Late Goal Gives Men’s Soccer 2-1 Win Over Bucknell
In a match that featured many missed opportunities from both teams, a lapse in defense late allowed the Penn State men’s soccer team (8-4-2, 2-1-1 Big Ten) to score the go-ahead goal and beat the Bucknell Bison (5-5-4, 1-1-2 Patriot) by a 2-1 score on Wednesday evening at Jeffrey Field.
The Bison started the game by applying good pressure to Penn State, forcing the Nittany Lions to take the ball back into their own zone multiple times before making any initial attacking attempts. Penn State’s first great chance came in the 41st minute, when junior Grant Warming attempted a chip on net off a cross from junior Mikey Minutillo, but hit the right post.
The Nittany Lions would have a few other opportunities early in the game off of corner kicks and good ball movement, but were unable to capitalize. Still, Penn State head coach Bob Warming was pleased with his team’s effort early on.
“I thought we moved the ball ever so well tonight,” Warming said. “Especially the first 25 minutes of the game was some fantastic soccer by our guys.”
Penn State notched the first tally of the game at 23:10, when senior John Gallagher put a nifty move on the defender and fired a shot low at the far post that beat Bucknell goalkeeper Mike Lansing. The play was set up nice by senior Julian Cardona, who saw Gallagher in open space and switched fields over to him.
After some more intense attacking from the Penn State offense, Bucknell finally caught a break at 14:08 when a ball sent into the box by Jesse Klug drew a Nittany Lions penalty and a penalty kick. Collin Costello took the penalty kick for the Bison and blasted it past sophomore Andrew Wolverton to tie the game at 1-1. Wolverton guessed the right direction on the kick, but could not reach the ball in time to make the save.
The second half started off slow for the Nittany Lions before the injury bug came back to bite the team yet again. Redshirt sophomore Eli Dennis went down just ten minutes into the half, and was carried off the field by two trainers while wearing a boot on his right leg. Warming did not have a diagnosis for the defender at the end of the game but did say he thought he had “picked up a bad injury.”
The injury made Dennis the sixth currently injured Nittany Lion, and forced Warming to make a switch in his formation.
After nearly 88 minutes of back-and-forth play, the 1-1 tie was finally broken when senior Marvin Ledgister tapped home a cross on the ground from freshman Drew Klingenberg. The ball rolled all the way into the box without being cleared by a Bucknell defender, setting Ledgister up for an easy goal.
“The ball was out wide,” he said. “Owen Griffith made the front post run and he drew two or three guys out, so it kind of left me open for the tap in.”
The late win gives the Nittany Lions a jolt of energy heading into the final three games of the season. Afterwards, Gallagher said that considering the adversity the team faced and how they were able to respond, the victory will carry momentum over to the remaining games.
“It’s definitely a huge confidence boast,” Gallagher said. “We had Eli out and we switched up our formation, so for us to get a goal in that formation that we switched to gives us all the confidence in the world now going into these next couple games.”
Penn State still has away games at both Northwestern and Penn this year. The Nittany Lions will close out their home schedule on October 28 when they host Ohio State at 1 p.m. Coverage of that game can be heard on psucomradio.com.
Troy Weller is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.