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Penn State Men’s Soccer Falls To Rutgers 2-1

Penn State men’s soccer (7-3-3, 3-2-1 Big Ten) fell to Rutgers (5-6-2, 3-3-1 Big Ten) 2-1 in New Jersey Tuesday night.

The Nittany Lions’ undefeated road streak ended after a night with only four shots on goal against the reigning Big Ten champions. Rutgers took the early lead, and though Shakes stepped up like usual with pivotal saves, Penn State’s offense couldn’t keep up with the Scarlet Knights.

How It Happened

Rutgers came out with a fire, recording two shots before 10 minutes had passed. Penn State goalie Kris Shakes recorded a pivotal diving save in the third minute for his first of the night.

The Scarlet Knights took a corner kick off the save but failed to convert and Shakes took the goal kick. Penn State struggled to find possession in the opening minutes, constantly staying on the defense.

Alex Stevenson gave up a free kick to the Scarlet Knights, leading to a flurry of attacks for the next five minutes.

Matthew Acosta received the ball at the top of the 18-yard box for Rutgers, taking his shot which was deflected off course and able to trickle past Shakes to give Rutgers the lead in the 18th minute.

Penn State tried for a comeback and was able to record a slew of shots in the 20th minute, but the attack ended after Matthew Henderson’s corner hit the side of the net.

Rutgers then went on the counter-attack, looking much more threatening than Penn State, and forced Shakes to continue stepping up.

The Nittany Lions made some changes with Caden Grabfelder and Van Danielson coming on for Ben Liscum and and Atem Kato. They were able to find some rhythm, forcing Rutgers goalie Ciaran Dalton to punch the ball out for corners.

Rutgers scored again in the 34th minute as a deflection was kicked right out to Ola Maeland who put his attempt past Shakes.

The Penn State bench wasn’t happy with the goal, calling for an offsides call. Head coach Jeff Cook was issued a yellow card while an assistant coach was given a red.

With five minutes left in the half, Mangione had a breakaway. He tried to go through six defenders and pulled off a shot, but it was deflected and cleared. The Nittany Lions retained the ball in their attacking half but couldn’t break past the Rutgers midfield.

Samson Kpardeh wasted no time coming back from half, catching Dalton by surprise and blasting a shot out from 40 yards out that was just wide of the post in the 46th minute.

Penn State received a free kick after a Rutgers offside call in the 50th minute, switching the momentum. Femi Awodesu found Mangione at the six but his shot hit the near post and went out of bounds.

Mangione recorded three shots in four minutes but all were blocked before a Rutgers clearance. Mohamed Cisset recorded a blocked shot a few minutes later before a break in play due to a Rutgers injury. With 25 minutes left, Penn State had 12 shots but none on goal.

Kpardeh stole the ball and broke off down the field but failed to pass the ball before turning it over.

In the 75th minute, Nick Collins was issued a yellow card for the Scarlet Knights after pushing Kato. The call had to be reviewed and stood.

Henderson took a corner kick and Awodesu’s header was deflected before his shot was foiled by Dalton. Awodeu’s shot marked the first on goal for Penn State.

Maeland blasted in a long shot, forcing Shakes to leap and grab the ball. Shakes booted it downfield but the hurried pace didn’t help the Nittany Lions who struggled to gain possession.

Penn State had a big chance in the 81st minute when Morgan Marshall found Stevenson at the far-side six, but his shot went wide.

With only 10 minutes left in the game, Penn State opted to keep booting the ball up the field, trying to start any offensive attack. Mangione won the ball in the air and volleyed it at the net but was redirected again.

Luciano Sanchez won the ball back for the Scarlet Knights and had a breakaway, beating the defense and just missing the goal.

Shakes then found Danielson, who ran down the sideline and blasted a shot off of the crossbar. It ricocheted to Mangione who beat his man and blasted it low into the back of the net with 47 seconds left. There was no time for Penn State to find another goal, and it ended the game 2-1.


  • Samson Kpardeh was extremely influential in the game, consistently running down the sidelines and sending in valuable passes. Though Penn State’s offense struggled overall, the majority of its bright spots came from plays off of Kpardeh. The attacker is only a freshman and seems to gain importance in each game he plays.
  • Femi Awodesu and Peter Mangione led the team again tonight, though both were foiled multiple times by Ciaran Dalton. Awodesu and Mangione had the only shots on goal for the team tonight, each recording two. Penn State came back over Indiana because of the captains and continues to rely on them.
  • In the first half, Penn State had zero shots on goal compared to Rutgers’ five shots. After the 90 minutes, Penn State had only four shots on goal to Rutgers’ six. Penn State is definitely a second-half team, being 2-1-0 after trailing at halftime, and it is shown in the decline of the Scarlet Knights in the second half. But being a second-half team is simply not enough for a struggling offense to come back every time.

What’s Next?

Penn State returns to Jeffrey Field to take on Michigan at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, for its Senior Night. 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 has the misfortune of rooting for the New York Giants, but at least they have Saquon! You can email [email protected] to send her ways to meet Saquon or watch her obsess over Harry Styles and Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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