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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (1-3-2, 0-2-0 B1G) fell to the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins (6-0-1, 2-0-1 B1G), 2-0 in a hard fought defensive battle Sunday night. The Nittany Lions held one of the top ranked teams to a single goal through 88 minutes on the pitch.

 

"It was a busy night," said goalkeeper Evan Finney. "I really think our defense played really well...we played 89 of the 90 minutes. They got one back at the end but it was you know oh well. I think our defense played extremely well tonight and I think we will use that momentum to go into Wednesday's game against Detroit Mercy."

 

While the magic of Jeffrey Field and Mack Brady Day were not enough against the conference rival, the Blue and White proved resilient from the top of their attack to the depths of their own box.

 

"I think our shape overall was very good," said Finney. "I thought countering out we looked pretty dangerous, set pieces we looked way better than them every single time, couple of balls cleared off of the line on corner kicks, free kicks."

 

Finney led the charge for the Blue and White and Mack Brady as he had three dominant saves on the day.

 

"We had a remarkable tradition that was unfortunate it that it had to be started but we started it," said head coach Bob Warming.  "Every goalkeeper who comes through here this game means so much to them," said head coach Bob Warming. "Evan made some fantastic saves tonight, fantastic saves."

 

Although the end result favored Maryland, Finney tested the offense that averages 2.17 goals per game. His most momentous save came during the 35th minute of the contest when Maryland's offense delivered a through ball that forced Finney to make a play off of his line and keep the board scoreless.

 

"I was just trying to stay on my toes and keep out as many as I could," said Finney.

 

The goalkeeper reflected on the importance of Sunday night's match and dedicated his play to the eight-year-old boy who dedicated his life to soccer.

 

"It is just a different type of game you know playing for someone else who is not with us anymore," said Finney. "You know it kind of means a lot if Mack were my age today he would love to be standing in my position. I am not only fortunate to play soccer but be at Penn State as well."

 

With Mack in their thoughts and Detroit Mercy in the foreground, the Blue and White take every loss, win, and tie as a learning opportunity and building block for the rest of the season and future.

 

"One thing that is always important which is belief you know, but our goal is to keep getting better that's it," said Warming. "We're going to keep getting better. I thought there were moments tonight where even a man down I'm thinking we are going to tie the game down. I think if guys have some belief we will move forward."

 

As frustrations built between the two conference squads, the man down situation came during the 72nd minute when forward Ethan Beckford secured a red card just as the Terrapins were crossing over the threshold of midfield. Despite playing with only 10 men, the Blue and White rallied to maintain their composure throughout the entirety of Sunday night's showdown.

 

The Penn State Nittany Lions hope to redeem themselves and continue to build upon their developing foundation this Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against the Detroit Mercy Titans under the lights of Jeffrey Field. 

 

"I think we need to come out with a lot more passion, a lot more energy," said Finney. "Training this week we are going to have to be a little bit more determined...and hopefully we'll come out and get a win on Wednesday for everyone."

 

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State Nittany Lions take the pitch Sunday night against the Maryland Terrapins, the Blue and White will step on the field unified in remembering their 12th man, Mack Brady.

 

Mack, the young son of Elizabeth Brady and Christian Brady, the former Dean of the Schreyer Honors College, passed away in 2012, but his aspirations to be a goalkeeper live on through the Penn State men's soccer team.  

 

"It has been wonderful for me to see how Mack's life, his memory, his legacy has lived on with people like Evan Finney," said Christian. "He [Finney] has talked about how much it means to him that he is a Mack Brady goalkeeper...It's a wonderful way to keep our son's memory alive in a positive and encouraging way to basically still see Mack play as it were through Evan."

Mack's lasting impact on the Penn State soccer community has connected the core of their 'Goalkeeper U,' strengthened relationships, and transcended their game beyond just wins and losses. An eight-year-old boy and his family brought an entirely new meaning to representing the Blue and White every fall.

The goalkeeper position has connected Mack to his father, head coach Bob Warming, and the numerous players who have dawned the Blue and White from the backline over the years.

 "Mack loved carrying his team in that way he loved being the last line of defense from the beginning of the counterattack," said Christian. "So just to share that and say, 'look an eight year old just embraced it.' "

"We get to go out and play for him every single day and let him shine through us," said past Nittany Lion and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton. "He's a great example of what strength is and we can all model after that."

This core of individuals feeds off of Mack's lasting energy so much so that they have yet to lose an annual Mack Brady Match, and they even return years later to feel him between the goalposts of Jeffrey Field. Wolverton will be back at home amongst the Blue and White this Sunday as he reflects on the meaning of the Mack Brady Match.

"It's always good to come back and support...unfortunately such a terrible event happened to someone in our community that's really dear to us now," said Wolverton. "(Former) Dean Brady is a great example to all of us. He is a great guy that we all really look up to, so it's great for us to be able to support him and his family."

Two years ago, another Penn State starting goalkeeper, Matt Bersano, fed off of Mack's presence during a penalty kick situation against the Indiana Hoosiers during that year's Mack Brady Match.

"One of my favorite stories will always be two years ago when we played Indiana," said Christian. "They gave us a penalty kick against us and Matt Bersano dove and got his right hand on it and Coach Warming, you don't talk to the man before, during or for an hour after the game...so Bersano made the stop and he [Warming] came over and just squeezed me so tight and said, 'that was Mack.'"

 

Mack's love for the gloves did not only connect Penn State's continually strong group of men holding down the backline of defense, but also strengthened the relationship of an established athlete and coach, Bob Warming, and an academic scholar, Christian Brady.

"He has become an incredible friend," said Christian. "I have watched him be an amazing mentor to not only these guys but so many of his former goalkeeping players...It's been an honor and a privilege. I have been very thankful. Bob is a dear friend."

Coach Warming also played an instrumental part in helping Mack's legacy live on through the distinguished student-athletes who find themselves protecting the net of the Blue and White. Every season on the pitch each goalkeeper who suits up can be seen wearing a diamond patch with a green number seven, four leaf clovers, and Mack's name prominently displayed above all else.

"Mack picked his number seven when he was four years old and stuck with it," said Christian. "The clover came from that [State College Celtics]. It was actually one of the other fathers on the team just a few weeks after Mack died who brought me this patch that he had made for the Celtic boys to wear so I gave one to Bob and he said, 'Can I get some of these made?'"

 "One of the sheer things that we have with the Brady family is that we know that our team and our goalkeepers are living the dreams of other people," said Warming, on the team living out Mack's childhood dream.

Although the circumstances of the annual Mack Brady Match are undeserving and tragic, the rallying of a community as large as Penn State speaks to the aspirations, character, and energy of an eight-year-old boy. Soccer consumed Mack Brady's life, but Mack Brady gave Penn State men's soccer and the surrounding community a connection that will transcend generations and uphold a legacy that goes well beyond the confines of the pitch.

If you would like to support the Mack Brady Memorial Men's Soccer Fund, memorial gifts may be made online here or by sending a check, payable to Penn State with "In memory of Mack Brady" in the memo line, to: Penn State University, One Old Main, University Park, PA 16802. You can also visit http://www.mackbrady.com for more information about the fund.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On Friday night, the Penn State Nittany Lions (1-1-2, 0-0-0 B1G) and the Saint Francis Red Flash (2-3-0, 0-0-0 NEC) faced off in a grueling 110-minute defensive battle under the lights of Jeffrey Field. Christian Sload's heroics in the final seconds of double overtime rewarded the Blue and White's dynamic defensive play, and tallied their first win of the season, 1-0.

 

"Amazing for the team," said forward Sload on the win. "I don't care if I scored that goal, I wouldn't care if anybody scored that goal. Just good to get that win."

 

As the minutes ticked down to 36 seconds left in the game, Sload's goal came off of a pass into the top of the box from midfielder Mikey Conneh. Sload then connected to sail the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

 

In Sload's case history really does repeat itself as he continues to make an impact in the offensive third for the Blue and White. Last year Sload's first and only goal of the season manifested against Saint Francis; this year he did much of the same, but this time around the result favored Penn State.

 

"Amazing, I don't have any other word," said Sload. "I am out of breathe right now, it is just overwhelming. Just finally getting one under the belt, now we know more are going to come now we just needed that momentum and now we have it."

 

A majority of the match was a back and forth grind in the middle third as both teams dove, slid and hustled along with the sounds of Penn State's cheering section, the Sons of Jeffrey. As six yellow cards were issued throughout the match, the Nittany Lions and Red Flash's physicality created a defensive scrum on the pitch. So much so that both teams only had a combined six shots heading into the second half.

 

"I tried to stay on my toes on that one just cause I might fall asleep back there but our defensive shape was really really good in the first half," said goalkeeper Evan Finney. "We played a little bit more carefully. We were swinging the ball around a lot more."

 

Finney and the core on the backline continued to prove its strength throughout the entirety of the match, even well into the familiarity of two overtimes. With the leadership of Dani Marks, the dominance of Finney and the trust in freshman, Callum Pritchatt, the Nittany Lions defensive efforts were the unsung heroes on the pitch.

 

"Well they are tough aren't they?" said head coach Bob Warming on his defensive unit. "Those guys are just tough. Dani made so many big tackles tonight...We took Ryan Holland and put him in the back and moved Callum up a little bit because he has so much technical ability and savy and we didn't miss a beat when that happened...I was really proud of the backline tonight."

 

The defensive unit helped keep Saint Francis at bay with only eight shots and scoreless; Friday night was the Blue and White's first shutout of the season.

 

"I played with Dani for four years now and our chemistry is unbelievable," said Finney. "Having Callum back there too. He is a really really smart player. Bringing on Ryan Holland, he's probably the best header on the team, he can win any area ball and obviously Gally too. They are all just on the same page, they step together they drop together it is a really great group of guys to have in front of you I am really fortunate."

 

With their first win under their belt, the Nittany Lions hope to continue to capitalize on opportunities and draw from Friday night's momentum.

 

"Big Ten opens up on Tuesday against Ohio State so hopefully we keep that momentum we just had in the last 30 seconds and come out flying Tuesday against them," said Finney.

As they look to continue their winning ways, the Penn State Nittany Lions are back on the road as they start their Big Ten campaign against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State men's soccer team prepares to take the pitch against in-state opponent St. Francis on Friday, Pennsylvania natives will prepare to face-off against familiar faces, similar play, and a reminder of their home-state roots.

 

"Just being around Penn State all of our lives we know a lot of things about the campus, about the sports teams and we have a pretty good connection," said midfielder Austin Maloney (Harrisburg) on a common bond between the opponents.

 

Between the Nittany Lions and the Red Flash there will be 18 players suiting up Friday night who find familiarity in things like Hershey Park, hunting season, and each other.

 

While more than half of Penn State's roster comes to Penn State from neighboring states, the West Coast and across the pond, the Blue and White uphold a core group of individuals who enter Jeffrey Field breathing in the same scents and seeing the same tree lines as their childhoods. Some teammates and future opponents even recognize each other through past opportunities.

 

"Me and (teammate) Mac [Curran] actually played together on club team so we have a really good connection," said Maloney.

 

Defender Stephen Kenney (State College) hopes to contribute to the teams scouting efforts with his familiarity with past State College high school teammate and current Red Flash forward Kyle Moerschbacher.

"I played with him [Kyle] in high school," said Kenney. "I know him as a player so I can use that in the game and I can inform other players about him if he's on the field...just get a tactical advantage."

Among Maloney, Mac Curran (York) and Kenney are other Keystone State representatives like Pierre Reedy (Kutztown), Christian Sload (Reading), Travis Kell (Bear Creek), and Sam Bollinger (State College). Penn State's assistant coach Owen Griffith (Lewisburg) also calls the Keystone State home.

 

Although St. Francis houses 11 of the 18 student-athletes that called Pennsylvania home growing up, the Nittany Lions still find an immense pride and benefit from recruiting within the confines of the state and upholding a Pennsylvania presence.

 

"There are a lot of great players in Pennsylvania, you can go all over the state and find players," said associate head coach Chad Duemberger. "We like Pennsylvania players, we like to keep them in-state."

 

The natives also find great opportunity in head coach Bob Warming's emphasis on Pennsylvania recruiting because of their ability to stay within state lines and receive an education and expand their soccer careers.

 

Maloney and his teammates also enjoy the added benefit of seeing familiar faces cheering them on from the stands of Jeffrey Field.

 

"For me probably how accessible it is for my family to get up here for games," said forward Sload. "It's only like a two hour drive for them so they pretty much have been to every home game so its nice to have that connection...There is a bunch of kids from my hometown that go to this school so being able to see them after games and around campus is really nice."

"Everyone gets to come up for all of the games and all of my friends are from around Pennsylvania and they come here for school and they come to watch my games as well," added Maloney.

Those friends and family in the general vicinity of Penn State will also have the opportunity to bring the Blue and White spirit on the road, as the team will also head to opposite sides of the state when they face off against Temple and Pitt this season.

Although Friday against the St. Francis Red Flash will be another regular season game for a number of players on the pitch, it will also be a celebration and sense of pride for Pennsylvania's core of soccer talent that streams through youth leagues up to the mantel of university and professional play.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the leaves change and the weather grows crisper, the loyal fans of the Penn State men's soccer team never miss a night at Jeffrey Field; no matter if they recognize who dawns the Blue and White jersey or not.

 

Last Friday night's home opener gave way to new jersey numbers, new faces and new experiences for both players and observers.

 

"I played a lot of futbol in my life, but putting on that blue and white jersey was really special to me," said forward Ethan Beckford, who made his way to Happy Valley from Manchester, England. "My first college game, very exciting."

 

"As soon as I stepped out to the pitch I think there was 2-3000 people there," added midfielder Aaron Molloy. "It was fantastic. All of the boys were ready. It was tough we didn't get the result, but it was fantastic to play your first game and to get more to come."

Beckford and Molloy were joined alongside Callum Pritchatt and Kyle Perno as the newest starters to take the pitch for Penn State in the team's opening slate against Hofstra.

 

"Well we've been together two weeks and two days and we had a lot of new starters, so some of the things they did very well was they got better as the game went along," said head coach Bob Warming on the group. "We were a little out of sorts in the first part...but I think they grew as the game went and I think they really created four great chances to score a goal against a team that is tough to get behind."

Although the Blue and White fell in a grueling 1-0 battle against the Pride, the team is ready to look forward to the rest of the season, especially this week's road trip to California. While returners will travel for the second consecutive season to the Golden Coast, newcomers will be getting the taste of Division I travel for the first time; some players coming from across the pond are experiencing the state for the first time all together.

"I can't wait to go," said Molloy. "Since I've committed, coach told me we were going...and it just put a big smile on my face...All the boys are great company to be around so we will have a lot of fun in California."

The Nittany Lions' California campaign will begin on Sept. 1 against UC Irvine and will bookend with Loyola Marymount on Sept. 3.

Although the Blue and White hope to redeem themselves and put two wins under their belt before returning to the East Coast and the confines of Jeffrey Field, Warming sees this trip as an opportunity to continue developing the team's chemistry and comfortability, especially for the newest additions.

"That's exactly it, you know, it's just having everybody away from campus in a new environment where it is just us again," said Warming. "It is very important and I love these early season trips."

Three of the four new starters, Beckford and Pritchatt (England), and Molloy (Ireland), call outside of the United States home, which makes the travel to California another entirely new experience. Besides their excitement for the more temperate weather as opposed to the cold, rainy conditions in England and Ireland, the entire team finds great opportunity in experiencing new cultures and another style of play in California.

"You see different cultures and what players bring to the field because of the culture they come from," said Warming. "I am really looking forward to that because when you get to the NCAA Tournament you see all different kinds of teams."

While a number of the international transfers and recruits will feel the warmth of the California sun and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, Perno is well accustomed to the Golden State. After his freshman year on UC Santa Barbara's turf, he transferred coasts to Penn State and earned a starting defensive position for the 2017 slate.

"California is an awesome place," said Perno. "Penn State is great, but there is nothing like California."

While Perno is well seasoned in what it is like to visit and live in California, he also provides a crucial source of scouting for the Penn State's men's soccer team because he played UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount just last season for UC Santa Barbara.

"The West Coast style plays a lot different from here," said Perno. "They like to dribble...They don't like the physicality of the East Coast game so I think we have that to our advantage."

Although the California campaign goes beyond soccer and hopes to extend a hand in achieving new experiences and build more team chemistry, the Penn State Nittany Lions' biggest goal is to secure two productive wins before they return back to Jeffrey Field.

"We are going to go there to win and outperform, outperform our opponents," said Beckford.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

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Recap

By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-1, 0-0, B1G) fell to the Hofstra Pride (1-0, 0-0, CAA) in a 1-0 defeat on opening night at Jeffrey Field.

 

"You never want to start a season off like this on your home field but we were happy with a lot of our chances," said associate head coach, Chad Duernberger. "It's a tough one for us and we are moving onto California for the next one."

 

History was not on the Nittany Lions side as they failed to add another win to their opening weekend record since 2011 ( now 8-2-2). In that time, the Blue and White had found a consistent amount of success on the pitch in late August, but their persistent efforts on both sides of the ball were just short of another early season victory.

 

"I think we did really well defensively," said goalkeeper, Evan Finney. "Besides that one shot... they really had no other opportunities, they really couldn't break us down."

With Finney in net and captain Dani Marks at the helm of the defensive efforts, Hofstra only had one corner kick opportunity and nine shots on the day.

The Hofstra Pride capitalized on one of their nine shots early in the first half. Danny Elliot, a forward for the Pride, scrambled inside the box amongst teammates and defenders for a top right shelf goal. His shot was the only one that met net on Friday night.

 

The one shot proved to be the achilles heal of the Nittany Lions' efforts as the rest of the match turned into a physical stalemate throughout the thirds.

 

"It was definitely a physical game," Duernberger said. "We had some new guys who had to adjust to the physicality of the game so that will come and now they have experienced it."

Like Duernberger mentioned, Penn State had plenty of chances as they secured 15 shots and forced eight corner kicks. Substitute forward, Christian Sload, made Hofstra's defensive third nervous in the back half of the match. He launched two rockets that deflected off of goalkeeper Alex Ashton's gloves both times and sent the crowd to the edge of their seats.

Freshman defender from the United Kingdom, Callum Pritchatt, thought the team's inability to put the ball in the net was their only blemish on the day.

"Everything, but score," said Pritchatt when asked what the team did well.

In his debut, Pritchatt was among the company of Finney, Marks and Austin Maloney as the only Nittany Lions to play the entire game. He also added another commanding defensive component to their stronghold on the backline.

"I think our new players shined," said Duernberger. "We got guys who came across the pond from Europe...This was their opportunity and I think they played well."

While some players were making their debut, others, like Finney, were stepping on the pitch for their last home opener at Jeffrey Field clad in the Blue and White with their cleats tied.

"It was a bit emotional but it also was just fun," said Finney. "The crowd was great tonight."

The Penn State Nittany Lions hope to regain their footing as they head on their California road trip. Their first matchup is against UC Irvine at 10 p.m. on Sept. 1, while they will close the west coast out against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 3 at 4 p.m.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As classes begin and preseason winds down, the Penn State men's soccer team prepares for its opening night kickoff at Jeffrey Field. The team hopes to start off the 2017 campaign with a win against the Hofstra Pride under the lights and among the loyal Blue and White.

As last season's campaign saw 13 games with one-goal decisions, which also forced eight overtime appearances, the 2017 squad is prepared to face adversity and motivate more success and improvements.

Head coach Bob Warming has six returning starters and eight newcomers to help contribute on the pitch, as they look to improve from its 8-8-2 overall 2016-season-record. They will start their California road trip on Sept. 1., while Big Ten play will kickoff on Sept. 8 against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Before Friday's 7 p.m. matchup, Penn State Athletics spent Fall Sports Media Day catching up with Coach Warming, captain Dani Marks and goalkeeper Evan Finney. Here are five things you need to know to be prepared for everything men's soccer and Blue and White.

Free Kicks
The Blue and White is looking to improve on the offensive side of the ball in 2016, as they scored 22 goals in 18 games last season. Warming attributed the number to free kicks, which has been a point of emphasis this preseason.

"We got to be better on free kicks," said Warming. "We were minus-one last year...Teams who went to the Final Four were anywhere between plus-8 and plus-14. Huge difference. So we gotta be better for those."

 

International Presence
The Penn State men's soccer team has nine players traveling from beyond the confines of the United States. One Nittany Lion, Finney, believes their training in places like England and Ireland will add another level of success to their squad.

"I think they really added a depth to our team that we might not have had in the past with range of passes, accuracy of passes, intelligence on the ball, off the ball, movement, stuff like that." said Finney. "I think we will be very good defensively and I think the players we brought in will help us out a lot."

As American soccer gains popularity, so does the international presence in the collegiate sphere. Last year the Nittany Lions only housed four international players as opposed to this year's nine players.

Captain's Keys
As captain and defensive stronghold, Marks believes a focused and united squad will help the Blue and White have a successful season on the field and in the locker room.

"Having everyone on the same page, which we do now, and getting towards the same goal, which is taking one game at a time and being 100% committed to every single game," said Marks on the team's keys. 

Going Modern
Warming continues to emphasize the use of technology to motivate the Nittany Lions into peak physical and mental shape as the season quickly approaches. The Penn State men's soccer team is the first field sport at the University to involve GPS tracking and heart-rate monitors into their practices.

"Every number is up in terms of our testing," said Warming. "We've got an unbelievable amount of physical data that is being taken place."

Players are able to monitor their hydration, calories, and speed through these practices. It is also essential to the team's injury prevention program.

#11asONE
Last year the team motivated and played for the "all in" mantra, this year the Nittany Lions are subscribing to #11asONE.  

"We have it in our locker room," said Warming. "It is on a lot of our social media things...When you get in that rarified air of the great teams, when you watch them play in our sport they move together they move as a unit. All 11 players are on the same page and they move fluidly across the field and dynamically and it is amazing to watch when you get to that point. That is our mantra, that is our goal."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

Nittany Lions Ready for 2017

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Athletics events schedule is rolling along with men's soccer set to officially open its 2017 season Friday evening. The Nittany Lions welcome Hofstra for a 7 p.m. matchup at Jeffrey Field.
 

Ahead of the opener, catch up with Penn State head coach Bob Warming, redshirt junior Dani Marks and sophomore Pierre Reedy for a closer look inside preseason training and what to look forward to in 2017. 

Eleven Themes for Eleven Weeks
Penn State head coach Bob Warming noted that this year the Nittany Lions have 11 themes that correspond with the 11 weeks of the regular season. Selected by the team, the themes surround a building identity, encompassing everything from what they want to be to the legacy they want to leave behind.   

Marks Leading the Way
Warming and the Nittany Lion coaching staff selected Marks as the team's 2017 team captain. While Warming noted that Marks will possibly be joined by a few of the team's selections. For Warming, Marks embodies an exemplarily men's soccer student-athlete, so much so that he was selected in the spring season.

International Influence
Of the seven Nittany Lions joining the roster in 2017, five call home somewhere outside the United States. Adding to an already diverse group, the unit is already getting acclimated to each other.

"It's cool to have a lot of the international guys come in," Reedy said. "You get to learn a little bit about their culture, they are all funny guys we mess around with each other and we're all getting to know each other's playing styles."

West Coast Trip
Following Friday's home opener against Hofstra, Penn State will head to California for a five-day trip that includes pair of west coast matchups at UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount. 

"I think the trip is important because it's a long trip and it's one more chance for the guys to bond," Warming said.

Meet the Team Night!
Ahead of the home opener, the Nittany Lions will host a team meet and greet with the Sons of Jeffrey, the official student section organization exclusively for men's soccer. Free food, games and even a student wing eating contest are among the activities set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Little Jeffery (adjacent to Jeffrey Field).

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a Wednesday morning workout, the Penn State men's soccer team shuffled out of Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions had made it through a difficult training session, at the hands of their strength and conditioning coach, Kristina Jeffries. 

Jeffries joined the Penn State staff in August of 2014 and has worked with the women's hockey, track & field, and women's lacrosse programs. Last fall, she joined the men's soccer program, and the team has learned to love her grueling workouts. Jeffries coaches the Nittany Lions through workouts almost every day during the season, and multiple times a week in the current offseason.

 "The team likes working a lot on upper body, so we focus on that," Jeffries said. "Other times it's running and endurance, things that will help them during the season."

 Jeffries joked that unfortunately, her midfield players often spend the most time running during her workout sessions, since they typically run the most during games. This is one of the few ways she crafts workouts specifically for the teams and positions of players she works with.

Additionally, she said she designs workouts to help the team and individuals on specific areas for improvement. During the season she focuses on shorter circuit workouts, which provide more strength training. Currently in the offseason she has more time to develop weeks work of programs to prolong the Nittany Lions' endurance into the summer months. 

These workouts in the offseason are catered to help the Nittany Lions in the long run, especially during the second half of their season, which runs from August to early November. During that time, the Nittany Lions typically play multiple games a week, which can be draining, if not properly prepared. 

"We just ended a five week offseason workout and we focused on building muscle, working on strength exercises," junior midfielder Noah Pilato said. "Things that will help us get prepared for next season." 

Pilato added that Jeffries pushes the team to do its best, but she does it with such a charismatic personality that makes her practices more fun, rather than daunting. 

"It's great," Pilato said of having such a positive strength coach. "She is always an upbeat person even at morning workouts when everyone comes in tired. It's so important because that positive energy helps us do our best."

Head coach Bob Warming has also praised Jeffries' dual threat of coaching ability and upbeat character. 

Jeffries credited her passion for her job to working with such dedicated and motivated student-athletes. She said the athletes at Penn State she works with help make her job enjoyable by giving workouts all they have. She said no matter what, she can always count on the Nittany Lions to be ready to go, even if it's before the sun rises.

"I love it, even if it's five in the morning I'll be smiling," Jeffries said. "Penn State is the greatest school in the country and I love working with this team, it makes my job so enjoyable." 

VIDEO: Men's Soccer's THON 2017 Pep Rally Dance

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Another highly anticipated THON event, check out men's soccer's full pep rally dance that landed them a top three spot! 

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