|Follow PSU Men's Soccer:||Follow @PennStateMSOC|
Aug. 19, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite outshooting Marshall by a 15-3 margin, the Penn State men's soccer team dropped its exhibition opener by a 1-0 count on Tuesday evening at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State dominated possession and controlled pace throughout the first half. Junior eligible Matheus Braga (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), who was playing his first game in a Nittany Lion uniform, gave a standout performance, initiating several offensive pushes with pinpoint passes and quick footwork. He also led Penn State in shots for the game, totaling all four in the first half.
The Nittany Lions did produce scoring opportunities early on but could not convert. In the game's 13th minute, senior midfielder Ryan Badaracco (Wexford, Pa.) served a pass into the box that Braga got his head on but the shot went wide of goal. Seven minutes later, senior forward Barkley Miller (New Freedom, Pa.) found an open John Gray (Lemont, Pa.) with a pass from the wing, but Marshall goalkeeper Greg Walter smothered Gray's hard shot.
The Thundering Herd scored the game's only goal in the 60th minute when senior midfielder Jira Cooley blasted a shot from 25 yards out that lifted just above the reach of Nittany Lion keeper Liam Fitzwater (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.). Kendall Sutton earned an assist on the game winning score.
With as many as five freshmen in the line-up in the second half, Penn State struggled to mount many viable offensive pushes. Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions held a 7-1 advantage in shots.
Redshirt freshman Warren Gross (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) manned goal for the first half before giving way to redshirt sophomore Liam Fitzwater, who played the game's final 45 minutes. With Marshall only mustering one shot on goal for the game, neither goalkeeper recorded a save.
The Nittany Lions' preseason schedule continues on Sat., Aug. 23 when Pitt visits Jeffrey Field for a 7 p.m. showdown. The Panthers are coming off a 2007 season in which it went 3-13-2, including a 1-9-1 record in BIG EAST Conference play.
The 2008 regular season begins for Penn State on Fri., Aug. 29 at the Bert & Iris Wolstein Classic hosted by The Ohio State University. The Lions will kick off the year by taking on Central Florida in a match-up scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Penn State will wrap up opening weekend tournament play on Sun., Aug. 31 with a 12 p.m. contest against Florida Gulf Coast.