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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s soccer defense kept the top team in NCAA Division I soccer to just one goal in its 1-0 Big Ten Conference loss to No. 1 Indiana Saturday, Oct. 7 at Jeffrey Field.
“I thought the last 25 or 30 minutes were terrific by the group,” noted head coach Bob Warming. “This is a team that hasn’t gone into a halftime up one goal, it’s been two or three or four. As a result, we put an extra forward up top, and we got used to that, and it felt like we were starting to get some of the game. We had about 20 to 25 minutes where we started to get a lot of the game.
“It’s a lesson, it’s another thing learned,” said Warming. “They got the tone of the game because in the first 15 minutes they pressed us and we gave a lot of balls away in our own half that gave them a lot of energy and a lot of confidence that they could beat us. Once we start playing the ball up higher, a little quicker, it looked like we were going to be in the game.”
The Blue and White defense shone against the powerful Hoosier offense as it blocked multiple shots on the evening and redshirt-freshman Josh Levine (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) made a Penn State season and career-high 11 saves on the evening. In just the second start of his career and third career appearance, Levine gave up just one goal against Indiana.
Freshman Ethan Beckford (Manchester, England) was the offensive leader for the Nittany Lions with three shots on net that Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse was barely able to get a hand on to keep the Hoosier lead in check.
Spencer Glass netted the lone goal of the evening at Jeffrey Field in the first half of the match and Cory Thomas earned the assist on the play. Muse picked up his 10th shutout of the season with three saves in 90 minutes of action.
Levine made four early saves for Penn State before a service onto the head of Glass across the box found the far post on the right side of the net to give Indiana the 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. Despite giving up a goal, Levine held strong in net in the first 45 minutes of action, making six saves. Beckford tallied the lone shot of the half for Penn State when he blasted one from 27-yards out on the left side of the pitch that was saved by Muse.
Penn State found a stretch of offense in the 72nd minute, when Beckford tore down the left side of the field and took a close range shot, but Muse was able to get his hand on the ball at the last second to maintain the Indiana lead.
Beckford struck again in the 78th minute when he got his heel on a ball served in from Austin Maloney (Harrisburg, Pa.) but again Muse was there to make the huge stop for the Hoosiers.
Penn State continued to press in the closing minutes but was unable to sneak a goal past Muse, falling 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference contest.
The Nittany Lions will go on a four-match road swing starting Tuesday, Oct. 10 when it travels to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions and the Panthers square off for a non-conference match starting at 7 p.m.