By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With 10 minutes to go in regulation Penn State knew Big East foe West Virginia was going to turn on the heat through the air. After making adjustments to counter the Mountaineer air attack, the Nittany Lions had numerous opportunities to break the scoreless tie late in the second half.
Within 2:30 of game time, Penn State had three golden chances to score, but they could not connect.
Julian Cardona had a one on one opportunity denied by Mountaineer goal keeper Pat Eavenson, followed by two header chances from Kelton Cheney and Owen Griffith that went wide and high respectively.
Then, the pressure shifted to the Penn State defense as West Virginia changed the pace and pressed goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton, who was starting his first match after an injury that kept him sidelined for most of the first four matches this season.
Wolverton first stopped a Shadow Sebele shot in the 84th minute and then helped the defense force another Sebele shot high to force overtime at Jeffery Field.
"Always as a goalie you don't really touch the ball for 78 minutes and then you are asked to make a big save and its just part of the game as a goalie and you just have to focus all the time," said Wolverton.
In the first and second overtimes chances were limited for both sides, but it was Wolverton once again that came through for Penn State by stopping a header attempt from Craig Stephens with less than three minutes left in the second overtime.
Wolverton credited a strong start in the first half to be prepared for a tight second half.
"You have to start strong in a game to get your confidence up especially with an injury and that really helped with the team and their confidence and they know I'm back to hopefully 100 percent," said Wolverton.
With the match ending in a draw, neither side was happy with the outcome, but head coach Bob Warming was satisfied with the team's effort in the second half and recognizes the job they did against a tough West Virginia team.
"In the second half I thought we played really well, we created a lot of chances and we got behind them more and got more crosses," said Warming. "All the credit to West Virginia, they are going to be a hard out this year."
Warming also touched on the play of Wolverton and how his coaching staff has helped the sophomore keeper return to full form after a long time away from the field with his injury.
"I think the big thing with Wolverton is that it's not like he was any faster than he was last year, it is just that Bo (Oshoniyi) is a great coach and has him playing high off his line so instead of starting inside the six yard box to get those balls," said Warming.
"He was starting at the penalty spot and a little bit higher and he had 6 or 7 less yards of ground to cover and he was getting on the end of all of those and making plays for us."
Penn State has the week off before a weekend two-game homestand against Albany on Friday at 7 p.m. and Adelphi on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Wolverton Notches Shutout as Lions Tie West Virginia
By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Staff Writer
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