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September 8, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore Christian Sload's (Reading, Pa.) golden goal in the 110th minute of the match earned Penn State men's soccer its first victory of the 2017 season Friday, September 8 at Jeffrey Field.
Tonight's goal marks the second of Sload's career, as his first came against the Red Flash at Jeffrey Field September 13, 2016. The sophomore forward struck across the left side of the field and drilled a shot into the bottom of the net to secure the win for Penn State with 36 seconds remaining in the match.
"Every game is a different and you have to talk to each other and communicate," stated head coach Bob Warming. "There was a lot of discussion with the team, it was a very active locker room at halftime. Everybody was contributing and talking. Everything was spot on and that made me very proud that they are connecting now and becoming a good team."
Playing its third double overtime match in as many games, Penn State outshot Saint Francis 11-8 in 110 minutes of play, while putting six shots on goal compared to SFU's one. Redshirt-senior Evan Finney (San Francisco, Calif.) came up with a big save in the closing minutes of the second half to keep the match scoreless and secure the overtime period. The shutout marked the first of the season for Finney and the seventh of his career.
Sload paced Penn State offensively with two shots on net and one goal, while freshman Mikey Conneh (Sheffield, Yorkshire) earned his first point donning the Blue and White with an assist to Sload. Freshman Ethan Beckford (Manchester, England) also found the net twice for Penn State and both Ryan Gallagher (Pine Brush, N.Y.) and Noah Pilato (Oak Hill, Va.) had one shot on goal apiece.
Sophomore Aaron Molloy (Dublin, Ireland) and Sload combined for back-to-back shots in the first 13 minutes to test the SFU defense. Beckford got his foot on a ball in the air inside the 12-yard line but it bounced off a perfectly placed defender outside the net to keep the match deadlocked at 0-0.
Saint Francis attempted two headers inside the box with both sailing wide of the net. Both teams had three shots in the first half with Penn State putting the only one on goal as the teams headed to the locker room scoreless.
The Nittany Lions controlled the ball for the majority of the second half, taking three shots with two reaching goal. Finney kept the match scoreless as time dwindled down when he leaped into the air and the ball brushed the top of his fingertips on a shot from 11-yards out on the left side of the net.
For the third-straight game the Blue and White were tied at the end of regulation, leading Saint Francis 7-6 in shots with three on net compared to the Red Flash's one. The Nittany Lions tallied one shot in the overtime period as the match remained tied at 0-0 through 100 minutes of action at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State had a chance at its golden goal in the 105th minute when a free kick allowed the Nittany Lions to take two shots inside the 18-yard box, but neither would touch the net.
With just under one minute on the clock the Nittany Lions raced down the field as Molloy took the ball from the Red Flash and passed it up to a striking Conneh on the right side of the pitch. Conneh crossed the ball to Sload, who was coming from the left side of the field. Sload ripped the ball at a wide-open left side of the net to secure the 1-0 victory for the Blue and White in the 110th minute of play at Jeffrey Field.
The Nittany Lions open their 2017 Big Ten Conference season Tuesday, September 12 when they travel to Ohio State to take on the Buckeyes. Penn State and Ohio State will square off at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.