Penn State Men’s Soccer Draws Wisconsin 1-1, Wins Share Of Big Ten Regular-Season Title
Penn State men’s soccer (9-3-4, 4-2-2 Big Ten) tied Wisconsin (6-4-6, 2-2-4 Big Ten) 1-1 on Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title with Indiana as both programs finished the year with 14 points.
Van Danielson knotted the game up in the second half at one with an assist from Peter Mangione. Kris Shakes allowed one goal with three saves in the final match of the regular season.
How It Happened
The match started with both teams battling for consistent possession. Wisconsin earned the first corner of the game in the fourth minute. Femi Awodesu held down the middle of the field for the Nittany Lions early on in his new midfield position.
The Badgers struck first on a corner kick from Birgir Baldvinsson that snuck past Kris Shakes on goal and found the back of the net in the 14th minute. With 15 minutes gone in the final regular season match of the year, Wisconsin held an early 1-0 lead over Penn State.
The Nittany Lions responded well and put the pressure on Wisconsin in the minutes following the goal. The Badgers were on their heels for the next 15 minutes. Penn State only managed two shots on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Awodesu was injured in the first half, having a cut above his eye that was stitched up at halftime. The Nittany Lion captain cleared concussion protocol and started the second half.
In the first five minutes of the second half, Wisconsin played the better of the two teams. Jeff Cook’s squad was unable to muster any offensive attack in a very not entertaining beginning to the last 45 minutes of the regular season.
Penn State had a golden opportunity in the 59th minute as Alex Stevenson fired a shot just off target from his left boot. A few minutes later, Peter Mangione let a shot off from distance that was easily handled by Nate Crockford in the Badgers’ goal.
Continued possession and a couple of shots on goal began a momentum shift for the Nittany Lions as they pushed on for an equalizer. Ben Liscum and Van Danielson came on in the middle of the second half, as head coach Jeff Cook pushed for a spark on offense.
Moments after coming onto the pitch, Danielson found the long-awaited equalizer to tie the game at one apiece. Mangione found Danielson on a through ball for his fourth assist of the year. Penn State had 22 minutes left to finish the season in the win column.
In the 72nd minute, Caden Grabfelder whipped a cross into the Wisconsin box, but no Nittany Lion was there to pounce on the opportunity. The Badgers responded well in the next few minutes, earning back more possession and multiple set pieces to take the momentum away from Penn State.
Atem Kato came onto the pitch in the 83rd minute as the Nittany Lions made one last push for an outright regular-season Big Ten title. Kato flicked a shot over the Badgers’ defense, but it used just too much power as it hit the crossbar.
The final minutes were chaotic in Madison as the Nittany Lions fired shot after shot at Crockford in net. Nothing got past the Wisconsin keeper, as the match ended with a 1-1 draw. The result meant the Nittany Lions earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title with Indiana. The Hoosiers beat Penn State during the season and will have the top overall seed heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
- Penn State once again struggled in the first half. No matter the sport, it is highly difficult to come from behind, and the Nittany Lions found themselves in that position once again.
- Van Danielson is a perfect super sub for this Nittany Lions team. Countless times this year Danielson has come off the bench and come up with massive goals in big-time games. Every team needs an impact bench player and a big game player, and Penn State has both in the junior from Maryland.
- Jeff Cook has done a great job as head coach at Penn State. In his sixth season, he has the Nittany Lions as a premier program in the Big Ten and in the country.
Penn State will begin its run for a Big Ten Tournament Championship later this week. The semifinal round of the tournament will kickoff against Iowa on Thursday, November 2.
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For the second year in a row, the Land Grant Trophy is headed back to State College.
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