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No. 17 Penn State Falls on the Road at West Virginia

No. 17 Penn State Falls on the Road at West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN, W.V. – Playing man-down for nearly 70 minutes, the Penn State men’s soccer team fell on the road to West Virginia, 3-1, Friday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

“I want to complement our players on the effort and determination to compete given the circumstances playing a man-down for so long against a high-quality opponent,” said head coach Jeff Cook. “We did an excellent job of creating chances to score and were eventually rewarded and pushed to try to tie the game up. We took some risks to try to score the tying goal but unfortunately West Virginia scored a third on the counterattack and put the game beyond reach. Despite our disappointment at losing tonight’s game, there are several positives we can take away from our performance.”

 

The first 12 minutes of the first half were a back-and-forth as both teams tried to establish momentum. The Nittany Lions (1-1-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) earned the first two corner kicks around the fifth minute while the Mountaineers (3-0-0, 0-0-0 MAC) took the first two shots of the match around the 14th minute, but both were off target.

 

Junior Alex Stevenson took Penn State’s first shot of the match in the 22nd minute off another corner kick but it was blocked in the six by West Virginia’s defense. Senior Danny Bloyou then had a great look at net on the counterattack that was just tipped off the goal line by the opposing keeper.

 

On West Virginia’s counterattack, junior Jalen Watson got tangled up with a Mountaineer forward and was assessed a second yellow in the match which in turn is a red card and would put Penn State playing man-down from the 23rd minute on.

 

After the red card, junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes made three huge saves in a four-minute span to keep the pressing Mountaineers out of the net.

 

The home team with the man-advantage was able to continue that press, however, and slipped a high shot right over the stretching fingertips of Shakes in the 34th minute to take a 1-0 lead that would maintain into the break.

 

Out of halftime, Penn State showed confidence on offense with Bloyou running up the right side of the field and drawing a foul right outside the 18 in the 51st minute.

 

The Nittany Lions got numbers in the box and saw a shot by redshirt senior Pierre Reedy blocked and redirected back at Bloyou at the near post who sent a shot to the far post that was saved at the line by a Mountaineer defender.

 

Once again on the counter play, West Virginia earned a corner kick and scored a header goal to take a two-goal lead in the 53rd minute.

 

The next 30 minutes were still controlled by the Mountaineer offense, however Shakes and the backline were able to defend the box as well as they could with Shakes making saves on the two shots on frame.

 

Penn State showed tenacity, however, earning a corner kick in the 81st minute and keeping the ball in its offensive zone. The Nittany Lions again had numbers in the box and a shot by sophomore Peter Mangione was initially saved by West Virginia before classmate Femi Awodesu scored with a massive strike on the second ball to put Penn State within one.

 

With some momentum in their favor, the Nittany Lions continued to put pressure on the ball and move numbers forward in hopes of finding the equalizer.

 

West Virginia capitalized with those numbers forward in the 89th minute with a breakaway goal to the top right corner for the 3-1 winning score.

 

UP NEXT

The Nittany Lions return to Jeffrey Field on Monday, Sept. 6 for a Labor Day matchup against American University, the defending Patriot League champions and NCAA Tournament team from a season ago. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and will stream live on Big Ten Network+.

 

GAME NOTES

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  • Sophomore defender Femi Awodesu scored his first career goal.
  • Junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes tied his season high with six saves.



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