Penn State Men’s Soccer Falls To Indiana 1-0 In Big Ten Tournament Final
Penn State men’s soccer (10-4-5, 4-3-2 Big Ten) fell to Indiana (12-4-4, 5-2-2 Big Ten) in the Big Ten Tournament Final in Bloomington on Sunday afternoon.
Penn State was slow out of the gates, severely struggling in the first half. Indiana dominated control and threatened the defense all game long, forcing big saves. Kris Shakes was a force to be reckoned with and held Indiana to only one goal, but Penn State’s offense could not find its spark.
How It Happened
The Hoosiers came out on fire, taking a quality shot and winning two corners in the first five minutes of the game.
Samson Kpardeh was the main opening attack for the Nittany Lions but Indiana was smothering him in the box. Indiana went on the counter and blasted a hard, low shot but Shakes made a big diving save to force a corner.
The opening twenty minutes were dominated by the Hoosiers, as they maintained possession and gave Penn State nothing to work with.
The Nittany Lions’ defense was working overtime to stop the attack. Shakes was forced to come up with multiple insane saves halfway through, and Alex Stevenson had a strong sliding tackle to block a shot as he led the backline.
Penn State made some substitutions in the 32nd and found a bit of spark. Morgan Marshall had the best chance for the Nittany Lions in the 35th minute, chasing a ball downfield and fighting the defender all the way to the six but was bullied away and the Hoosiers went on the counterattack.
Samuel Sarver got the ball right outside the box, catching Stevenson off balance and shooting it across goal to get Indiana’s goal in the 38th minute.
Ben Liscum carried the ball for Penn State, taking his chance to shoot and Indiana goalkeeper JT Harms pushed it over the crossbar for a corner. The Nittany Lions were able to keep possession for the last five minutes of the half, the most hold they had in the first 45 minutes but still trailed 1-0.
Penn State returned and went searching for captain Peter Mangione, hoping the Big Ten offensive player of the year could create a difference. Mangione knocked off two quick shots, raising Penn State’s shots to three but got blocked both times.
The Hoosiers won a corner kick and Penn State’s defense stepped up big to block two quick shots and clear the ball. The Hoosiers were quickly on the attack again though, and continued to get shots on goal.
Mangione won the ball in midfield in the 63rd, cutting through the defense and opting to take it himself instead of finding Kpardeh on the run. Mangione was triple-teamed and lost the ball but managed to secure a throw in for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions won a corner and filled the box, but their shot was deflected and the offsides flag was raised as they were forced back onto defense.
Sarver ran past Sam Ovesen, who pulled him down right outside the box for an Indiana free kick and received a yellow card. Sarver skied the kick over the fence.
Atem Kato won a corner for Penn State and Caden Grabfelder sent it at net, though Harms punched it over for another corner. The tide turned for Penn State as it picked up momentum with dangerous services. Morgan Marshall was close to finding the equalizer but his header went inches above the net.
Shakes made two immense saves around the 75th minute, diverting rockets and keeping Penn State in the game.
The Nittany Lions were frantically searching for an equalizer in the final ten and Mangione fired off a flurry of shots that were just saved. He got the slightest bit of room and fired a shot in the 86th, going wide by inches and hitting the post.
They filled the box for the last five, attempting to overwhelm Indiana but simply could not hit the back of the net. The final whistle blew and Indiana won the Big Ten tournament 1-0.
- Penn State’s offense struggled today, it was practically nonexistent in the first half with only one shot. It picked up at the end of the game but felt disconnected and crumbling under pressure.
- Shakes and the defense were immense. They all had critical blocks and helped keep the Nittany Lions in the game. There would have been no real game without them today.
- Mangione was threatening in the second half, showing why he is Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. All he needs is an inch of space to get off a shot, something he did six times in the second half. He’s the key in this offense and will be heavily relied on if they move on to the NCAA tournament.
Penn State will hope to see its name called for the NCAA tournament to continue its postseason. The selection show will take place on Monday, November 13.
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About the Author
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