Penn State Ties Michigan 0-0
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s soccer team tied Michigan 0-0 Friday night at Jeffrey Field, revising its record to 4-1-2 overall and 1-0-1 in Big Ten play.
This match had important implications for both of these Big Ten household names. A win for the Nittany Lions would likely let them slip into the Top 25 rankings, whereas the Wolverines were looking to avoid dropping to .500.
However, Penn State redshirt junior goalkeeper Josh Levine said that his team did not let the prospect of being ranked get in the way of their gameplan.
“We focus on the things we can control,” Levine said. “ As always, our main focus tonight was coming out and executing and we were an inch away from achieving that.”
Early on, the Wolverines dominated time of possession but to no avail. Sophomore graduate transfer from Oakland and leading scorer Nebojsa Popovic had three clean looks in the box, but was unable to convert as Levine made an array of athletic saves to keep the match scoreless.
Later on at the 22:30 mark in the first half, senior forward Jack Hallahan shot an absolute rocket from the right side of the box, but Levine made another tremendous save.
Penn State only had three shots on goal to Michigan’s six, but neither team was able to gain any serious traction offensively. Both teams headed into halftime failing to reach the back of the net in what was a defensive slugfest.
Both sides continued to miss out on many scoring opportunities in the second half. At the 21:00 mark, Penn State forward Christian Sload came inches short of breaking the scoreless drought, as his shot hit the right post in a one-on-one scenario with Michigan goalkeeper Andrew Verdi.
As the second half winded down, the intensity began to pick up, but more sloppy play prevented either team from capitalizing. In the final minutes, the Nittany Lions failed to convert on a few attempts in the box, and the game went into overtime.
An extra period didn’t alter the recurring theme of the match. Neither Penn State nor Michigan were able to take advantage of their few shot attempts on goal in overtime, and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Overall, Levine was the best player on the field, as he finished with seven saves on the night, opposed to Verdi’s two.
“Credit to Michigan and the type of team they are,” Levine said. “I think this game just goes to show the competitive nature of the Big Ten.”
The Nittany Lions will now prepare for a matchup with Michigan State on Tuesday in East Lansing.
Pasquale Tartaro is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.