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Oct. 26, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -Penn State men's soccer plays its home finale at 1 p.m. Sunday against Ohio State at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions (9-4-2, 3-1-1 B1G), who sit in first place in the Big Ten, will celebrate the careers of their 10 seniors following the clash with the Buckeyes (6-9-1, 0-4-0 B1G).
ON THE HORIZON
The Lions wrap up the 2012 regular season with an Oct. 31 showdown with Penn in Philadelphia before heading back to Evanston, Ill., for the Big Ten tournament Nov. 7-11.
Ten seniors will play their final game at Jeffrey Field Sunday. Each player has made a significant impact on the pitch for the Nittany Lions this season, combining to play 8,013 minutes and total 39 points on 13 goals and 13 assists.
The contributions span the length of the field as there are seniors at each position, including three forwards (Julian Cardona, Marvin Ledgister, Hasani Sinclair), four in the midfield (Jacob Barron, Daniel Burnham, Daniel Parr, Minh Vu), two on the back line (Brian Forgue, John Gallagher) and goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin.
A LOOK AT THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State has endured a difficult Big Ten season, dropping its first four conference matches after finishing the 2011 regular season second in the standings. Seniors Austin McAnena and Chris Hegngi lead the Scarlet and Gray in offensive production this autumn. McAnena has tallied a team-leading four goals and three assists to total 11 points, while Hengngi adds seven points off a pair of goals and another three assists.
The Buckeyes have split time in the goal with a pair of keepers. Alex Wimmer has logged 810 minutes and owns a 1.56 GAA with 44 saves, while Alex Ivanov brings a 1.73 GAA and 38 saves in 676 minutes to University Park.
Head coach John Bluem leads the Buckeyes in battle in his 16th season with the program. Bluem is assisted by associate head coach Frank Speth and assistant coach Taly Goode.
A HISTORY OF THE SERIES
The Nittany Lions hold the advantage in the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 16-11-2. Last season the teams split their two meetings as Ohio State captured a 1-0 victory in overtime in the regular season before Penn State upset the second-seeded Scarlet and Gray, 2-0, in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. In his first season at Penn State in 2010, head coach Bob Warming led the Lions to a 2-1 win at Jeffrey Field. Penn State has not lost to Ohio State at home since a 2-1 loss in 2006.
LAST TIME OUT
Penn State kept its Big Ten championship hopes alive Oct. 21 with a 1-0 victory in double overtime against Northwestern in Evanston. The Nittany Lions fought off the Wildcats' 15-8 shot advantage, including 5-2 shots on goal, to capture the win.
The loss marked the first in Big Ten play for Northwestern since Nov. 11, 2010, when Penn State tallied a 3-1 win in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. With the win, Penn State finishes the 2012 season undefeated on the road in Big Ten action with a 2-0-1 record, the first time it has done so since finishing 6-0-0 in the conference in 2005.
After 103 minutes of scoreless play, Hasani Sinclair took control of a bouncing ball from a rebound off Daniel Parr's shot just yards from the Northwestern goal and blasted a shot off his left foot and behind NU keeper Tyler Miller to clinch the victory for the Nittany Lions with his first goal of the season.
STATE OF THE UNION
Entering the final weekend of Big Ten play, Penn State sits atop the standings with 10 points, one ahead of Northwestern and Indiana. The Wildcats and the Hoosiers have two games remaining in conference play, however, including a Nov. 2 matchup in Bloomington, Ind.
Northwestern (10-4-2, 3-1-0 B1G) visits Madison, Wis., for a showdown with Wisconsin (6-7-3, 1-3-0 B1G) at 1 p.m. Sunday, while Indiana (11-3-2, 3-1-0 B1G) faces Michigan State (7-7-1, 2-2-0 B1G) at the same time in East Lansing, Mich. If both the Wildcats and Hoosiers lose, the Nittany Lions would be declared Big Ten champions, while a tie by both teams would result in at least a share of the conference crown for the Blue and White. For a breakdown of possible scenarios, click here.
Michigan hosts Valparaiso Saturday in an out-of-conference contest.
Penn State has allowed just 11 goals this season and trails only Indiana (10) in the Big Ten in that category. The Nittany Lions are also second behind the Hoosiers with seven shutouts. The Lions have posted strong offensive numbers as well, landing in fourth in assists per game (1.27) and fifth in points per game (3.80). The team leads the conference with 15.33 shots per game.
Senior Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.) has been a force on the attack this season, tallying 12 points on five goals and two assists. Those numbers have the Nebraska native sitting in fourth in points and third in goals in the Big Ten. Classmate Minh Vu (Tuscon, Ariz.) leads the team and is tied for eighth in the Big Ten in assists (3), while John Gallagher (Pine Bush, N.Y.), Hasani Sinclair (Coral Gables, Fla.), Daniel Burnham (Boise, Idaho) and Drew Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.) have added a pair of helpers. Burnham's trio of goals this season has him tied for eighth in the conference. Multiple Nittany Lions have contributed to the offensive success as 15 players have recorded a point, including 10 with goals.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions have allowed just 44 shots on goal, fewest in the Big Ten. Sophomore Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.) has allowed just three goals in more than 500 minutes of play (0.51 GAA), recording 19 saves in seven starts. Wolverton ranks second in the Big Ten in save percentage (.826). Senior Emmanuel Martin (Cormontreuil, France) has taken 698 minutes in goal on the way to a 0.90 GAA.
THE RISE OF AN ARMY
Penn State ranks second in the Big Ten in attendance this season, averaging over 1,500 fans per game at Jeffrey Field. The support has helped the Nittany Lions achieve a 7-2-1 record at home.
The seven Big Ten teams have combined for nearly 70,000 fans at 61 home games this season.
Penn State has enjoyed consistency on its back line this autumn, as seniors Brian Forgue (Glenmoore, Pa.) and John Gallagher, junior Martin Seiler (Stuttgart, Germany) and freshman Shane Campbell (York, Pa.) have played a total of 4,513 of a possible 5,672 minutes. Forgue leads the way after directing the defense for 1,356 minutes from the center back position.
ODDS AND ENDS
The Lions are:
7-2-1 at Jeffrey Field
8-2-1 when leading in shots
4-0-0 when the team posts 20 or more shots
7-2-1 when allowing 10 or fewer shots
6-0-0 when allowing two or fewer shots on goal
5-0-0 when scoring two or more goals
3-1-1 when scoring one goal
4-1-0 when attendance numbers top 1,000
1-1-2 when the game reaches overtime
7-1-1 when leading in corner kicks
3-0-0 this season when Julian Cardona finds the back of the net and 5-1-0 when he registers two or more shots
7-1-1 when Daniel Burnham records two or more shots
Head coach Bob Warming has not hesitated to infuse his team with youth this season as seven freshmen have logged minutes on the field. Rookie Shane Campbell has started nine games on the back line this season, while classmates Drew Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.) and Kelton Cheney (State College, Pa.) received their first starts against Adelphi Sept. 16 and Lehigh Sept. 25, respectively.
Cheney and redshirt-freshman Kyle MacDonald (Yardley, Pa.) recorded their first collegiate points on the same play in the 3-0 win over Adelphi. MacDonald notched an assist on Cheney's scoring strike in the second half. First-year goalkeeper Danny Sheerin (College Park, Md.) made his first appearance against the Panthers, guarding the net for the final nine minutes of the shutout. Klingenberg opened his collegiate account with an assist on Cheney's gamewinner against Wisconsin Sept. 21.
ALL YOU NEED IS ONE
Four of the Nittany Lions' nine victories have come in 1-0 fashion this season, including the team's Big Ten victories against Wisconsin Sept. 21 and Northwestern Oct. 21. Penn State also knocked off Albany and Duquesne by a 1-0 margin.
Seven of the nine Penn State wins have been decided by one-goal differentials.
The phenomenal scoreless streak by the Penn State defense came to an end in the final minute of the contest against Lehigh Sept. 25 after climbing to 505:56 minutes of on-field time, the longest streak of such in the Big Ten this season. Starting with a goal in the 54th minute of the contest against Georgetown Sept. 2, the Nittany Lions allowed just 12 shots on goal while pitching shutouts in four-consecutive matches, including a 110-minute marathon against West Virginia Sept. 6. The team finished 3-0-1 in that span, outscoring opponents, 5-0, before facing the Mountain Hawks.
Senior Brian Forgue anchored the defense every minute of the run, while classmate John Gallagher was off the field just over a minute. Freshman Shane Campbell and junior Martin Seiler helped suffocate opponents' attacks the majority of the duration on the back line alongside Forgue and Gallagher. Three keepers, Emmanuel Martin, Andrew Wolverton and Danny Sheerin, spent time in goal for Penn State, combining to stop the 12 shots.
Penn State players have collected multiple individual accolades this season, including a pair of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards.
For his game-winning goal in the second overtime period against Northwestern Oct. 21, Hasani Sinclair was named Player of the Week by Philly Soccer News.
Owen Griffith, a sophomore defender, was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Sept. 10 after helping the Nittany Lions shut out West Virginia in a scoreless draw Sept. 6. Senior defender Brian Forgue picked up the first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors of the season Aug. 27 following a 3-0 victory over Stetson in the campaign-opener. Classmate Julian Cardona garnered a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week the same day after his two-goal performance against the Hatters.
Numerous players have also landed on all-tournament teams after the WVU Nike Classic, co-hosted by West Virginia and Penn State, and the Class of `98 Invitational, co-hosted with Bucknell, in which the Nittany Lions finished a combined 4-0-0.
The men's soccer program has its own Twitter account for the first season this year! Be sure to follow @PennStateMSOC, along with all of the Penn State athletics accounts, to get the most up-to-date and behind the scenes information. Join the Nittany Lions fans on Facebook as well, at Facebook.com/PennStateMensSoccer.