No. 25 Men's Soccer Drops Regular Season Finale at Indiana, 2-1
Nov. 6, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Penn State men's soccer team (10-6-2, 3-2-1 Big Ten) lost the ability to control its own destiny in the race for the Big Ten regular season title and fell short in its bid to directly secure the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament with a 2-1 setback to Indiana (9-8-1, 3-3-0 Big Ten) on Friday afternoon in Bloomington.
The Nittany Lions' fortunes for a Big Ten regular season championship now rely on the outcome of two games that will be played on Saturday. In order for Penn State to claim its first conference crown since 2005 and the top seed in the Big Ten Championship, the Lions will need Michigan to defeat second-place Ohio State in Columbus and for Michigan State to down or tie third-place Northwestern in Evanston. Regardless of those results, Penn State can do no worse than the No. 3 seed for the Big Ten Championship.
Junior midfielder Matheus Braga (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) accounted for Penn State's lone score, netting his seventh goal of the season. Sophomore forward Corey Hertzog (Reading, Pa.) recorded his team-high sixth assist of the year on the play.
Penn State was outshot for just the fifth time this season, 16-11. Braga and senior forward Jason Yeisley (Allentown, Pa.) led the Lions with three shots each.
After an evenly played outset to the first half, Penn State drew first blood in the 20th minute. Possessing the ball 10 yards out near the middle of the field, Corey Hertzog flicked a pass to Matheus Braga, who was on a run from behind. Braga received and then rifled a shot from eight yards out that found the lower right of the net.
Indiana answered back in the 39th minute. After Penn State goalkeeper Warren Gross (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) deflected wide a shot by IU forward Will Bruin, the Hoosiers would even the game on the ensuing corner kick. Bruin sent his kick far post and found the foot of Lee Hagedorn who punched it in past a diving Gross.
The Hoosiers put the game away just 40 seconds into the second half. Off a long combination of passes from two IU players, the ball found Danny Kelly at the top of box. Gross had come off his line aggressively to intercept the ball but missed and Kelly got around his mark and chipped a shot into net from eight yards out.
Penn State had a chance to get back in it when Indiana defender Tommy Meyer was issued a red card in the 66th minute, forcing the Hoosiers to play down a man for the final 34-plus minutes. However, the Nittany Lions couldn't capitalize on the advantage and net an equalizer.
Next week, the Nittany Lions will begin pursuit of their fourth conference crown when they return to Bloomington, Ind. for the 2009 Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship. To be hosted by Indiana University, the battle for the 2009 title is set to begin on Thurs., Nov. 12 with three first round match-ups. Semifinal games will take place on Fri., Nov. 13 with the championship contest set for Sun., Nov. 15. All games will be played at Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium on the IU campus. Game times and match-ups will be determined once seeding is established upon the conclusion of regular season competition. The semifinals and finals will air live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State possesses a 22-12-4 record in Big Ten Championship play, one of just two conference teams to possess a winning mark in the postseason tournament.