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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (2-7-2, 0-5-0 B1G) battled the No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers (10-0-2, 3-0-2 B1G) under the lights of Jeffrey Field on Saturday. Although Penn State fell to the Hoosiers in a 1-0 bout, the Nittany Lions held a team with 30 goals through twelve games to a single tally on the scoreboard.
"The thing I enjoyed about the game is that I thought our guys got better as the game went along," said head coach Bob Warming. "They adapted to how fast the speed of play was and you don't get that when you play against bad teams. When you play against the best you either quit because you're frustrated or you fight and figure out how to solve a problem and our guys fought and figured out how to solve the problem."
The Blue and White's defense shined brighter than Jeffrey Field's lights as they managed to contain a lethal offense through 90 minutes of play.
"[They] Blocked so many shots, they blocked so many crosses that would've been dangerous chances," said Warming. "Very, very proud of those guys... those guys did a great job."
Captain Dani Marks and Ryan Gallagher were a formidable duo on the backline throughout the entirety of the match, while defenders Callum Pritchatt, Brennan Ireland, Brandon Hackenberg and Kyle Perno offered crucial support on the flanks.
"We changed our system to a four in the back so we had some changes and stuff we were working on in training and I think we've been playing really well," said Marks. "We have a good solid group of guys even guys who come off the bench...We played the best team in the country...It was tough but I think we handled them...The back four of our defensive line is good, strong."
While the back four maintained command of Penn State's defensive third, goalkeeper Josh Levine took control of his box against the best offense in the nation.
"I think it was a great performance, a great opponent," said Levine. "I think we came in well prepared. We've been really, really working on try to limit defensive lapses learning to defend when we're really pressed in for a couple minutes at a time and then trying to find ways to exploit that and counter it. So overall I thought it was a good strong performance from us today."
Although a redshirt freshman making only his second career start Saturday night, Josh Levine has been playing like a veteran between the posts. The Hoosiers had 24 shots and five corner kicks at the end of the contest, but Levine answered with a career high 11 saves and only one goal allowed.
"Very proud of Josh, my goodness what a job he's done," said Warming.
"Fantastic," said Marks on Levine's performance. "That's it. Fantastic."
While the outcome fell in Indiana's favor, Penn State's defensive unit continued to prove that it is a wall of strength, intensity and formidability within the confines of the eighteen.
As the Penn State Nittany Lions look to redeem themselves, they leave Jeffrey Field behind for a four-game road campaign. The Blue and White's first stop is to the neighboring Pittsburgh Panthers on Oct. 10 under the lights.
"We proved to ourselves that we are capable of playing to that level and to everyone else so we have to build off of this game," said Marks. "I'm not going to say loss, I'm going to say we are going to build off of this game...move forward from here."
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