Nittany Lion Defense Shines in 1-0 Upset of No. 10 Indiana
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA — New faces in Happy Valley left their mark Sunday as Penn State beat No. 10 Indiana 1-0 in the third annual Mack Brady Game.
Robby Sagel, a Temple transfer, scored the lone of the match in the 70th minute, while Matt Bersano, a senior transfer from Oregon State, kept a clean sheet on three saves, including a penalty kick stop.
After struggling early to get a shot on goal, a free kick set piece changed the entire game.
Setting up from about 40 yards out, Brian James sent a cross flying into a crowded box. Sagel emerged from the bunch and used a jumping kick to volley the ball past the goalkeeper for his first goal as a Nittany Lion.
“I’m on cloud nine,” Sagel said after the win. “To play a part in [beating Indiana], freaking awesome.”
A foul in the box by Dani Marks gave Indiana an early chance to strike first in the 13th minute. The Hoosiers, however, could not capitalize as Bersano correctly guessed left and made a diving save to deny the penalty kick.
"You never want to give up a goal that early,” Bersano said. “We got a long game to play after it so you definitely don’t want to be behind."
“That's a make or break moment for us,” he added.
The Nittany Lions now have a 462-minute shutout streak against Indiana and a three-game regular season winning streak.
"It’s kind of like we hit their hornets’ net with a hockey stick six, seven times,” said Penn State head coach Bob Warming. "They’re going to come and be swarming all over us, but just be ready to fight it off."
Penn State leading goal scorer Mac Curran almost scored the opening goal just six minutes prior to Segal’s, as he broke free down left field and raced the opposing goalkeeper to a loose ball atop the box. A collision led the ball to sail out for a goal kick and kept the game scoreless.
After missing the last match, Connor Maloney returned to the pitch and was effective throughout the match on both ends of the field, making strong runs to lead the attack and timely tackles to keep Indiana from finding a shot.
"It was tough sitting out, but coming back I just felt like it was Christmas Day,” Maloney said.
The Hoosiers’ offense outshot the Nittany Lions 7-4 but could not punch one in.
In the 60th minute, Femi Hollinger-Janzen controlled a cross in the box and sent a strike from short range through traffic that found the crossbar and took an unfriendly bounce out the goal.
An equalizer opportunity came six minutes after the opening goal in a corner kick. An Indiana player controlled the cross and fired to the far post, but Brennan Ireland, positioned in the far side of the goal, headed the ball out to clear the threat.
“We’re all living Mack’s dream,” coach Warming said, “I just told my guys ‘be thankful for everything’.”
Next up for the Nittany Lions is a trip to Columbus, Ohio in a matchup with Ohio State.
Marley Paul is a senior digital and print journalism major at Penn State. Contact him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @MPaulPSU
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