Scarlet Knights fall victim to Nittany Lions on Senior Day
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Host Penn State (6-8-2, 3-3-2) sent their seniors off with a night they’ll never forget on senior day, beating the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-12-1, 2-6-0) by a score of 2-0.
The Nittany Lions came out firing on offense, scoring just over 15 minutes in
on a beautiful shot by sophomore forward Callum Pritchatt, making it his first goal of
the season. Pritchatt dribbled the ball up the right side line, and from over 25
yards out, he booted the ball to the far post with his left foot, tipping off
Rutgers goalie Rafael Pereira’s hands and into the net, giving Penn State an
early 1-0 lead.
“It’s really good to get a goal and hopefully send the seniors away with some
good memories,” Pritchatt said, who was quick to deflect attention from
himself and instead focus on his senior teammates.
The score would stay at 1-0 at the conclusion of the first half, and Penn State
would not score again until sophomore forward Ethan Beckford’s goal gave
the Nittany Lions a 2-0 advantage.
Beckford was assisted on the goal by senior midfielder Austin Maloney, who
worked some give-and-go action with Beckford to set him up for his second
goal of the season.
“Beck saw me cutting in and I heard him scream ‘Austin,
Austin,' so I knew he wanted it, and I laid it back to him and he finished”
Maloney said about his assist to Beckford.
The scoring would end with the Nittany Lions’ two goals, playing great defense
all night, especially on notable plays such as one play by fifth year senior Dani
Marks. Off a set piece, a deflection put the ball at the top of the box, where
Rutgers forward Miles Hackett had an opportunity to tie the game up. Yet,
Marks sacrificed his body in front of the net, deflecting the ball out of harms
way and preserving the clean sheet for Penn State.
A team that has been strong defensively all year would prove to do more of the
same, and players such as Pritchatt and Maloney were quick to identify how
key their defense is to their success.
“Our defense is huge, you can always play confident in the attack and know the guys behind you are there to save you,”
This was Penn State’s fourth shutout of the season, all of which
have come in October for a Penn State team that is catching its stride just in the
nick of time.
With the Big Ten tournament looming large, and the Nittany Lions guaranteed
a sixth-place seeding, players such as Maloney recognize how important it was
to finish out strong.
“I think it’s huge to get that win at the end of the regular season going into the big ten tournament," Maloney said. "I think we’ve been playing
really well all season, and tonight was just great to get a result, and I think the
results are going to keep coming.”
In head coach Jeff Cook’s first season at Penn State, the team has won four of
its last seven games, and he appears to have them heading in the right
direction come tournament time. However, the most important thing coming out of the game to him was thanking the
“I think it appropriate to first congratulate our senior class. They’ve
showed a tremendous amount of resilience, and they’ve kept this whole team
together," Cook said. "I think that’s been a huge factor in why we’ve been able to produce
some really good performances late in the season.”
Seven Nittany Lions capped off their careers at Jeffrey Field, including seniors
Ryan Gallagher, Dani Marks, Noah Pilato, Brennan Ireland, Austin Maloney,
and Mac Curran. These seven, and the rest of the team, will hope to continue
their season, as Penn State heads into Big Ten Tournament play.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him,