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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Veteran soccer player, Nate Lee is known for motivating the Nittany Lions on the field, however his motivation primarily comes from his two older brothers.


Lee is the youngest of three sons, Aj and Justin who are twins and each played soccer in college before coming professionals.


"My brothers are definitely influences on my soccer career," said Lee. "When I was younger I picked soccer up since both of my brothers did it and fell in love with the game. Each of their success really motivates me still and makes me want to always try my best."


Each of Lee's older brothers played soccer in college, Aj went to Maryland and Justin is a former Nittany Lion who played at the university from 2008-2010.


Following his brother Justin, Nate transferred to Penn State in 2013 after his redshirt-freshman year at High Point University.


Although Nate is four years younger than his brothers, he finally got his chance to play on the same field as them this summer when all three Lee brothers played on Guam's National Team.


"Being out there on the same field with my brothers was an amazing experience since I've never been able to do that before. The best was in the spring we all started so it was great walking out together and getting our first international cap with all of us on the field," said Lee.


The Guam Football Association was founded in 1975 and then officially recognized by FIFA in 1996. The team is currently leading its group and 90,000 fans attend to show support at their matches.


A friend of Aj helped all three brothers try out for the team, which created an opportunity for the first time all three brothers played for their native homeland.


Soccer has always been a part of the Lee family and the sibling similarities can be noticed  by anyone who is watching the boys play.


"It was a great experience to watch all three of them take the field together internationally," said assistant coach Chad Duernberger.


Duernberger was working for Penn State Athletics when Justin wore his Penn State jersey and notes the similar playing styles between him and Nate.


"It's funny since Nate is the youngest but he is the biggest of the three, when watching you can see him and his brother similar playing styles," noted Duernberger. "I remember watching Nate coming out of high school and to see him grow into the player he is today entering his senior year has been a lot of fun."


Nate, just like his brothers, is a defender for the Lions and has made an impact on the team since transferring to Penn State.


"He's one of our vocal leaders on the team, although he doesn't have the armband you can see his leadership role every time he's on the field," said Duernberger. "Ever since Nate came back from Guam, he's got a new sense of confidence and you can see the experience really elevated his skills. He has a certain professional mentality now."


Currently a communication/CAS major, Nate plans on continuing to play soccer after graduation. His dream is to go over to Asia or somewhere to continue playing soccer with his brothers.


Although Aj and Justin are busy playing in the pros, Nate is gearing up with the Lions as the team hits the road for the first away match of the season. Penn State will take on Temple University in Ambler, Pa. on Friday September, 4 at 4:30pm in hopes to add another win to the record.

By Miranda Kulp,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Continuing season-opener tradition, the No. 23 Penn State men's soccer team opened the season with a victory against the University of San Francisco.


In front of a packed Jeffery Field crowd, both teams were striving for the first win of the 2015 season. Battling back and forth for the first goal, but the match remained scoreless until late in the second period.


"This felt like an NCAA Tournament game," said Head Coach Bob Warming. "It was tight physically and there were a lot of chances for both teams."


In the 72nd minute of the game, the dynamic freshmen duo Mac Curran and Austin Maloney scored for PSU with a cross kick in the bottom left corner. Penn State snatched a 1-0 lead to clinch the season-opening victory.


"We've all been training extremely hard during preseason for this first game so it was great seeing some of the younger guys make an impact," said senior goalkeeper Matt Bersano.

Following Friday's victory, the team entered Sunday's match focused on another win for the weekend.


Just like the season-opener, Penn State and Navy remained scoreless until the second period. After a foul on the Midshipmen, veteran PSU player Connor Maloney scored on the penalty kick in the 58th minute to get the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard.


Within ten minutes of Penn State taking the lead, Navy's Derek Vogel answered back by scoring an unassisted goal with only 22 minutes left in the match.


Head coach Bob Warming and his crew weren't going to give up that easy.


"I think especially in these situations, we have a very young team, it's very adverse conditions-I've got to try and create energy, and cheer them on" said Coach Warming. "I have to try and get a lot of energy, whatever that takes, I cannot be that guy in one of those situations that just says `ok guys go ahead and kill yourselves out there.' I have got to give the guys some energy and I think the guys really appreciate that."


The score remained tied at the end of regular play, forcing the match to enter what would become double overtime. 


With the first ten minutes in extended play, the Nittany Lions continued to stand strong as Bersano blocked everything the Midshipmen kicked his way.


Despite best efforts offensively and defensively, Penn State couldn't take back the lead in double overtime, ending the match at 1-1.


"It's all about learning and getting better after every game," said Bersano. "It's still early in the season so we'll learn from this situation and improve upon it. We played tough this weekend and are off to a great start, but we always want to improve so next time we end up on top for close games like this one."


The Blue and White walked away from opening weekend knowing they played their best last weekend with earning 1-0-1 record to start the season.


The Nittany Lions will take the lessons learned from opening weekend on the road as the team travels to Philadelphia to face Temple University this Friday, September 4. 

VIDEO: 2015 Season Preview - Men's Soccer

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's soccer team begins its 2015 season on Friday with a home match against San Francisco (5:30 p.m.).

After qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time last fall, the Lions are eager to kick off a new season with several new faces. In addition to the San Francisco match, Penn State hosts Navy on Sunday (3 p.m.).

GoPSUsports.com paid a visit to pre-season practice to talk with head coach Bob Warming, along with senior Brian James and junior Connor Maloney. Take a look.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: 2014-15 Year in Review with Sandy Barbour

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour to review a superb 2014-15 season for Penn State Athletics.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: 2014-15 Season Highlights

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's 2014-15 season was one marked by excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. GoPSUsports.com takes a look back at the campaign in a season highlight reel.

Commemorating 25 Years of Penn State and the Big Ten

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Penn State has won 92 Big Ten titles, including 21 in women's soccer (16 regular season).

By Tony Mancuso
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just four months into his tenure as commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, Jim Delany recalls an idea brought to the table by former Illinois President Stan Ikenberry.

It was October of 1989 when Ikenberry, who spent time as a senior administrator at Penn State earlier in his career, broached the thought of adding an institution to the Big Ten for the first time since Michigan State was invited to become a member in 1949.

The Big Ten then began a formal research process of an institution that would bridge a Midwestern league to the East.

The Pennsylvania State University was on the table for discussion as a superb academic institution with a rich tradition in athletic success.

Delany, whose sister attended Penn State as a graduate student, didn't need much convincing. He knew the level of potential a partnership between Penn State and the Big Ten could foster.

"The Big Ten hadn't changed in many, many decades, but I thought if the opportunity to expand presented itself it was a no brainer," Delany said earlier this week. "Excellent academics. Excellent athletics. And pointed towards the East Coast, I thought there was a lot of potential there. That was my recommendation at the time."

The process moved forward with the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten institutions discussing the topic before news broke just before the holidays in December of 1989 that Penn State could be on its way into a new conference. Under the direction of athletic director Jim Tarman at the time, Penn State had been competing as an independent in football for more than a century, and the rest of the department had been a member of the Atlantic 10 since 1976.

When the news initially surfaced, women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose, who along with field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss are the two current Penn State head coaches who were on staff in 1989, was giving a presentation at the annual women's volleyball coaches convention (AVCA) about the importance of NCAA Tournament at-large bids for teams in smaller conferences.

"I remember talking in front of the group about the importance that not all of the at-large bids go to the bigger conferences and that there were good teams in other conferences even though they didn't have the same notoriety, said Rose. "We have a lunch break. I turn on ESPN at lunch, and I see that Penn State is going to be a member of the Big Ten. I come back. I say to some people that I would like to retract what I said about at-large teams."

The formal process concluded with a vote in Iowa City on June 4, 1990, at which time Penn State was officially accepted as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Twenty-five years have passed in a partnership that allowed both the University and conference to reach unprecedented heights on the field and in the classroom.

"From a broad perspective, at the time, my view was that it was a tremendous fit for both sides. And history has proven that," Delany said. "With all the other expansions around the country, I'm not sure there was one that benefitted both institution and conference as much as this did, largely because of the characteristics of Penn State were so well matched with the characteristics of the Big Ten."

The positive news zipped throughout campus shortly after the vote in Iowa.

"I remember hearing about the announcement from Mary Jo Haverbeck, from the Sports Information office," said Morett-Curtiss. "She told me about us going in and how it was going to have a major impact for women's athletics at Penn State."

It was an announcement that changed the landscape of funding and development for all of Penn State's 28 programs at the time, and it was a day Morett-Curtiss remembers quite well.

"Ironically, I had gone for a run that day on the trails near Sunset Park and as I'm running, I see someone walking in front of me and it was Joe Paterno," Morett-Curtiss said. "And it was that day, so I said to him, 'hey what's going to happen?' He said, 'I think this is going to be a really good thing for Penn State and the exposure all of the programs are going to get.'"


The women's volleyball program captured Penn State's first Big Ten title in 1992, marking volleyball's first of 16 conference crowns.

Penn State's teams felt the impact of the Big Ten conference almost immediately.

"What it did for us when we joined the Big Ten is that it No. 1 it resulted in a reassessment of the levels of commitment we had to the various programs," Rose said. "We became fully funded when we joined the Big Ten. Prior to that, we were not fully funded. And we were not fully staffed. Entering Big Ten, collectively, for all of the sports resulted in us having a new commitment from the University to try and be competitive. From a volleyball perspective, we had been competitive prior to that, but playing in the Big Ten in women's volleyball made us better because the level of competition was better than we were experiencing in the Atlantic 10."

At the time, women's volleyball had just one assistant coach on the staff alongside Rose and nine scholarships to field a roster. Joining the Big Ten boosted the program to full funding and 12 scholarships.

"As I look at it now, we could have had some great teams if we had funding in the early years," said Rose. "That was just the way that it was.  When you take a job, that is the job you took. When we joined the Big Ten, a lot of us got a better job without having to move. But it's way more competitive. Recruiting is a lot different than what we had experienced in the Atlantic 10."

The same can be said for what Morett-Curtiss experienced within the field hockey program.

"The financial support from a scholarship standpoint was huge right away," said Morett-Curtiss. "And knowing our field that we were going to build was going to be a first rate facility."

The investment for success around the Big Ten stood out during Penn State's transition. Every institution and athletic program strives to be the best. It's a trait that has not changed during the department's 25 years as a member, and it's something that will be a trademark of the Big Ten for decades to come.

"The level of commitment to being good across the conference, everybody cared," said Rose. "I don't believe every conference across the country has that sort of commitment in all of their sports. I think that is one of the things that makes the Big Ten really unique. If they offer it, they care and they want to be relevant."

Penn State's time in the Big Ten has been marked by excellence in the classroom and on the field of play. In all, Penn State's programs have accounted for 92 Big Ten championships from 15 different programs - 76 regular season and 16 post-season. Additionally, more than 170 student-athletes have accounted for nearly 300 individual Big Ten titles.

Penn State student-athletes have earned more than 5,000 Academic All-Big Ten recognitions since it joined the conference, with its three highest totals during the past three years, led by 296 in 2012-13.

"Penn State's entrance into the Big Ten not only changed the intercollegiate sports landscape, it also changed our academic landscape and our future. Our size, our academic reputation and our athletic tradition matched up well with Big Ten schools," said Penn State President Eric Barron, who also noted that all Big Ten schools are flagship universities for their states. "The academic side of the Big Ten is known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and the institutions together have annual research expenditures topping $10.2 billion -- more than the Ivy League and the University of California System combined -- and they educate a total of nearly 600,000 students. The benefits from being part of such an outstanding and prestigious organization with such an expansive footprint across the nation are immeasurable."

The women's volleyball program earned Penn State's first Big Ten crown during the 1992 season, just one year after the team began competing in the league. The title marked the first of Penn State's superlative 16 Big Ten titles in women's volleyball, in addition to seven NCAA Championships since 1999.

Like women's volleyball, the women's soccer program has been a benchmark of success in conference play. The program became the department's 29th varsity sport in 1994. Since then, Penn State has won an unprecedented 16 conference titles, including a string of 15-straight from 1998-2012.

The football program claimed the Big Ten title in its second season of competition during an undefeated Rose Bowl championship campaign in 1994. Coach Joe Paterno's '94 squad became the first Big Ten team to ever post a 12-0 record. The '94 crown marked the program's first of three Big Ten championships to date (2005 and 2008).

The fall season of 2005 stands out as a monumental period in Penn State's history within the conference. Nittany Lion teams clinched five Big Ten titles in a span of 30 days. The list included field hockey, football, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball. Since the fall of 2005, Penn State teams have won 51 Big Ten championships (5.1 titles per year in a 10-year span).


Penn State clinched five Big Ten titles in a span of 30 days during the fall of 2005, including one for the women's volleyball team.

It's impossible to quantify how the partnership between Penn State and the Big Ten altered the recruiting landscape for the teams on campus and how the recruiting gains equated to success on the field of play. But pitching a world-renowned education with an elite conference affiliation cultivated relationships with premier student-athletes.

"The name recognition was big for football, but when you see how many of the Universities and programs have been successful on a national level, I think that has greatly helped," Morett-Curtiss. "Exposure for all of the Universities within the conference has helped us all grow. Combining the academic side of what these Universities have with the athletics, it's a very powerful combination when we go out recruiting student-athletes."

A big piece to the exposure of Penn State teams during the past 25 years was the launch of the Big Ten Network on Aug. 30, 2007. More than 800 Penn State sporting events have aired live on the BTN since it launched. The benefits of the conference's TV network, which is in more than 60 million homes,  increased visibility across the country for the department in a way that cannot be measured.

"The Network was a major step for us," Morett-Curtiss. "Just having the opportunity to have games on TV so that little girls can watch and learn about the sport. It's helped, not only exposure for the program, but it's helped the sport grow. It's just a phenomenal avenue for us to showcase our University and the sport."

The BTN's impact goes back to what Rose talked about as one of the immediate impacts his program felt - funding. Not only did the BTN infinitely increase exposure for Penn State teams, it has played a paramount role in increased revenues for each institution.

"Certainly, the Big Ten Network has been instrumental in generating funds for the Universities and the conference and the bowl revenue sharing has resulted in more money for all of the schools and the conference," said Rose.


In 2008, Penn State captured its third Big Ten title in football en route to a trip to the Rose Bowl.


While the competitive atmosphere is intense between teams across all of the conference's sports, each member institution understands that the individual success aids in the growth of the collective conference.

"I think the relationship has been a really positive one," said Rose. "There are a lot of similarities between the various Universities."

"Everybody in the Big Ten shares what they do and why they do it; best practices," said Dave Baker, Associate Athletic Director for Business Operations. "We share lots of ideas, at least from the business manager and ticketing perspective. We learn things from one another. And there aren't secrets. We all work together and try to help each other out...We all don't do things the same way. We all have limitations, but we are all looking to help one another out for the betterment of the conference.

"Some people would find it hard to believe that people in the Big Ten root for other Big Ten teams in the postseason, but we do. We follow what is going on...It is a cooperative spirit and a partnership."

Baker is one of just a handful of Penn State administrators and coaches who have been with Intercollegiate Athletics during the past 25 years. That list includes Jan Bortner, who was head coach of the men's tennis team in 1990 and has since transitioned into a role as an associate athletic director. Among the key changes Baker felt from the business operation centered on travel. Bus trips were the norm for Penn State teams in the Atlantic 10, but the geography of the Big Ten led to more plane travel.

A quarter century has passed since initial discussions of a new relationship took place and bonds were formed. Many things have changed significantly for Penn State, the conference and intercollegiate athletics nationwide, but it's been 25 years marked by growth stemming from a vision in 1989.

"Pennsylvania is a very important state. It served as a bridge to the East for us. It made our football offerings stronger," said Delany. "It has been excellence with national championships in a variety of sports. And I have always felt that the 1994 Penn State team was the best team in the country; no disrespect to Nebraska. When you look at the players that team had (five first team All-Americans on offense) and what that group accomplished. That team was the national runner-up. That was a tremendous football team. I've seen some very good basketball teams both on the men's side and the women's side. And obviously, the wrestling and volleyball programs have been dominant on the national scene."

Penn State has won a total of 27 national championships since joining the Big Ten, including three in 2013-14, and the department's collective success speaks for itself.

By no means was the integration in 1990 an easy one, but the partnership between the University and Big Ten is a match that enabled both sides to mutually prosper in a way neither side could have envisioned when the formal vote concluded 25 years ago today.


The wrestling team began a string of four-straight Big Ten titles in March of 2011.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: THON 2015 Pep Rally Dance - Men's Soccer

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Check out the Nittany Lions dancing on stage during the THON 2015 Pep Rally on Saturday night.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.- It was a season full of achievements for the Penn State men's soccer team.

From individuals awards like Connor Maloney winning Big Ten Forward of the Year to team ones including a No.3 national ranking in October, the Nittany Lions accomplished plenty during a 13-6-1 campaign that ended with a trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament. 

Still, when head coach Bob Warming thinks about the season, the first thing that comes to mind won't be the goals or the victory celebrations. Instead, Warming will remember how much fun he and his players had on a regular basis.

"I'll remember everything but I think the one thing that I'll ways remember is the relationships and how they developed," Warming said. "We had a lot of guys with great character on this team." 

That attitude and the mindset carried over onto the field, where Penn State opened the season with an incredible 10-0-1 run that included standout wins over Big Ten opponents Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan and Rutgers.

Along the way, the Lions attracted the strongest fan base the team has seen in years. Not only was the student section at Jeffrey Field regularly packed, a bus full of students made the four-hour trip to Maryland on Oct. 18 to watch the Blue and White take on the Terpins. 

"I'm really pleased with how our fan base has grown," Warming said. "If the timing is right, we can attract kids to our sports and it's happening. We have a great leader in (marketing director) Rob Roselli who connects so well with the fans. I think we'll continue to grow." 

Although the season ended with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Lions saw young players develop, veterans leave their mark and a season will plenty of memories.

Lets take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from the 2014 campaign.

The Wolf of Park Avenue 
Perhaps no game better exemplified Penn State's overall team play than its 1-0 victory over Michigan on Sept. 28.

The victory gave senior goaltender Andrew Wolverton his school record 29th career shutout. While the 6-foot-6 goalkeeper made a signature diving save to preserve the win with eight minutes remaining, he also received terrific defensive support from his backline of Eli Dennis, Mason Klerks and Mike Robinson.

That was a theme throughout the season for the Nittany Lions. While Wolverton, the 2013 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the year and a 2014 All-Big Ten Second Team selection, was his usual stellar self, his success would not have been possible without the support of his teammates. 

"The whole team was instrumental in Andrew getting the shutout record," Warming said. "The amazing saves made by him are something I'll always remember, but I'll also remember the saves that our other players made by diving in front of balls for him." 

By the end of the season, Wolverton had nine shutouts on the year and an incredible 32 over his four years as a starter. For a team that won 13 1-0 games over the past two years, the goalie's performance was irreplaceable.

The Magical Touch of Maloney
Try to tell  Warming that he has a defensive minded team and the coach can't help but laugh.

True, the Lions were involved in eight 1-0 games this season. Still, that is simply the nature of a sport like soccer.

"The most common score in men's collegiate soccer is 1-0," Warming said. "The reality is our team can really score they're just so good at defending."

In 2014, no player in the Big Ten scored throughout the season quite like sophomore forward Connor Maloney. Not only was he named the conference's top forward, he also led the Big Ten in goals with 10 and notched five game winners.

More impressive than his scoring, however, was the way the Harrisburg native carried himself throughout the season. Even as he was emerging as a star, the 5-foot-6 striker remained humble. 

"I think Connor has grown a lot as a player in just two years," Warming said. "Last year he led the Big Ten in assists and didn't get much recognition. Now with him scoring goals people are starting to take notice and he'll continue to get better." 

A Lasting Legacy and Bright Hope for the Future
Warming has been coaching college soccer since 1976. At this point, he's used to watching groups of players graduate after four years.

However, this year's seniors, Dennis, Randy Falk, Owen Griffith, Mikey Minutillo, Robinson and Wolverton, will always have a special place in the coach's heart because of their leadership, humility and general sense of Penn State pride. 

Having only been at Penn State for five seasons, Warming has gotten to know these six players as well as any group he has ever coached. Over the past four years, they have helped Penn State capture two Big Ten regular season titles, qualify for the NCAA Tournament twice and remain in first place in the conference standings from October 2012 to November 2014.

"These seniors all wanted to make their mark on Penn State and they've done a fantastic job," Warming said. "This was a team that didn't play well on the road before they got here and now they've always done well on the road. They've been remarkable." 

Although the 2014 campaign ended earlier than they would have liked, the Nittany Lions created a plethora of memories on Jeffrey Field this season, from their 1-0 win over Ohio State on Mack Brady Day to the thrilling 2-1 victory over Hartwick in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

With six starters returning next season, Penn State should remain a force to be reckoned with in 2015.

"That's the exciting part about coaching, even if you lose just one player it makes a huge difference," Warming said. "This team is never the same, and part of the joy of coaching is seeing that evolution. I never go into any season without expectations and I'm always pretty optimistic and I want to win every game. I always feel that if the preparation is there and the work is there than that is something that we can achieve. I'm always going to believe that."

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-Less than a month ago, Brett Gravatt was a bench player trying to fight his way into the lineup for the Penn State men's soccer team.

Now, he's the player that sent the Nittany Lions to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

During Penn State's first round game against Hartwick Thursday night, the reserve midfielder scored the first goal of his career with 16 minutes remaining to give the Lions a thrilling 2-1 win.

"Wow," Gravatt said afterwards. "I felt excitement, I guess. I'm glad I could help."

Although the feat may seem impressive itself, it doesn't give complete justice to the beauty of the sophomore's goal. 

Taking the ball on the right side of the box, Gravatt separated himself from a defender with a quick move to his left, then fired a rocket that curled past goaltender Tom Buckner and into the top left corner of the net. 

As teammates engulfed him in celebration, Gravatt simply turned and walked towards the Penn State sidelines. 

"One of my strengths is [one-on-one] so I like to go at people," Gravatt said. "I was able to beat him inside and got the shot off and I got lucky and it went in. I curled it pretty well and I guess I hit it pretty well."

Not only did the goal give the Nittany Lions a lead they wouldn't relinquish, it was a moment that Gravatt had spent the entire season working towards. 

After coming back from a torn meniscus in the offseason and playing just 84 minutes in Penn State's first 16 games combined, the Dunn Loring, Virginia native finally got into the starting lineup during the Lions' previous two games against Akron and Michigan State.

While the sophomore didn't enter the game until the second half against Hartwick, he made sure his presence was felt when the opportunity arose.

"The message to the guys before the game was, 'don't blend in, standout'" head coach Bob Warming said. "When the game is over with, know that you've stood out in some manner, that you made a big play, that you helped your team win and obviously Brett did that. He took advantage of a moment and helped our team come through."

It may have been Gravatt's first tally of the season, but it didn't come as a surprise to any of his  teammates, who are used to seeing such plays from the midfielder in practice.

"Yeah, we've seen him do that a lot," senior forward Mikey Minutillo said. 

"All the time," midfielder Brian James added.

However, the goal was more than just a big moment for Gravatt. It was also proved that the Nittany Lions were capable of coming from behind in the second half with their season on the line. 

After playing the Hawks to a draw in the first half despite outshooting them eight to two, Penn State fell behind less than a minute into the second when a scrum in front of the net produced a goal by Jhevaughn Beckford.

Down 1-0 and with only 44 minutes remaining to salvage their season, the Lions didn't roll over and quit. Instead, they responded by continuing to create chances in the Hartwick zone. 

Just over 13 minutes after Beckford's goal, Minutillo answered for the Lions, beating Buckner to a ball from midfielder Drew Klingenberg and tapping it past the goalie to knot the score at 1-1. 

Afterwards, the 6-foot-1 forward admitted he was nervous as he watched a Hawks defender nearly prevent the ball from ending up in the net. 

"To be honest, I was a little doubtful that it was going to go in," Minutillo said. "That center back came in sliding and he got a piece of it, but luckily it had enough pace, but as it was rolling I just wanted it to go faster and faster and thank god it did."

In total, the Nittany Lions outshot the Hawks 17 to seven in a hard fought, physical game. What impressed Warming the most though, was seeing the fortitude of his players after they fell behind.

Soccer is a low scoring game, and one goal can often be enough to determine a winner. But on Thursday, the Nittany Lions overcame that and found a way to chip away at the Hawks' defense until the game was won.

The NCAA Tournament is now in full swing, and Penn State is sure to see another challenge when it takes on Syracuse on the road on Sunday. Still, wins like this prove the team will not go away without a fight. 

"You know what I liked the most, is that we've had games this year where we had a goal scored on us and for the next few minutes we were a little poor," Warming said. "[Tonight], I thought we stepped it up a little better. We just kept going, kept going at them. I was really excited about that because it means that your team has confidence and they feel they're going to win it. I think not having that self doubt anymore is going to help us."

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- There's not much you can throw at the Penn State men's soccer team that it hasn't seen before.

After all, with every starter on the team at least a sophomore and five seniors seeing regular time in the lineup, the Nittany Lions have the experience to handle any situation. 

This season alone, they've enjoyed plenty highs, fought through a few challenges, and with the NCAA Tournament kicking off this Thursday at home against Hartwick, they feel they have the necessary experience to make a serious run.

"It's going to be great," senior goaltender Andrew Wolverton said. "A lot of guys have been through this before and we know how to prepare, we know what it's going to be like. It's going to be hopefully a great atmosphere here on Thursday."

Last year, the Nittany Lions won twice in the NCAA Tournament en route to a trip to the Sweet 16. They return six starters from that group (Mason Klerks, Drew Klingenberg, Owen Griffith, Connor Maloney, Mike Robinson and Wolverton) as well as Eli Dennis and Kyle MacDonald, who have started for much of the season.

With so many players having not just played in the tournament but also having success there, there won't be much anxiety for the Blue and White leading up to Thursday. For the most part, it will simply be business as usual.

"I think we have enough experience in the NCAA tournament," Maloney said. "We've got a lot of older guys and a few new guys and I think we'll be ready and that'll get us through."

Out of all the players seeing regular time for the Nittany Lions, the only ones without NCAA Tournament experience are sophomore Brett Gravatt and junior Michael Gonzalez, who have both recently seen time in the starting lineup.

When asked what he advice he has given his less experienced teammates, Wolverton kept it simple. You've got to go about your business as usual, even if there is more at stake.

"Treat it as any other game honesty," Wolverton said. "Obviously, it's got that hype and everyone's going to be pumped up but you can't let it affect how you're going to play you've just got to be focused."

At the same time, Wolverton and his teammates know that Thursday's matchup against the Hawks is more important than a regular season game. If the Lions are going to keep playing into November, there can't be any margin for error.

Having been off since Nov. 9, Penn State will also enter the tournament extremely fresh and rested. With no games last week, the Lions spent the time relaxing and participating in light exercises to keep their fitness up. 

After ramping up the intensity of their workouts over the weekend, the plan is spend the next few days going over the scouting report and watching video. 

"This weekend, we had a couple of really tough practices, scrimmaged a lot, put a lot of running on their legs," head coach Bob Warming said. "[This week] we'll do our normal pregame routine that we do. Our guys are still in recovery mode, still got some guys nursing injures so we can't do too much right now. We're not going to lose fitness."

That extra preparation is one thing that Lions have over the Hawks, who played last Sunday when they defeated Georgia Southern 1-0 to win the Sun Belt Conference.

With the Hawks only having three days of rest in between games, the Lions will clearly have the advantage in both recovery and training.

"A lot of rest was key for right now," Maloney said. "We're pretty good right now, we're coming off a lot of rest and I think we'll be ready with practice this week, it'll be pretty light and we'll be ready.

"We've kind of had dinner and just been around each other in the locker room [last week], That just about it. A little bit of mental regeneration last week getting primed for this week."

The other difference between the Lions and the Hawks is the way the two squads made the tournament.

For the Hawks, qualifying required overcoming a 0-6-4 start by finishing the season 6-3 and winning their last three games. 

Penn State on the other hand, has been a force throughout the season and enters the game with a 12-5-1 record. Now that the postseason is finally upon them, the Lions are looking forward to giving their fans a little more to cheer about.

"It never gets old, man, it never gets old," Warming said. "I had a lot of anticipation [waiting for the bracket to be announced]. I'm really happy for our guys, I'm happy for the body of work they've put together this year. 

"The reason they're in is the body of work they've put together this year. Some teams got hot at the end of the year, this team got in because of what they've done throughout the year. I know they are primed to make great run at this thing."