Omekanda's Two Goals Leads Men's Soccer to 3-0 Victory Over Buffalo
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 8, 2006 - Penn State senior forward Simon Omekanda (Rochester Hills, Mich.) scored two goals and added an assist on a third score, spearheading a 3-0 Nittany Lion rout of Buffalo on Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. The performance was Omekanda's first multiple goal game since he netted two in Penn State's 3-0 blanking of Hartwick on Nov. 4, 2005.
While Omekanda sparked the attack, goalkeeper Conrad Taylor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) headlined a strong defensive effort. The junior stopped three Buffalo shots en route to his second shutout of the weekend and of the season. Taylor earned his first on Friday evening when the Nittany Lions earned a 0-0 tie with No. 18 Akron. With 20 shutouts for his career, Taylor moves into a third place tie with Ron Haag (1936-38) on Penn State's career shutouts list, just 8.25 behind all-time leader Greg Kenney.
Penn State controlled play from the game's outset and throughout the first half. The Nittany Lions outshot Buffalo, 7-1, through the first 45 minutes and held the Bulls to zero shots on goals. One of those seven Penn State's shots, created in the 37th minute, found net, providing the Lions with a 1-0 advantage. Junior Chris Germani (Yardley, Pa.), playing in just his second game since returning from an injury, sent an entry pass from the left wing to an awaiting Simon Omekanda, who had positioned himself directly in front of the Buffalo goal. Omekanda tipped the pass up and over the Bulls goalkeeper and into the net for his second goal of the season. For Germani, a transfer from North Carolina, the assist earned him his first point in a Penn State uniform.
The Nittany Lions didn't wait long into the second half to put the game out of Buffalo's reach, scoring again with just two and a half minutes ticked off the clock. Near midfield, freshman midfielder Alex Wentzel (Reading, Pa.) found Omekanda with a perfect crossing pass. Omekanda turned on the jets and outraced the defense to the Buffalo zone. From ten yards out, he stopped and fired a shot across the body and out of the reach of Bulls goalkeeper Daniel Bell and into the net. With an assist on the play, Wentzel notched the first point of his collegiate career.
In the game's 72nd minute, Penn State capped off its offensive outpouring with a goal by senior midfielder Jeff Chambers (Christiana, Pa.), his second of the year. The Lions earned a free kick after Buffalo's back-up goalkeeper Robert Shuttleworth picked up the ball after a Bulls defender had passed it to him. Omekanda began the play by passing it a few feet to Chambers, who then ripped a shot from 18 yards out that missed a wall of defenders, blasted past the diving Bulls keeper, and went into the net. The assist was Omekanda's fourth of the season and 26th of his career, moving him to within just one of tying Duncan McEwen (1978-81) for fifth place on Penn State's career assists list. Chris Kelly (1990-93) holds the all-time assists record, registering 32 over his career.
The Nittany Lions resume Big Ten play on Sun., Oct. 15 when they meet Wisconsin in a 12:00 p.m. game in Madison. The Badgers currently sit atop the conference standings with a 2-0-1 record. Penn State will then return home to Happy Valley to face intrastate opponent Bucknell on Tues., Oct. 17 at Jeffrey Field at 7:00 p.m. The Nittany Lions have dominated the all-time series, possessing a 56-6-3 record versus the Bison.