Penn State Men’s Soccer Stuns No.15 Akron On Senior Day

Story posted September 26, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Dylan Price

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – Senior day turned to night at Jeffrey Field as storms stalled Penn State’s stunning win over No.15 Akron.

The Nittany Lions came back to Jeffrey Field with lots of momentum after tying with No.9 Maryland 3-3 in their previous contest.

From the get go, Penn State was able to utilize that momentum to pilot them to a 1-0 victory over the top ranked Zips.

“For me, that’s probably our best game in terms of possession and attacking. I thought we created quality chances through the match, I thought we were excellent,” head coach Jeff Cook said.

After a fairly even match and some athletic saves from Akron’s Mitch Budler and Penn State’s Kris Shakes, the blue and white broke through by way of a costly miscue from Akron.

Luck struck for Penn State when senior Liam Butts took the feed from junior Tyger Evans, but the ball bounced off an Akron defender and found a home in the back of the net in the 44th minute.

Butts was credited with the goal, and the Nittany Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead and didn’t look back.

Coming out of the half, Penn State and Akron had some looks at goal before the weather decided to insert itself into the story of this game, and delayed the game for over an hour.

Cook said the weather was frustrating at first, but then it provided an opportunity to settle down.

“We took some to regroup, have some food, and then I think they were really determined,” Cook said.

After the inclement weather passed, senior day continued, and in the 69th minute, Akron mounted some positive momentum before a Kris Shakes save stalled that, something that happened repeatedly throughout the remainder of the second half.

The Florida native and staple of the program held the Zips at bay finishing the game with four saves en route to his 15th career shutout.

After the game, Cook rolled out praise for the senior goalie.

“This performance is indicative of what he’s done so well his entire career,” Cook said. “We see a goalie fulfilling his potential game in and game out.”

Cook took time as well to acknowledge the importance of the evening and emphasize just how much this current crop of seniors truly means to him.

“They’ve meant the world to me and the program,” Cook said with a smile on his face. “These guys believed in our staff and to see them come out and perform like that on senior day is really special.”

For Cook and Penn State, this win is a big one for continuing their momentum as well, now bringing the Nittany Lions’ record to 4-2-2 heading into one of the tougher stretches of the season.

“It’s one game at a time, to borrow Coach Franklin’s phrase, we are in a stretch that’s the first of three games in eight days,” Cook said. “I think we need to just build on this Wednesday when we go down to Villanova.”


Dylan Price is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at