Penn State Men’s Soccer Thrashes Ohio State 3-0 In Big Ten Opener
Penn State men’s soccer (3-1-2) triumphed over Ohio State (1-3-2) 3-0 Friday night on the road in Columbus in the season’s Big Ten opening conference game.
The Nittany Lions deployed lethal speed on offense to overpower the Buckeyes. Star striker Liam Butts found the back of the net three times, earning a hat trick in the second half. Butts’ performance on offense along with a lockdown defensive led by Kris Shakes, allowed the Nittany Lions to rediscover their form and take home a win on the road.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started the game strong and applied pressure to the Buckeyes back line from the opening kickoff. Penn State’s star goalkeeper, Kris Shakes, made an early save from a shot from outside the box. Ohio State’s Brayden Durbin received an early yellow after fouling Penn State’s Liam Butts, who was denied a breakaway opportunity.
As both teams continued to battle for control of possession, the Buckeyes began to take control of the game as the Nittany Lions struggled to maintain the ball in the opening 10 minutes of the first half.
In the 33rd minute, Butts found open space and dribbled the ball through the Buckeyes’ defense, eventually rifling a low shot past Peter Van Euwen to set the score to 1-0 in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Penn State slowed the game down following the opening goal, causing Ohio State to gain counterattacks following turnovers from the Nittany Lions. With 25 minutes remaining in the first half, Shakes made a diving save to deny a header from the Buckeyes and protect the advantage for Penn State.
Following the tremendous save from Shakes, both teams continued to trade spurts of possession with neither able to find a scoring opportunity.
With just over 15 minutes remaining in the half, Ohio State received a red card after Anthony Samways struck Penn State’s Alex Stevenson following a physical battle for a loose ball.
Playing a man down, the Buckeyes struggled to formulate attacks on offense, allowing the Nittany Lions to win possession in the midfield. Penn State continued to press the constrained Buckeyes’ back-line, forcing several freekicks on attack.
In the final five minutes of the half, the Buckeyes found a few opportunities to counterattack the Nittany Lions but were to find a shot on goal. The half ended favoring Penn State 1-0.
Despite being down a man, the Buckeyes started the second half with intensity and found two early shots that both missed the net. Penn State’s Mohamed Cisset received a yellow card after dragging down a Buckeyes’ playing just outside the box.
Ohio State’s Laurence Wootton fired a volley at the top of the Penn State box and hammered the right post, nearly finding an equalizer.
With 35 minutes remaining in the game, the Nittany Lions remain lethargic and struggle to contain an invigorated Buckeye team. Penn State committed several turnovers in the final third of the field and was unable to transition the ball forward and test Van Euwen.
In the 30th minute, Butts doubled up after finishing a deflected shot resulting from a free kick outside the box. Following this goal, the Buckeyes began to lose momentum and the Nittany Lions continued to disrupt play.
Just two minutes later, Butts earned his hat trick after smashing a shot in the top corner following an acrobatic save from Van Euwen, making the score 3-0.
The deflated Buckeyes continued to turn the ball over and struggled to maintain the same energy seen at the start of the half. The Nittany Lions slowed down the tempo of the game and added increased defensive stability with midfielders sitting deeper in formation.
In the final 10 minutes of the game, Penn State remained disciplined and maintained a strong shape on defense to fend off any chances from Ohio State. Penn State’s Samuel Ovesen deflected a shot from the Buckeyes, preventing a goal in the six-yard box.
From the subsequent corner kick, Stevenson cleared a headed shot off the goalline, keeping the clean sheet for the Nittany Lions.
At the end of the game, the Nittany Lions maintained a clean sheet and the score finished at 3-0.
- Liam Butts was on fire for the Nittany Lions, securing a hattrick in the second half and running circles around the Buckeyes’ backline. His speed combined with his lethal finishing makes him a pivotal player on offensive throughout the rest of the season.
- After Anthony Samways received a straight red card for the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions took advantage of the man up. Penn State’s Alex Stevenson showed excellent discipline by not retaliating and keeping his place in the game.
- Kris Shakes led the Nittany Lion defense recording six saves on the night and denying several point-blank shots. Shakes found a pair of saves early on that inspired the Nittany Lions to push ahead and find a first-half goal.
The Nittany Lions continue on the road next week in another Big Ten matchup against Maryland at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 19. The game will be streamed on BTN+.
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