Penn State Downs Michigan State, Advances to Big Ten Tournament Semifinals
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State found itself at home to open the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon and had little difficulty handling business.
The Nittany Lions opened up by scoring a goal in the first minute of the game and ultimately won 2-0 to advance to the semifinals.
Peter Mangione found the back of the net within the first 30 seconds and Penn State didn’t look back after the fast start. Its lead was doubled after Andrew Privett fired a shot into the top of the goal, beating the Spartans backline in the 17th minute.
The second half started with a lot of action but neither team could capitalize early.
Junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes made a huge save in the 57th minute to hold the two-goal lead for the Nittany Lions.
Mangione then had the keeper beat in the 60th minute but pushed his shot just wide of the post.
Shakes stole the show in the rest of the second half, as he continuously bailed out the Nittany Lions with multiple daring saves, including a fully stretched, diving save in the 78th minute that kept the momentum with the Nittany Lions and crushed the hope of the Spartans.
Recently named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Mangione, said Shakes deserves the hype.
“He’s been great for us ever since he’s come to Penn State,” Mangione said. “He’s worthy of a lot of recognition.”
Shakes finished with five saves while the Spartans ended up outshooting the Nittany Lions 12-7.
The game also totaled 18 fouls, including five yellow cards and got a little chippy in the second half.
Coach Jeff Cook was super pleased with his team's performance, but also wanted to recognize his whole coaching staff after he was awarded Big Ten Coach of the Year this past week.
“It’s the staff of the year,” Cook said. “I can’t be successful unless the whole staff is behind it” said Cook. “We have a great team behind the team”.
Penn State will look to add more team accomplishments alongside its individual awards that were handed out over the past week.
Michigan State’s season is most likely over but will hold out small hope for a NCAA Tournament bid while Penn State will continue its journey to win the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday at noon at Jeffrey Field hosting Michigan.
Charlie Knezevic is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.