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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team showed a never give up attitude and flashes of excitement through a challenging and grueling 2016 campaign. "They never stopped themselves," said head coach Bob Warming. "They're super bright, super competitive and they kept on battling. If we keep doing that, I don't see a way we can be stopped." Warming wishes that the Nittany Lions would still be playing into the latter half of November, but that's not stopping him and his team from preparing for improvement next season. He's already hit the recruiting trail early and has met with Penn State's new director of sports performance in regards to improvement in the growing sports science areas of GPS and heart rate monitoring. "You can't spend a whole lot of time looking back but it's important to look back to see where you need to improve," said Warming. "You have to look within your current team and you have to look at what you're doing training and fitness wise and not repeat exactly what you've done and look at the trends in the sport to build your team to be more successful." Warming saw young players like quick-footed Dayonn Harris and All-Big Freshman selection Pierre Reedy make tremendous strides in their games, while the senior class played their last games as Penn State student-athletes. "The seniors are just the greatest bunch of guys," said Warming. "Mason Klerks came here a part of the Schreyer Honors College. He's a fantastic human being and helps other people all the time. Robby Sagel transferred in and is an incredible player. I wish we had him for another year. He's made so much progress in the last year and a half." When the Nittany Lions take the pitch next season, four-year starter, three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and prolific goal scorer Connor Maloney won't be dazzling opponents for the Blue and White, instead doing so in the professional ranks. "Connor Maloney is someone everyone has appreciated watching," said Warming. "This was a very, very, very special player. We'll miss him. Players make things special and his abilities were special and the other guys are just the greatest guys." Not only did Connor fill highlight reels with incredible goals and moves, he led the team passionately. He wore the captain armband with pride and honor. "All the guys had a great role model," said Warming. "He brought an energy and enthusiasm to the team that was noticeable when you walked out to training." Even with Connor's departure, there will be a Maloney on the team next year and that's Connor's younger brother, Austin. When looking back at the 2016 season, Warming reflected upon Austin's first collegiate goal on a game-winning double overtime penalty kick as one of the more memorable moments of the year. "It's a frozen moment in time because everybody is quiet," Warming said. "Everybody is watching. It takes forever it seems like and then there's a rush of emotion. All the guys going to pile on him." That moment was one of the many that Warming and is team will look back on fondly. The Nittany Lions finished 8-8-2 (4-4-0 Big Ten) in an exciting and up and down 2016 campaign. Along the way Warming recorded his 450th win, the team had memorable moments, and built an exciting foundation for the years ahead.