MSOC: Nittany Lions Secure First Win of Season in Double Overtime Battle
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The scene was all too familiar for Penn State men’s soccer as they prepared to play their third consecutive game in double overtime.
With a minute left on the clock, the Nittany Lions hustled back on offense hungry to attack and keep the game from ending in a 0-0 tie. As the ball flew from the right sideline with 37 seconds left on the clock, Christian Sload attacked, shooting the ball straight into the net and sending the crowd flying to their feet.
History repeated itself at Jeffery Field for the sophomore forward who scored his first career goal against Saint Francis almost a year ago. The game-winning goal marked the second of Sload’s career, but the veteran was anything but selfish when sharing how the Nittany Lions pulled off an exciting victory.
“That goal goes to Mikey Conneh, he had a nice ball into the box and we had a nice run,” Sload said. “I’m overwhelmed right now. It’s amazing to finally have a win under our belt.”
Being back on their own turf after two road games, the Nittany Lions started slow, working to find their rhythm. Penn State’s back line emerged strong in the first half, protecting the net by allowing zero shots on goal and fighting hard to intercept the ball.
While defense stole the show in the first half, Penn State shifted their focus to offense in the second, attacking hard and taking more shots on Saint Francis.
“There was a lot of discussion with the team and a very active locker room at halftime,” Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. “They saw the problem and solved it. Players realized they needed to do more interchanging and once we did that, the game started flowing a lot better.”
The Nittany Lions took four shots in the second half with two reaching goal. Senior goalkeeper Evan Finney helped to keep the match scoreless late in the second half, leaping into the air to prevent the Red Flash from finding net and getting on the board.
Tied at the end of regulation, Penn State led Saint Francis 3-1 in shots on goal while the Red Flash had three saves compared to the Nittany Lions one. With only one shot coming from the Nittany Lions during the overtime period, the match remained 0-0 after 100 minutes of game play.
Both teams knew they could either walk away with a victory or settle for a 0-0 double overtime tie, but it was the Nittany Lions that emerged victorious in the end and celebrated their first victory of the season.
Penn State will travel to Columbus on Tuesday to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in their first Big Ten matchup of the season.
Ellie French is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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