Wisconsin Escapes Penn State with Penalty Kick Win in Double Overtime Heartbreaker

Story posted November 7, 2011 in CommRadio, Sports by Seth Beber

The Penn State men’s soccer team (7-8-4, 0-6-0 Big Ten) lost another bid to get their first conference win against Wisconsin (9-7-2, 4-2-0 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon during Senior Day at Jeffrey Field.

For seniors Mackenzie Arment, Marco Ciarla, Mark Fetrow, Justin Lee and Matt Smallwood, it marked the final time they took Jeffrey Field as members of the Penn State men’s soccer team. The group combined for 262 career starts.

The first half of the match was marked by strong defense and offensive struggles, as both teams lacked finishing power. Each team had quality chances to score, but neither side was able to put the final touch on the ball.

Wisconsin’s best first half opportunity came in the 33rd minute after a foul. Junior midfielder Tomislav Zadro lined up a spot kick from 25 yards away and curled a shot into the top left corner of the goal. Fortunately for Penn State, freshman keeper Andrew Wolverton was able to get a hand on the ball.

Penn State had its share of chances as well. In the 42nd minute, junior forward Minh Wu whipped a 35-yard free kick into the box right at senior defenseman Mark Fetrow, but Fetrow mishandled the ball and lost a big opportunity for the Nittany Lions.

The half finished with Wisconsin outshooting Penn State 4-2 with shots on goal. Wisconsin sophomore keeper Max Jentsch was able to make two saves, while Wolverton was able to make three saves in his attempt to record his 11th shutout of the year.

The second half continued to be about missed scoring chances. Penn State’s 4th corner of the game came in the 55th minute off the foot of Vu. The cross was tipped by Wisconsin and found its way to freshman defender Owen Griffith, who headed it at the goal, but right into the arms of Jentsch.

Regulation time ended with Wisconsin mustering eight shots on goal opposed to Penn State’s five. Wolverton was able to make five saves, while Jentsch was able to make a respectable four.  Wisconsin was additionally able to earn nine corner kicks opposed to Penn State’s four.

The overtime periods were marked by more chances for both sides. Both goalkeepers were forced to make saves, preserving what appeared to be a scoreless draw to the end.

With just ten seconds remaining in the second overtime period, Wisconsin played the ball towards Penn State’s goal. While defending Wisconsin sophomore Chris Prince, Penn State midfielder John Gallagher tipped the ball with his hand and was called for a hand ball.

“It was a tough call to make in a game like that,” said Gallagher.

Zadro stepped up to the line for a penalty shot and scored on Wolverton, handing Penn State another heartbreaking loss.

Penn State now looks ahead to the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions travel to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this week and will look to turn their luck around.

“I think our guys feel like we can [make a run],” said Penn State head coach Bob Warming. “We start a whole new season on Wednesday.”

The quest for a fourth Big Ten Conference championship begins on Wednesday, November 9th as Penn State takes on the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (10-6-2, 4-2-0 Big Ten). That match will be at 3:45 p.m.

Seth Beber is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism.  To contact him, please email ssb5199@psu.edu.