Strong Second Half Leads Penn State Past Cleveland State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —Powered by a strong second half performance The Nittany Lions defeated the Cleveland State Vikings 16-5 on Saturday at Panzer Stadium.
After a tightly contested first half, the Nittany Lions (6-3) went on a 10-0 run in the second half that led them to victory. The Nittany Lions defense played aggressively and a balanced, free-flowing attack allowed for Penn State to get the victory.
Penn State was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead over the Vikings (2-8) in the first quarter. The Nittany Lions defense looked physically stronger than the Vikings attackers, constantly pushing ball carriers off their line. This strong defense was apparent earlier, as Cleveland State’s first offensive possession ended in a shot clock violation.
In the second quarter, the Vikings who are in their second year as a division 1 program became more aggressive. The Vikings scored four goals in the quarter and trailed 5-4 after sophomore midfielder/FOGO Danny Tesler scored at the 7:52 mark.
This would be as close as the Vikings would get through after sophomore attackman Mac O’Keefe scored his goal of the game on a buzzer beater goal to put the Nittany Lions up 6-4 to end the half.
Because O’Keefe was held in check for most of the game his teammates had to step up their play. They did just that in the second half, after redshirt sophomore attackman Dylan Foulds scored off of the face-off to put the Nittany Lions up 7-4. Foulds scored again at the 12:08 mark on a man-up opportunity.
“You can see his confidence grow” coach Jeff Tambroni said of Foulds, “it’s been fun to watch him play… it’s nice to know that he continues to keep developing into the player that we know and I think he knows he’s capable of becoming.”
Foulds would finish the day with five points (four goals and an assist) and lead a Penn State offense that saw 12 different players register points.
This balanced attack combined with a stout defense allowed the Nittany Lions to score 10 straight goals in the second half. This run would prove to be more than enough to lead the Nittany Lions to victory.
“We played with a tremendous amount of confidence,” Foulds said, “We have to battle these guys [The Nittany Lions defensive unit] all week… they really get us ready for what it’s going to be like on game day.”
The Nittany Lions have now won four of their last five games and will be looking to carry that momentum into conference play.
“We feel really good as a team.” Senior captain Tanner Peck said, “We feel like we’re on an upward trend, but it’s important to be peaking as the season goes on and that’s what we’re looking to do as we enter Big Ten play.”
The Nittany Lions will kick off their conference season against no. 18 Ohio State on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.