Penn State men’s soccer storms out of the gates to defeat Le Moyne in its home opener

Story posted August 27, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Micheal Bolger

A Big Ten-Northeast Conference matchup took over Jeffrey Field on Sunday as Penn State faced Le Moyne for the first time in program history. 

The Nittany Lions dominated all phases from the start of the game and walked away with a 4-0 shutout victory against the Dolphins. In the blue and white’s home opener, Kris Shakes ended the day with four saves while the offense produced 17 shots, six shots on goal and four scores.

As the sun beat down on Jeffrey Field, Penn State started the afternoon off with two quick shots against Le Moyne’s goalie Matthew Gera. 

The relentless attack paid off in the 14th minute as Peter Mangione charged into the box and was pushed from behind by a Dolphin defender. With a penalty shot opportunity, the senior from Maryland put the Nittany Lions on the board first with a laser to the lower right corner of the net.

Less than 10 minutes later, Caden Grabfelder worked his way into an uncontested shot within the Dolphins box to score his first-ever collegiate goal. The freshman Pennsylvania native made his first collegiate start three games ago and now had Penn State up big in the first half.

In the 32nd minute, Atem Kato headed a pass just right of the net that had the potential to turn Jeffrey Field wild.

As time began to tick away in the first half, Van Danielson tried to add one more to the scoreboard for Penn State. As Danielson entered the box, he began to lose control of the ball and that’s when Gera charged out to make a nail-biting save to end the half.

Penn State wasted no time to keep the party going as Kato redeemed himself and drilled one into the back of the net in the 48th minute. Kato then sprinted to the Park Avenue Army to celebrate with the Nittany Lion faithful.

As Jeffrey Field began to settle down, the Dolphins began to push back with their first corner kick of the evening. Even with its best opportunity to score in the game, Penn State’s defense stepped up again and flipped the field like it had been all day.

A complete collapse in the 63rd minute of play, set Danielson up to put the final touches on the game. Danielson found himself alone with the net after Samson Kpardeh and Caden Grabfelder got through the rest of the defense.

Le Moyne continued to challenge Penn State across the field, however, there needed to be more time to overcome the four-goal lead. 

Penn State takes home its first victory of the 2023 season in front of its home crowd to improve to 1-0-1. The Nittany Lions will stay home to take on Syracuse in their annual Wear White game on Friday at 7 p.m.

Le Moyne suffers its first Division One loss in program history but will get a chance to bounce back on Thursday against Saint Peter's University.

Micheal Bolger is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email