By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State found itself in yet another double overtime match last night, and Friday night they were able to earn a victory, 3-2, over Rutgers on THON Night.
Penn State junior Aymar Sigue scored the game-winner late in the second overtime, which marked his second overtime game-winner of the season. In the last few games, Sigue and the rest of the forwards have had countless opportunities to score. Late in the second overtime, head coach Bob Warming told Sigue to go in and score; he did just that. Sigue helped the Nittany Lions bounce back from a late second half equalizing goal from Rutgers on a wet, dreary, windy night at Jeffrey Field.
"It just shows our persistence as a team," said Sigue. "Even though we could have done better defensively at the end of the second half, we still pulled through. As a team, we pulled together and said we're not going to lose at home. We were determined to keep our undefeated streak at home."
The Nittany Lions (7-6-2, 4-3-0 Big Ten) look to be playing their best soccer of the season, especially when they play on their home turf. Penn State holds a 7-2-1 record at Jeffrey Field. Penn State hasn't suffered a home setback since Sept. 27 against Temple.
Aside from playing well, Penn State has played three-straight double overtime games and eight games needing overtime. At this point of the season, the Nittany Lions are playing with even more determination in order to overcome exhaustion and injury.
"We are exhausted but we're a proud team," said Warming. "We kept battling tonight. I'm pleased to see how proud they are and determined they were for this one not to get away."
Team captain Connor Maloney repeated the same line as his coach.
"We're absolutely exhausted," said Maloney. "Yesterday, actually coach got us a couple massages. We were feeling good. We weren't going to feel absolutely 100 percent but we did all we could do to recover from the game a couple days ago. We did that well and played another double overtime game and got the win. This team is rolling right now. We're very happy but we're very exhausted."
Maloney was assisted off the field early in the second half with an ankle injury from a rough Rutgers slide tackle but his grit allowed him to get back on the field and ultimately score an important goal in the game.
"I didn't want to stay on the bench," said Maloney. "I hate watching from the sideline when I'm injured. I went back out there, gave it all I got and luckily I got a goal."
Maloney is a leader for Penn State and it rubs off on the rest of the team, especially freshman forward Frankie De La Camara. De La Camara feeds off of Maloney's ultra-competitive personality during training. He's caught up to speed of college soccer as he's been getting more playing time.
De La Camara, a prolific goal scorer from Florida, found the back of the net for his first career collegiate goal. Freshman Pierre Reedy dribbled into the middle of the box, passed it over to an open De La Camara on the left side of the box who took a shot from 18 yards out into the middle of the net.
"I'm finally getting a lot of minutes late in the season," said De La Camara. "It was big for the team that I scored. It was a great run by Pierre and I did the rest."
"Honestly, we have seen him score," said Warming. "This is no exaggeration; we have seen him score 100 of those in training, that same shot."
Despite long, physically taxing games, the Nittany Lions are getting contributions from players young and veteran. The common element of all is the will to win.
"The pride and determination to represent Penn State, to be the team that wins the tough, close game, that's those guys," said Warming. "There's no coaching in that. That's them making the decision to do it and they're doing it."
Penn State looks keep up its winning ways and to get some much needed recovery before its Senior Night home regular season finale against Wright State on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.