Offensive Explosion Lifts Lions Past Quakers

posted September 25, 2014 in CommRadio, Sports by Tyler Zulli

Goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton came into Wednesday night’s contest against the University of Pennsylvania looking to stand alone in Penn State soccer history. Wolverton, however, will have to wait just a bit longer to become the sole possessor for career shutouts in Penn State men’s soccer history. The senior currently remains tied for first all-time with 28 clean sheets in his Nittany Lion career.

Wolverton has been terrific all season long, notching six additional shutouts in seven contests. In fact, the two goals allowed by the senior in the contest against the Qaukers (3-4) were the first two goals he’s allowed all season. Penn also becomes just the second team this season to put a ball in the back of the net against the Nittany Lions (7-0-1).

Those two goals allowed by Wolverton were the most goals allowed by the senior all season. It was also the first time since the Nittany Lions’ NCAA tournament loss to New Mexico that Wolverton has allowed multiple goals in a single contest.

Although Wolverton did allow two goals behind him in this contest, the Nittany Lion offense made sure that those two goals meant next to nothing, dropping a seven spot on the Quakers.

Redshirt senior Mikey Minutillo got the scoring going early in the first half, notching his fourth goal of the year off a beautiful give-and-go play with teammate Mason Klerks just about ten minutes into the first half.

This lead didn’t last long however, as just five minutes later UPenn striker Duke Lacroix knocked a laser shot past Wolverton to tie the game at 1-1. The goal was the senior’s fourth of the year.

If the Penn State lead was short lived, the Quaker one was nearly nonexistent, as Penn State regained the lead just one minute later on the second goal of the season for junior midfielder Brandon Savino. The Savino goal was assisted by fellow midfielder Drew Klingenberg, his third assist of the season.

The Nittany Lions stepped on the gas pedal late in the first half, as Connor Maloney scored his fifth goal of the season with just 14 minutes left in the half, stretching the Penn State lead to 3-1.

It was a change of pace for the Nittany Lions, as the three goals were the most scored in a half all season. Connor Maloney, who has been a key contributor to the early success of this program, was happy to see some other players get involved as well.

“It just gives them confidence, it goes to the next game. They’re great players and we could definitely have more goals from them,” said Maloney.

As the second half began, the Nittany Lions picked up where they left off, increasing their lead 4-1 just five minutes into the second half. Maloney once again found the back of the net, his second of the night and sixth on the season.

The Quakers quickly looked to get back into the contest, notching their second goal of the night just a few minutes after the Penn State tally, closing the gap to 4-2.

The offensive outburst continued just two minutes later, as the Nittany Lions extended the lead once again to three on the first goal of the season for Drew Klingenberg.

With just a minute remaining in the second half, Penn State continued to attack, stretching their season high single game total to six goals. The goal was notched by sophomore Riley Grant, his first goal of the season.

Wolverton may have given up two goals in this contest, but that number could have been significantly higher if it wasn’t for the play of the senior keeper. Wolverton saved an incredible 11 shots in the contest, coming up large time and time again to pick up the slack of the Penn State defense.

The Nittany Lions usually stout defense was less than stellar in this contest, allowing many runs up the middle. There were several through balls that snuck by them as well that are usually snuffed out.

Head Coach Bob Warming takes responsibility for the lack of defense in the contest.

“I’ve given those back three guys no days off; no days off playing, no days off training, and that’s all my fault,” said Warming.

The Nittany Lions will next travel to Michigan to begin Big Ten conference play on the road against the Wolverines. That game will kick off Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Tyler Zulli is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email