Defense Shines in No. 15 Nittany Lions' 1-0 Win Over Saint Francis
Sept. 14, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 15 Penn State men's soccer team remained unbeaten and unscored upon at home this season with a 1-0 victory over regional foe Saint Francis (Pa.) (2-3-1) on Wednesday evening at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions are 4-0 in University Park thus far in 2011, outscoring their opponents, 7-0.
Team defense was the key to victory for Penn State (5-1-0), as the Nittany Lions worked together to limit the Red Flash to just three shots for the game. Freshman goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.), the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, needed to make just only one save, albeit a clutch stop, to notch his five shutout of the season and lower his goals against average to 0.50.
The defense even got in on the scoring, as junior left back Brian Forgue (Glenmoore, Pa.) tallied the go ahead goal in the first half, becoming the fifth different Nittany Lion this season to net a game winner. Junior midfielders Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.) and Hasani Sinclair (Coral Gables, Fla.) each earned their first assists of the year on the play.
Penn State started the game fast, pressuring early on the offensive end. In the seventh minute, after receiving a bulls-eye pass from sophomore forward Jordan Tyler (Rochester, Mich.), Hasani Sinclair maneuvered through the Saint Francis defense and got off a low, skimming shot from 14 yards out, but the offering skipped just inches wide of the far post.
Sinclair returned the favor just over four minutes later, feeding a beautiful pass ahead to Tyler, who had beaten a path past the Red Flash back line. Saint Francis goalkeeper Darius Motazed came off his line to cut off the angle and Tyler's hard shot was kicked away.
Just over 11 minutes into the game, Wolverton came through when needed, sprawling to haul in a chip shot by Saint Francis' leading scorer Wayne Tiller and keep the Red Flash off the scoreboard.
The Nittany Lions' persistence on the attack finally paid off in the 19th minute with Forgue's second career goal. Cardona triggered the scoring play by getting a centering pass through a mass of defensive traffic to Sinclair, who was stationed inside the box. Looking to his right for an open man, Sinclair tapped a pass wide to an unmarked Forgue, who knocked it in from point blank range.
After a scoreless remainder of the half, Penn State emerged from the break with a lead and rain falling once again on an already saturated Jeffrey Field. Play became overly spirited at times in the second half with a total of three yellow cards and one red card being issued. Saint Francis' David Butler got a yellow card in the 75th minute and then just over one minute later was issued a second yellow, forcing him off the field and providing Penn State with a man-up advantage for the final 14-plus minutes of the game.
The Nittany Lions tried to take advantage with less than a minute remaining but a Jordan Tyler breakaway opportunity was again foiled by an aggressive move by the SFU goalkeeper.
Penn State outshot Saint Francis for the game, 15-3, and had a 9-0 advantage on corner kicks.
Penn State will make its first true road trip of the 2011 season this weekend, traveling northeast to Connecticut for a 2 p.m. match-up with Hartford on Sunday. The Nittany Lions are 1-0-1 all-time versus the Hawks, winning the teams' last meeting, a 1-0 double overtime decision in 2009.