Michigan Drops Penn State in Final Seconds
The Michigan Wolverines (3-7-2, 1-1-0 Big Ten) defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions (5-3-2, 0-2-0 Big Ten) 2-1 at Jeffrey Field on a cold and rain soaked Saturday night despite a late equalizer from senior defender Mark Fetrow.
Penn State came into the game not having scored in three consecutive games. They looked to have ended that drought after 34 minutes into the first half but a shot from Jacob Barron hit the bar, deflected to the foot of Jordan Tyler. Tyler’s shot was saved but not controlled by Michigan goalkeeper Adam Grinwis. The rebound came to Brian Forgue who blasted a shot off the post before being cleared out of danger.
“That’s the nature of the sport,” defender Matt Smallwood said. “Luck hasn’t gone our way recently. We’ve had so many games where we haven’t scored and three off the post in one play it’s just the nature of the game.”
Penn State dominated possession and had six shots on goal while holding Michigan to no shots on goal going into the halftime break.
“We had a great first half,” Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. “We passed the ball really well.”
After a goalless first half, Penn State continued dominating in possession. However, a sloppy pass resulted in a quick counter attack for the Wolverines. Etienne Lussietz’s shot hit the fingertips of Penn State before bouncing off the inside of post and in. Lussietz’s fourth goal of the season now ties him with Fabio Pereria for a team high.
It would be the first goal Penn State gave up on their home pitch all season. After trailing for the first time at home after giving up the first goal at home this season, the Nittany Lions continued to battle.
A corner kick was given to Penn State after a shot by Tyler deflected off of the Michigan defensive back line and over the end line. Matt Smallwood played the corner short to Mackenzie Arment who lofted a ball into the penalty area. Fetrow made a determined run into the penalty area and used his height to his advantage to head the ball in for the equalizer with 1:21 remaining.
Seconds later, Penn State gave up a foul that set up a dangerous free kick just outside the penalty area. As the ball was sent into traffic, Wolverton came off his line and got a hand on it but fell right in front of the goal where Ezekiel Harris put it to give Michigan the lead with just seconds remaining. It turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“When you score with 1:20 left you expect to close out the game and go into overtime,” Smallwood said. “We had a mental lapse there; a foul in the back that shouldn’t of happened. You have to be determined to clear the ball out of there.”
Head coach Bob Warming agreed and also attributed the foul that set up the game-winning goal to immaturity.
“We give up a foul there with only one forward up high to set it up and then just being a little naïve,” Warming said. “It really wasn’t a good mentality by the team there.”
With the loss, Penn State’s attention turns to RPI looking ahead to next Tuesday’s match against the Penn Quakers.
“Michigan isn’t going to have a very good RPI, on the other hand Penn is going to have an incredible RPI,” Warming added. “We really need that win in order to balance out this loss.”
The match against Penn will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Jeffrey Field and will be broadcast live on ComRadio.
Rob Greissinger is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.