Men's Soccer Falls at Michigan State, 1-0
Oct. 9, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Penn State men's soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to Michigan State (4-6-2, 1-1-1) on an unseasonably warm fall Sunday afternoon in East Lansing. With the loss, the Nittany Lions fall to 0-3-0 in the Big Ten and 0-2-1 in road games in 2011.
Penn State (6-4-2) was uncharacteristically outshot by an opponent with Michigan State recording 11 to the Nittany Lions' four for the game. The Spartans also had a 13-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Playing without leading goal scorer Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.), who was not available after being called into duty with the Puerto Rico National Team, Penn State got off to a slow start in first half, allowing Michigan State good scoring chances while failing to consistently put together organized offensive runs. Wolverton kept the Nittany Lions in the game early on, making three clutch saves, including a diving stop of a shot off the foot of MSU's Cyrus Saydee in the 25th minute.
Michigan State's constant attacking pressure finally paid off in the 30th minute and the result was the first goal allowed by Penn State in the first half this season. Off a corner kick by Rubin Bega, Mark Barone slipped his mark on the back post and headed in a shot past a sprawling Wolverton and the Nittany Lion defense.
Penn State's lone first half scoring opportunity came very late in the first half. Sophomore forward Jordan Tyler (Rochester, Mich.) started the play by sending a service wide to the top of the box. Junior forward Daniel Burnham (Boise, Idaho) got a challenged touch on the ball, pushing it towards sophomore midfielder Grant Warming (Omaha, Neb.). From the 18, Warming fired a shot but it sailed just wide of goal.
Penn State's offensive output improved in the second half but its efforts only produced two more shots. The Nittany Lions' most dangerous foray came in the 57th minute. Senior defender Matt Smallwood (Cochranville, Pa.) took a free kick from 25 yards out on the far wing, sending his offering into the box. Inside the 18, senior defender Mark Fetrow (West Chester, Pa.) freed himself from the defense and heading a shot towards goal but his attempt skipped just inches high of the crossbar.
This week, Penn State's schedule features a non-conference road contest and a Big Ten home match. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Nittany Lions will travel to Akron, Ohio to face the No. 3-ranked Zips (7-1-2) in a 7 p.m. game at Lee Jackson Field. Four days later, on Sunday, Oct. 16, Penn State will welcome Northwestern (4-4-3, 0-0-1) to Jeffrey Field for a 2 p.m. clash, which will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.