MSOC: Penn State tops Pitt on the Pitch
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Nittany Lions (5-6-1, 2-3-0 Big Ten) hosted the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-9-0, 0-4-1 ACC) at Jeffrey Field on Tuesday night. Penn State left the pitch with a 1-0 victory, while celebrating the end of their three-game losing streak, as well as their three Canadian teammates at Jeffrey Field’s Canadian Night.
“Aymar really wanted [a goal]… No offense to any other country in the world, including our own, but Canada has to have the nicest human beings on the planet and so great to have on a team,” head coach Bob Warming said of Aymar Sigue, Mitchel Bringolf and Dayonn Harris. “They are really positive people.”
While some players were motivated by their Canadian roots, the Penn State and Pitt matchup also created a highly anticipated showing with the historical implications looming over their in-state showdown. Although the two teams have not seen each other on the pitch since November of 1994, Penn State claims the overwhelming advantage with their most-updated 23-6-3 all-time record against the Panthers.
While the Nittany Lions looked to reverse their three-game losing streak and shooting drought, the Panthers aimed to disrupt their historical blunders against the Blue and White with aggressive defensive output.
Throughout the first half, Penn State’s midfielder, Connor Maloney, and forward, Dayonn Harris, had a field day infiltrating Pitt’s defensive third with fourteen shots.
“I think our guys passed the ball very well tonight. I think our aggressiveness was in getting behind them time after time after time,” Warming said. “There were some hard tackles, there were some hard fouls, but I thought our aggressiveness was put towards the ball and moving the ball quickly.”
While Penn State found every opportunity to create an offensive attack, Pitt’s goalie, Mikal Outcalt, saved eight of their shots and the defense thwarted the other six of Penn State’s shots over the net.
The Nittany Lions’ consistency eventually wore-out the Panthers when Harris secured a breakaway with a fluid pass from forward Frankie de la Camara. Harris maneuvered around Outcalt with no contest and scored the only goal with four minutes left in the first half.
“We really went off the game in Indiana…and brought the intensity here today,” Maloney said. “The first ten minutes of the game we had a lot of chances, obviously. We had that one goal by Dayonn that really sparked us and we kept getting opportunities and opportunities.”
The second half mirrored much of the first, but Pitt grew increasing frustrated, while Penn State’s offensive dominance from the first half expanded to their defensive output; essentially solidifying victory.
“We know we gotta make a run for it now,” Maloney said. “We are one game below .500…We need to get to the tournament…That’s everyone’s dream…We gotta start the run right now and that guys know that and everyone’s all in.”
The Penn State’s Men’s Soccer team hope to continue their winning ways this Saturday at 7 p.m. hosting the Michigan State Spartans.
Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.