Lions Drop Heartbreaker, Remain Positive as Conference Play Continues

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Lehigh on Tuesday, the No.20 Nittany Lion men's soccer (6-3-1, 1-1) team found themselves on the wrong side of another last-minute goal on Saturday, this time in the 106th-minute of the second overtime against No. 10 Indiana (7-2-1, 2-0).

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Both teams were scoreless after 100 minutes of play before the Hoosiers scored off a tipped pass and goal from Harrison Petts, handing Penn State its first loss at home this season.

"We certainly had plenty of opportunities to establish ourselves as the best team, but unfortunately we couldn't take advantage of it tonight," said head coach Bob Warming. "All credit to Indiana. They are champions and they battled right to the end."

Despite another late 1-0 loss Warming and his team will focus on the positives they can draw from battling the No. 10 team in the country. The defense, which has been led by senior Brian Forgue, limited Indiana's leading scorer Eriq Zavaleta to only one shot on goal.

"I thought Forgue and Eli (Dennis) did a great job taking care of the best center forward in the conference," said Warming. "I thought those two guys did a great job tonight and I couldn't be prouder."

The Nittany Lions had numerous opportunities in the second half to take the lead, especially from Marvin Ledgister and Hasani Sinclair, who both came off the bench. Warming said that the chances were there, but they couldn't capitalize. Senior midfielder Jacob Barron agreed.

"Sometimes it just doesn't go in," said Barron. "Today wasn't our day, but we will get back at it."

Positive vibes were very noticeable from players and coaches after the match, including Barron, who noted how skilled Indiana was, and the opportunity to get back on track in the Big Ten against Michigan on Saturday.

"Indiana is a really good team, they have a really good attacking front," said Barron. "We could have beat them, but it didn't go that way. We are going to continue to get better and get tougher and next game we will go to Michigan and start our win streak again."

Warming agreed as he acknowledged the progress his team is making, as well as the importance of a long layoff before the head to Ann Arbor for their third conference match of the season.

"We are making progress, we had plenty of chances to win the game tonight," said Warming. "That's the No. 10 team in the country and we are pretty close. We have a whole week before Michigan which is an extraordinary amount of time to train and to get some guys rested."

The Hoosiers now hold an advantage on Penn State, as they still are without a conference loss, leaving Warming with hopes for an Indiana setback to get Penn State back in the conference race.

With seven remaining matches, three of which are conference matches, the Nittany Lions still have time to get back in the Big Ten race and have motivation from their experiences from the 2011 season.

"We know it is a long season. These two games have motivated us because last year around this time we started letting down," said Barron. "There a lot of games left and we still have a good chance to make the tournament and we just have to stay positive."

Penn State heads to Ann Arbor on Saturday at 7 pm to face off against Michigan, before returning home for a three game homestand on Oct. 10, which begins with Akron.

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