Gritty, not pretty: Penn State men’s soccer secures its first win of the season

Story posted September 3, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Molly White

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – After dropping its first two games of the campaign, Penn State entered Friday night looking to get in the win column against a familiar foe.

The Nittany Lions took on West Virginia, and the two programs faced off last year, with the Mountaineers winning 3-1.

West Virginia came out attacking in the first half, and it got on the scoreboard first as in the 18th minute, midfielder Luke McCormick ripped a shot past goalie Kris Shakes.

The blue and white struggled to generate any chance on offense while the Mountaineers fed off the momentum McCormick’s tally provided.

With under two minutes remaining in the opening half, midfielder Peter Mangione found the back of the net, knotting the score at one.

With the score tied at one going into halftime, West Virginia wasted little time in the second regaining its one-goal advantage.

In the 56th minute, midfielder Dyon Dromers took an opportunity off of a crossbar shank and found the back of the net.

After Dromers' goal, the two teams traded scoring opportunities, and the blue and white played with a sense of urgency not wanting to lose its third straight game.

The Nittany Lions needed a spark for their top players and that’s exactly what happened in the 75th minute as captain Seth Kuhn set up Liam Butts for a huge goal.

With the game tied at two, the Penn State faithful were energized, and the home team fed off it as tensions ran high.
As the clock ran low, the game got sloppier for West Virginia and a variation of fouls and cards gave the Nittany Lions a great opportunity to capture their first victory. 

Mangione found the game's fate in his hands, where he had the opportunity to help the Nittany Lions take the lead for the first time.

After scoring early in the contest, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the year put his team on his back and fired a penalty kick past goalie Jackson Lee.

Although tensions were high throughout the game, Mangione knew to keep his cool and continue to play his game.

“We knew coming in that it would be a little shady, a little feisty, and they were on edge, but knew not to do anything stupid, and let them come to those rash decisions knowing it would just hurt them in the end,” Mangione said.

The physical play continued to the final whistle, but Penn State managed to hold off West Virginia securing the 3-2 victory.

Freshman Quentin Flowers logged valuable minutes in Friday’s contest, and he thrived, stopping several fast breaks and helping Shakes in net.

In the first two games of the year, the Parkland, Florida, native recorded 14 saves in those matchups, and despite surrendering two goals on Friday, he was a key factor in the win.

The Nittany Lions take on George Mason on Monday, but coach Jeff Cook isn’t worried about the matchup just yet, wanting to celebrate the team's first victory.

“We spent a lot of time in the video room really studying film and getting into the details of what I believe we can become as a team,” Cook said. “In terms of our ability to control games and possession, and defend more robustly, and even though we conceded two goals tonight, we did a lot of great defensive work.”

Molly White is a junior majoring in Kinesiology. To contact her, email