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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's soccer team had its sixth shutout of the season against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions walked away with a 3-0 victory, a task that was possible with the stellar performance from goalkeeper Evan Finney.

 

Playing the entire game, Finney made his debut in the post for this season and didn't let anything get by him, allowing Penn State to keep the lead and take the shutout.

 

"It was a fantastic performance," stated Warming when asked about Finney. "When Andrew Wolverton got ejected from the game at James Madison a year ago, Finney came in and two minutes later saved a penalty kick. Of course Wolverton was out for the match so we go to Indiana who is ranked No.4 in the country, packed house, and had a shutout for us. Tonight's performance was just fantastic, but it is not something he has not done."

 

Known for his ability to always step up when his team needs him most, Finney excelled Wednesday night which was also his second time starting a match for Penn State.

 

Finney was able to block five shots against LMU and walked away with his second career shutout.

 

"Evan did everything we could have asked for and more tonight, he represented his team and what GoalKeeperU was without any question during this match," stated Coach Warming.

 

Normally not a starting player, Finney only found out he would be starting the match hours before warmups.

 

"We wanted to tell him the good news face-to-face, he works extremely hard in practice and we wanted to reward him. He had an amazing performance tonight and we couldn't be happier with how he played," continued Coach Warming.

 

This marks Finney's first appearance in the 2015 season and not only did it make his presence in the post known, it also allowed  him to help the Blue and White come back from a three-game losing streak.

 

"My mentality is always to have fun and go play whenever I'm in the game. I was just having so much fun not only to get the win but to get the shutout I think the teams' moral is going to be through the roof after a win like tonight's and it's great that I could do my part in helping make that happens" said Finney.

 

Last season Finney appeared in two games and started in one. Additionally he has never given up a goal in net when the Nittany Lions were at full strength. The only goal he's given up was against JMU when the team was down to nine field players due to a red card.

 

Although this was his first appearance in the game so far this season, Finney made an impact when the team needed him defending the net.

 

"Every game is important but tonight was a really important win for us and was what our team needed at this point in the season," stated Finney.

 

With the shutout the team is now overall looking at a 6-6-2 record.

 

"Evan did a fantastic job, he's been playing really well in practice and he deserves it. I'm really proud of him and how he did tonight," said teammate Drew Klingenberg.

 

Not only did Finney stand out against Loyola Marymount, the three goals were scored by Sam Bollinger, Connor Maloney, and Klingenberg to get the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard.

 

 

"This is where we start our run into postseason, we need to take this into Wisconsin and show them that we're hungry for the wins," stated Klingenberg.

 

Penn State will be taking this confidence on the road with them as the team travels to Wisconsin for a Big Ten match up on Saturday, Oct 24. 

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State is known for its dedicated fans, for football there's the S-Zone, hockey has the Roar Zone, and now soccer has its own staple - the Sons of Jeffrey.

 

Created last season, the Sons of Jeffrey are proving that Penn State stands behind its men's soccer team. These organized soccer fans stand out simply for their love of Nittany Lion soccer and dedication to the team whether or not the team wins that night.

 

What started off as a few students attending matches together is now a full-blown club and almost every match fills up the entire student section at Jeffrey.

 

"For a lot of the members, the inspiration for the club came from our members general interest in soccer and our desire to keep that interest going while at college, " said Sons of Jeffrey leader Adriana Lacy.

 

"Last year a bunch of us would go to the soccer matches and saw that they needed a bigger student fan base so we wanted to be that for the guys. It's crazy how much we've grown so much in size, starting from just a few fans we now have an entire club with flags and drums ready for every match," Lacy continued.

 

The Sons of Jeffrey chose their name by combining Penn State's rich soccer history and the program's hope for the future.

 

The name was inspired by Jeffrey Field, which is named to honor former Penn State men's soccer coach Bill Jeffrey, who is known for holding the head coach position for 26 years and his 65-win match streak.

 

The Sons of Jeffrey wants to support the team and represent the pride of Penn State within its' students.

 

They come to every match, rain or shine, with their flags, drums, and constant cheering to make their presence known.

 

"We really just want to always be a support system for the team and let them know we're always cheering for them," stated Lacy.

 

Although the Sons of Jeffrey always cheer on the team, they start every match welcoming the players on the field with high fives and plenty of noise.

 

"It's great having a support system as great as them, the Sons of Jeffrey are always really awesome at motivating us during games when we need it most," said men's soccer veteran Mason Klerks. "Watching them celebrate any goal with us really reinforce how much this University cares about its athletics, the school pride they have is awesome and we always appreciate the support."

 

This club is constantly dedicated to motivating the team when they're down and celebrating when they're winning. For the Sons of Jeffrey, cheering on the men's soccer team regardless the score is their job.

 

"We have such a love for soccer and pride for the University, so it only made sense to create a club that honors both of those aspects. The Sons of Jeffrey want to always motivate the team and show them we're behind them regardless," said Lacy.

 

In addition to being a great student section, the Sons of Jeffrey is also involved in other activities such as community service amongst the campus.

 

The Sons of Jeffrey will be cheering on the team this Wednesday Oct 21, when the Nittany Lions host Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. on Jeffrey Field. 

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As a younger sibling, one of the greatest motivational tools you can have is trying to accomplish what your older siblings have done. For Ryan Gallagher, he not only wants to follow his brother's footsteps on Jeffrey Field but use them as motivation to create his own Penn State story.

 

Ryan's older brother, John played for Lions from 2009-2012. Following in his big brother's footsteps, Ryan explains how he grew up a Nittany Lion fan and dreamed of playing soccer for the university like his brother.

 

"My brother definitely played a role in my desire to come to Penn State to play soccer," stated Gallagher. "I've been coming to Jeffrey Field since the end of seventh grade so I've been a fan for a long time and it's amazing being a player now."

 

"I grew up seeing how beautiful the campus was and how great Coach Warming and

the coaching staff are so I fell in love with it right away," continued Gallagher.

 

Currently a redshirt-freshman from Pine Bush, N.Y., Ryan is enjoying his time in State College and playing for the Blue and White.

 

For his first eligible year playing, Gallaher is already known as a source of energy for the team with his passion for the sport and constant enthusiasm.

 

"His leadership qualities really reflect his infectious, upbeat spirits and how excited he is

to be on this team," said Head Coach Bob Warming.

 

Although both Gallagher sons played for Coach Warming, there was noticeable difference in playing techniques for the two.

 

"The only thing similarity Ryan has to his brother on the field is his last name," jokingly said Coach Warming. "Ryan is an enthusiastic kind of guy and he can always make sure the team energy is up during the game."

 

With John playing for the Nittany Lions back in 2009, Coach Warming was introduced to Ryan since he was a young kid.

 

"Ryan used to come to our camps when he was younger so it's great to see how he's developed as a player," stated Coach Warming.

 

"Both Ryan and John come from a great family and it's great seeing them all come out

and support the program," continued Coach Warming.

 

Although Ryan wants to follow in his brother's footsteps he also uses him as motivation to always push himself during practices.

 

"After watching my brother have four years here I can challenge myself to meet his standards and even maybe surpass to reach my own personal success," stated Gallagher. "My brother is a great role model for me so even outside of soccer."

 

Ryan and his brother have always been very close, and soccer is something special they share. He wants to always use his brother as motivation while he makes his own name for himself in Penn State's soccer program.

 

"My brother and I talk every day; we're really close. It was so exciting when I found out that I made the Penn State team because I got to follow my brother's footsteps and make my own Penn State story," said Gallagher.

 

Ryan will be gearing up with the rest of the Blue and White for another away match against Michigan State on Sunday, October 18.

 


By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Most students at this university can always remember when they visited the university and experienced Happy Valley for the first time. However for Penn State men's soccer player Sam Bollinger, Penn State has been within five minutes from his house since he was a toddler.

 

Originally born in Boston, Bollinger moved to State College before he was one when his dad became a chemistry professor here at Penn State.

 

Born and raised Nittany Lion fan, Bollinger reflects on the journey of being a fan to making the men's soccer team in his sophomore year.

 

"It's honestly a dream come true, I've been coming to these games since I was five and I've always wanted to play on the team," stated Bollinger. "My freshman year I was on the club team but then I walked on this year and it's been great achieving that dream of mine."

 

Although Bollinger played club his freshman year, he was determined to make his dream of playing Division I soccer a reality.

 

"Sam is a great story about someone who is following his dream, who trained to make his dreams a reality," said Head Coach Bob Warming.

 

"He fits in great with the team; he also stands as a role model for everyone. He's a perfect example of someone who is playing Division I soccer but is also dedicated to his studies. Through his actions he demonstrates that he's at Penn State to play soccer but also because he loves the school," continued Coach Warming.

 

So far for his first season with the team, Bollinger has appeared in ten matches and started one, racking up a total of 293 minutes playing time. He helped the Lions tie with Ohio State by scoring his first goal in college play.

 

"Sam is an energy guy, he has more running power on the team than anyone else, so when he comes off the bench he speeds the game up," said Coach Warming.

 

Outside of soccer, Bollinger is just as dedicated to his academics. Currently a chemistry major and biology minor, he also is in Penn State's honor college.

 

In 2014 he was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Athlete and was an Academic All-Big-Ten honoree.

 

Bollinger has aspirations to attend medical school after undergrad to help him prepare for a career as a doctor in the future.

 

"Between my education and soccer I don't really have a lot of time for anything else but both things are important to me so I never mind giving them the extra demanded time," said Bollinger.

 

Bollinger credits his father for instilling his focus and dedication to his education. Additionally with his family living so close to the university he explains his parents are always willing to support him out in both soccer and schoolwork.

 

"My dad is a chemistry professor here at the university, its funny because I never thought I'd go into what he teaches but I think I want to go to medical school after Penn State," said Bollinger. "My dad definitely has an impact on how serious I take my academic."

 

"He and I are pretty close so my dad is always willing to help me out in whatever I need," continued Bollinger.

 

Growing up in State College, Bollinger always was a fan of the university and the Blue and White. He also stands as an inspiration of someone who not only is perusing his love for soccer, but also determined to better himself through his academics.

 

"Penn State is a great combination of academics and athletics so I always knew I wanted to come here," stated Bollinger. 

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team fell in a 4-3 defeat against Maryland in a Big Ten Conference match Friday, Oct 9.

However, there are some noticeable positives that came out of the heartbreaking loss. Friday's match was the highest scoring match for the Nittany Lions this season.

"I think that we have a lot of things to build on," commented Head Coach Bob Warming. "All of our guys felt that we played as well as we have all year and we don't accept any moral victories but we know how we can play against one of the most talented teams out there."

The entire team played great; however some players such as senior Drew Klingenberg especially shined during the match.

"I thought we had a great game plan and the guys stuck to it, I think Drew was special tonight with this goal. We have several players really step up today to keep us in this game,"
said Coach Warming.

To start the game, Klingenberg netted his first goal of the season by striking the ball in the center of the box in the 18th-minute with assist by teammate Riley Grant.


"There definitely was a crazy score line, it felt great to get that goal for my team and get us on the board," said Klingenberg. "The second and third goal were just as great, unfortunately they got more goals though. Games like these we just need to work on some things so that won't let that happen again."

Klingenberg's goal not only got the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard, but it also set the momentum for the entire match.

"The epitome of this team is passion, we want to be here and play well for our fans, for our family, and for our teammates. We want to represent this university the best way we can," stated Klinenberg.

Klingenberg is a veteran midfielder who has always remained an essential player for the Blue and White not only skill wise but for his willingness to never give up during the game.

Throughout the match, the Lions never gave up the fight. The team took 18 shots over all and ten shots on goal.

Another standout player for the Nittany Lions was junior Connor Maloney, who scored twice for the Blue and White.

"Everybody fought hard today, although we didn't win, everyone played great today," said Maloney.

Penn State walks away from this match holding its head high as the team remains focused and determined as it carries on the rest of the season.

"The overall lesson from this match is this is the epitome of how we want to play every game. Although we lost, the team played fantastic," stated Klingenberg.

"The next step now is we have to keep our heads up and prepare for West Virginia and arrive with the same intensity," continued Klingenberg.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action Tuesday, Oct. 13 when they hit the road to West Virginia for a mid-week non-conference match against the Mountaineers. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at Dick Diesk Soccer Stadium.

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This year, one of the biggest goals for the soccer program is keeping the legacy of GoalkeeperU alive and well here in Happy Valley.

 

This program is designed to not only attract the best goalies to play for Penn State, but also to train the current goalies to perform to the best of their abilities.

 

A goalie arguably is one of the toughest players on the field; he's the last line of defense and sometimes the only thing preventing the other team from scoring.

 

Currently the Nittany Lions have four goalkeepers that range from freshman to redshirt-senior in class level.

 

Although these four guys all came to State College with the same goalkeeping dreams, they each come from different backgrounds and interests outside of Jeffrey Field.

 

Matt Bersano  

 

New to the program and starting goalie is redshirt-senior Matt Bersano. Before Penn State, Bersano graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in speech communication, and now is enrolled in the masters program for international affairs at PSU.  

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Going from West coast to East coast, Bersano credit's the team for making the transition easier.

 

"It's a huge difference goring from West coast to East coast and since this is my first time on the East coast h for an extended period of time it's an entirely different experience. I've noticed a difference in weather and the people, but so far I'm enjoying my time here," stated Bersano.

 

"Although it was a huge adjustment, I figured it was something I needed to do and moving here to Penn State was the best move for my soccer aspirations," noted Bersano. "Additionally, being on the team and having my teammates to help me out with adjusting always makes the move easier."

 

Although Bersano's schedule is mostly dominated by soccer and academics, he also writes a blog for AthleteStory in his spare time.

 

"This summer is when I got asked by a friend to write for the blog, it's a great way to share my story about traveling to play with different teams and what it's like to be a professional prospect," Bersano said.

 



Danny Sheerin

 

Another redshirt-senior is veteran goalkeeper Danny Sheerin. 

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Originally from Maryland, Sheerin grew up a Nittany Lion fan and always had dreams of attending Penn State.

 

"Growing up I was a huge Penn State fan. Both my parents went here and would always bring me up for football games and would take me to the soccer matches. Even as a kid I always knew this is somewhere I wanted to go," said Sheerin.

 

"It's a dream come true not only being a student here but being on the team makes the experience just that much better," continued Sheerin. "I've gotten so close with all the guys, we're a family. We can always joke around with each other but at the same time are there for one another, they for sure have impacted my time here at Penn State."

 

Not only is Sheerin dedicated to soccer, he also is dedicated to his academics. Currently a supply chain management major, he was able to intern with one of the top leading generics and pharmaceutical companies, Mylan Inc this summer.

 

"I worked at Mylan for about a month and did data management for them; it was great experience and taught me a lot about the business."

 

Sheerin is graduating in December and hopes to continue to pursue his career in supply chain management.

 



Evan Finney

 

Fellow veteran is junior Evan Finney. Originally from San Francisco, Finney left the California sun to pursue his passion for soccer at Penn State.

 

"It's definitely different here than in California but ever since I visited Penn State I loved it here and knew I wanted to come. It's a beautiful school and has a great soccer program," said Finney. 

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During the summer, when Finney was back in California he spent time working with kids and helping them through the ReSet Foundation.

 

"It was a fun summer working with the foundation and it was a great experience being able to give back," said Finney. "The foundation gives kids a second chance whether that means getting them work experience or helping them achieve their GED, it really showed me how fortunate I am and allowed me to spend time improving the lives of those kids."

 

Although it was a great summer for Finney, he's happy to be back at Penn State and with the team.

 

"Being here and on the team is amazing. I love these guys they've made my decision to come to Penn State a lot more fun because of how close we all are," stated Finney.

 



Wes Bergevin

 

The fourth and final goalkeeper for the 2015 men's soccer team is freshman Wes Bergevin.

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Although Bergevin counts Hinsdale, Ill as his hometown, he spent most his childhood moving around as his dad was in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 20 years.

 

"With my dad being a professional hockey player, we moved around a lot when I was younger to follow him around. When he retired I was about eight or nine," stated Bergevin.

 

However it was during his constant moving around where he found his passion for soccer.

 

"When I lived in Pittsburgh I actually played hockey just like my dad, but then when we moved to California since there wasn't a rink that close to us I decide to pick up soccer instead," noted Bergevin.  "It was actually my high school coach who suggested I try goalkeeping, I went to a summer camp to try it out and haven't looked back since."

 

With this being Bergevin's first year in college, he credits the help of his teammates for making the transition into college so easy.

 

"It's really cool being on the team as a freshman, everyone is always willing to help out with whatever we need and it has made the adjustment from high school to college that much easier. The older goalies are always willing to help me with training and that's a huge help," said Bergevin.

 

These four will be joining their teammates who are all gearing up to host the Maryland Terrapins Friday, October 9 for a whiteout game at 7 p.m. at Jeffrey Field.


By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Dani Marks first year being able to play on Jeffrey Field, he's already making a name for himself. This redshirt freshman has already claimed his spot as a regular starter for the men's soccer team.

 

However, Marks isn't your typical underclassman, before coming to Happy Valley he lived a completely different life compared to playing soccer for a Big Ten university.

 

Before Marks was able to move to the United States to pursue his soccer dream he was busy serving in the Israeli Military.

 

"My overall experience of being in the military was good, it was tough but it was an interesting experience and it taught me a lot about myself," stated Marks. "The experience of being in the military really helps you grow up and mature faster.

 

However, Marks move from Ra'anana, Israel to State College wasn't the first time he had to relocate. Originally Marks was born in London, England and when he was three, then moved to Israel until he went to Switzerland for his education at sixteen.

 

After finishing high school he returned to Israel to serve his two-year term in the military at the age of eighteen.

 

"Every male in Israel is required to serve, it's something that demands a lot of physical and mental toughness but it shapes you into a stronger person," said Marks.

 

Despite all of Marks' major moves throughout his life, he always had his love for soccer.

 

"As my military time was coming to an end I decided I wanted to pursue soccer more and I knew some people who were playing in the United States so I reached out to them and I decided to go for it," said Marks.

 

When his two-year term was almost over, Penn State started to hear about Marks' soccer ability and immediately were interested.

 

"I got the chance to visit Penn State and I loved it right away, everything was perfect and I knew I wanted to come here and play," said Marks.

 

For Marks, visiting University Park was much more than being attracted to Happy Valley's charm or the soccer program, it was an eye opening experience to seeing his future take a path he never considered before.

 

"It's such a different experience for me being here now because all throughout my life I never saw myself going to college," stated Marks. "I didn't know until I was older that in America you can combine both academics and athletics so well and I really appreciate that and am thankful I can pursue both here at Penn State."

 

Outside of soccer, Marks is also committed to his academics and is currently majoring in journalism. Although he's focused on his studies, Marks plans on still pursuing a career in professional soccer.

 

"My dream is to play professional soccer, I know it'll be a challenge but I'm going to try my best. I've learned the best thing to do is not predict the future, so I'm going to enjoy my time now and keep working hard every day," said Marks.

 

Although this is Marks first year playing, he's definitely isn't the typical underclassman.

 

"Dani isn't your  typical underclassman by any means, he's mature and has had life experience that no everyone has had. I think through everything he's been through he radiates a perspective of life off him that's undeniable. Just by how he carries himself you don't get from every other guy we recruit," said Head Coach Bob Warming.

 

"We recruit character first, and Dani has more character than most people I've met," continued Coach Warming.

 

Despite Marks being an underclassman, he shows a unique sense of maturity in his leadership.

 

"The military, although was tough, it shaped me into a leader and showed me what hard work really means. It's an experience I'll carry with me in every aspect of my life," stated Marks.

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While some of us were busy working on tans and enjoying the break from school this summer, Penn State men's soccer veteran Christian Kaschak was busy assisting in surgeries in Vietnam.

Kaschak, an aspiring surgeon, spent three weeks working with the Vietnam Medicine 17 Project where he not only observed but was able to scrub in for various surgeries.

"Initially my cousin started what's called the Vietnam Medicine Project 17 years ago and he invited me to come along since he knew I was interested in a career in medicine after college," stated Kaschak. "So, I decided this was something I wanted to do and went out to Vietnam and had a great experience."

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Kaschak, who is a current kinesiology major, explains how this trip confirmed his desires to pursue a career in medicine after graduating from Penn State.

"I would love to continue the same type of work after college, it would mean so much if I could combine my medicine career with helping others in Vietnam or anywhere needed like my cousin does," said Kaschak.

Despite his 15 plus hour plane ride for the trip, Kaschak said it was the trip of a lifetime.

Although he did get to explore the land while on his trip, most of his time was spent in a Vietnam hospital.

"The hospitals over there are a complete 180-turn from how they are organized here," said Kaschak. "I was able to scrub in on a few surgeries where here in America I would only be able to observe, so it really was a great way to get hands on experience. I was really able to see medicine in a different way than I would have in the United States."

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During his trip Kaschak learned a lot about the culture and gained valuable medicine experience, however he holds one lesson especially close.

"The biggest thing I learned over there was that everyone you interact with can teach you something new," stated Kaschak. "I went into it only expecting to learn from the fellow surgeons but was impressed with how everyone I met over there had something to teach me."

Although Kaschak loved everything he was able to learn during his trip, he claims the best reward of his experience was being able to give back.

"I always try and find ways I can give back to the community," said Kaschak. "I don't simply do things for my resume or things that I think will make me look good, I do things to give back and get involved in organizations I believe in."

Besides being a scholar athlete, Kaschak is also involved in the Athletic Leadership Institute, is a representative of the Student Advisory Board, was a member of a Dancer Relations committee for THON, and even danced in THON two years ago.

"I think you can see his willingness to help others not only on the field, but more importantly in his life outside of soccer," said Head Coach Bob Warming. "Christian is an amazing kid and you see that in every aspect of his life. He's a great example of the type of kids we want in our program, not only dedicated to the sport, but dedicated to being a good person."

Now that Kaschak is back to focusing on soccer, he's already clocked 135 minutes and has two shots for the Nittany Lions this season.




By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer    

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On December 26, 2014 Brett's life would drastically change after a snowboarding accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Now almost a year after Gravatt's accident, the once defenseman for the Lions remain a part of the soccer family and is constantly proving to be a symbol of strength for his teammates.

"Although we wish he was playing, he still does just as much for this team, he's the pulse that keeps the team running and is constantly able to help the guys stay motivated," said Head Coach Bob Warming.

Since Gravatt isn't able to play on the field anymore, he still has his role on the team. He does a wide-range from editing video, being an advisor, and most importantly remaining a source of encouragement for his team.

Despite a tragic and life changing accident, Gravatt still keeps a positive attitude and plans to live his life to the fullest while motivating others in the process.

"I try to be a symbol of never giving up and want to encourage the attitude of how life goes on even after bad accidents," said Gravatt.

On Sunday, September 27 the Penn State men's soccer team honored Gravatt and all ability athletes during the Nittany Lions' home game against fellow Big Ten school, Michigan.

"It meant a lot to not only me but the whole team to honor Brett in this game, he's still just as much  a member of this team as he was before the accident," said senior Brain James.

Against best efforts, Penn State fell to Michigan in a 2-0 defeat.

"It is kind of like what I told our players before. Everybody wants to win, and the thing that I know that Brett, Owen, and anybody else that would like to be playing today but is not, and even the students in the stands, the one thing you have to do is honor them by giving your best effort,"
stated Coach Warming.

"If you go out and do not give your best effort, you dishonor everyone else who wishes that they could play," noted warming.

The team may have lost, but the Blue and White now that in any situation good or bad-there's a lesson to learned. This philosophy is constantly proven to them by Brett Gravatt and his story.


"It's amazing having a community like this that stands behind you and all the support makes the transition and being back at school a lot easier," said Gravatt.

Although Gravatt's life is much different than it was this time last year, he's adjusting and knows he will always have the love and support of his teammates behind him.

"Every day is getting more away from the normal, being able to walk but it's becoming the new normal for me in a chair. Everyday becomes easier and every day I strive to become stronger," stated Gravatt.

Now that Gravatt isn't playing soccer, he has found a new way to keep active by competing in and training for the Paralympic games.

"I love it, I've gotten into wheel chair racing and want to be a symbol of the Paralympic Games since not many people know about that and I want to help people become educated on sports," stated Gravatt.

Gravatt's story not only inspires the Nittany Lions, it's an inspiration to all ability athletes. He's proven that regardless of what happens, life goes on.

"If you're a competitor you're going to find a way to compete in any aspect of your life, and Brett is an unbelievable competitor. He's going to break records for sure and I can't wait to see where his journey takes him," said Coach Warming.




By Miranda Kulp,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Teammates often refer to each other as brothers due to how close a team can become on the field, however for junior Connor Maloney and freshman Austin Maloney it's more than just a saying. The two Penn State men's soccer players are indeed actually related.

 

" I think it's great watching two brothers play together on the same field, " said Head Coach Bob Warming.

 

"Both of them are great kids and extremely talented soccer players and I think they always motivate each other.I think it's great that Connor not only is a mentor to Austin but is also his actual brother and can help show him the ropes during his freshman and sophomore year here," continued coach Warming.

 

Connor, who is a junior and one of the team's most dominant forwards, has been a starter for the Lions since his freshman year. Now, his little brother Austin is joining him as a Nittany Lion.

 

Although this is Austin's first year wearing the Blue and White, the Maloney brothers have some experience playing together before coming to Penn State.

 

This deadly brother combo was also able to share the same field during high school at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa.

 

"We played one year together in high school and it was a good time, we had a great time sharing the field so I'm extremely happy I get to experience that again now in college," said Connor.

 

Both Connor and Austin motivate each other on the field and that is allowing Austin to gain more confidence in his first season at the collegiate level.

 

"He (Connor) was for sure an influence on my decision to come to Penn State, I mean the coaches and program are great and the campus is amazing but I really liked the idea of being able to play on the same team as my brother," said Austin. "Connor for sure not only motivates me to try my best but also just playing with a family member gives me a boost of confidence."

 

Although Austin is just a freshman, he already is showing signs of becoming just as powerful of a player as his older brother.

 

For his first season he's started in every match for the Nittany Lions and had a huge assist to help the Blue and White earn a 1-0 win over San Francisco in the season opener.

 

"I'm always proud of him and whenever I see him do something great on the field  I just run over and give him a big hug and tell him to keep playing," stated Connor. "It's great watching a younger sibling gain confidence while playing."

 

Connor and Austin also have two other siblings, Ryan and Kelsie. Their sister Kelsie also plays Division I soccer for West Virginia University.

 

"Funny enough it's not just Connor and Austin who are good at soccer in the household, that  family now has three kids who all play soccer at the college level right now," noted Coach Warming. "I think that has to do with the work ethic and competitive nature the family has."

 

Sports have always been an influence in the Maloney household and is something that brings the family together.

 

"It's a crazy competitive family, every time we would call them they'd be playing ping pong against each other and it's great they compete at everything, but at the same time they are such a sweet family and the kids are some of the nicest people," said Coach Warming.

 

Connor and Austin not only motivate each other to do their best as teammates, but also are each other's biggest fans as brothers, proving that their not only brothers on the field but off it as well.

 

The Maloney brothers will join the rest of the team as they hit the road and travel to Philadelphia to face off against UPenn on Wednesday, September 23.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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