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Oct. 13, 2015
MORGANTOWN, W.V. - The Penn State men's soccer team was shut out by West Virginia in a 3-0 non-conference road match Tuesday, Oct. 13. With the loss the Nittany Lions fall to 5-5-2 overall on the season, while the Mountaineers improve to 6-6-0 in the 2015 campaign.
The Blue and White outshot WVU 20-7 in the 90-minute match, but were unable to come up with a goal for just the third time this season. The Nittany Lions also had eight shots on goal compared to West Virginia's four.
"We have been a program that has been very tough to beat defensively," commented Head Coach Bob Warming. "Pitching shutouts has been a point of pride. We must get back to that immediately."
Junior Connor Maloney (Harrisburg, Pa.) led Penn State with five shots, while Michael Gonzalez (Berwyn, Pa.), Robby Sagel (Laz Vegas, Nev.) and C. Maloney all had two shots on goal for the Nittany Lions. Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Matt Bersano (Tempe, Ariz.) suffered the loss in net, making just one save on the night.
Jamie Merriam propelled the Mountaineer offense with two goals on the night and Joey Piatczyc scored his first goal of the season for West Virginia. Alec Boerner and Daniel Diaz split time in the net with Boerner playing the opening half and making five saves and Diaz closing out the match with three saves.
The Nittany Lions started putting pressure on the Mountaineer defense immediately, taking its first shot of the match just 34 seconds in before tacking on three more shots in the first 25 minutes of action.
After Penn State dominated the first 36 minutes of the match, West Virginia used a perfect lead pass to the foot Jamie Merriam. Merriam had a one-touch shot into the upper corner of the net, just through the grasp of a leaping Bersano, to take the 1-0 lead in the first half.
Merriam used his second one-timer goal of the match six minutes later when a long pass up the field found his foot and he gently chipped it into the lower corner of the net to extend the West Virginia lead to 2-0.
The Nittany Lions outshot the Mountaineers 10-3 in the first half and had five shots on goal compared to West Virginia's three, but it was WVU who took the 2-0 lead into the locker room with two goals from Merriam.
The Blue and White were the first to strike in the second half when a shot from Gonzalez was saved in the 47th-minute. Penn State looked to get on the board for the first time in the match in the 62nd-minute when Brennan Ireland (Pittsburgh, Pa.) worked his way past two defenders inside the box, but his shot was right at the WVU keeper, allowing the Mountaineers to maintain their 2-0 lead over the PSU.
The Nittany Lions saw a second big opportunity in the 65th-minute of the match when Brian James (Sunrise, Fla.) was fouled just outside the 18-yard box and awarded a free kick. The senior midfielder launched the ball across the box to a diving Dani Marks (Ra'anana Israel), who just missed getting the header into the back of the net for the Blue and White.
Penn State continued to strike offensively in the 68th-minute when James made his way down the middle of the box, but the pass from Riley Grant (Copley, Ohio) was blocked before making its way to James.
PSU earned a second set piece in the 78th-minute of the match, but this time the ball got lost inside the 18-yard box and the Nittany Lions were unable to get a shot off the free kick opportunity.
With the Penn State field pulled up trying to net a goal in the closing minutes of the match, Joey Piatczyc made his way up the field to receive a pass from Heath Honold. Piatczyc used a few short touches before chipping the ball over Bersano to secure the 3-0 victory for the Mountaineers.
The Blue and White will continue life on the road Saturday, Oct. 18 when it heads to East Lansing, Mich. for a Big Ten Conference match against the Michigan State University Spartans. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. and will be featured on the Big Ten Network.