight, we maybe fell into the classic trap set in soccer for having a lot of possession and then getting hit on the counter-attack,” head coach Jeff Cook said.
The counterattacks from Penn wore down the Nittany Lions, who became impatient and kept quickly losing possession.
The blue and white’s conference play opens Friday against Ohio State, which looks intimidating after the Penn result. Regardless of the outcome, Cook has faith in his team and hasn’t seen any troubling signs in training.
“The key is not to change. [It’s] to stay consistent,” Cook said. “We can’t jump around from one idea to the next. I think that confuses players, and we’ve just got to show belief in each other and what we’re doing.”
The Nittany Lions have been highlighting their connection so far this season, crediting unselfishness to their early success.
Their first loss comes after impressive draws against No. 5 Pitt and No. 1 Syracuse through just under a third of its regular season. While they’ve been giving credit to the staff for their recovery, the Nittany Lions were bound to be run down and hasty at some point.
From here, the veterans plan to lead the team through the loss and bounce back.
“I think it’s definitely on the older guys, the more experienced guys in the team to let them know that we’ve been here before,” Awodesu said. “In the year that we won the Big Ten and the Big Ten Tournament, we had really bad losses like this and then we bounced back from it.”
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