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Nov. 23, 2010
By Kyle G. Arslanian, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team made an emphatic statement Sunday with a 4-1 victory over Old Dominion in second round action of the NCAA tournament. The Nittany Lions put the rest of the nation on notice with 4-1 thumping, once again showcasing their fearsome scoring ability.
"We are ranked and all, but I think teams were overlooking us," said Corey Hertzog. "Now the whole NCAA knows to watch out for Penn State."
Corey Hertzog had a monster day, even by his standards; he netted three goals for his second career hat trick and assisted on Jordan Tyler's goal. After this recent offensive outburst, Hertzog now leads the nation in goals with 20, and overall points with 46. Ever present in the offensive fireworks, Matheus Braga left his mark on the game in dazzling fashion, assisting on two of Hertzog's three goals with beautiful crosses. The two helpers pushed his record setting season total to 17, also good for a first place tie in the country. The Braga to Hertzog tandem is a prolific scoring machine that will be tough for any team to stop.
Old Dominion's goalkeeper, who is a standout player in his own right and ends his career as Old Dominion's all-time leader in saves and shutouts, recognizes how good a player Hertzog is.
"We remembered him (Corey Hertzog) him from last year. We knew he was a good player and we respected him," said Old Dominion goalkeeper Evan Newton. "He just got the best of us today."
Penn State will take its offensive firepower on the road in the third round of the NCAA tournament as they take on Maryland. The ACC Champion Terps are the tournaments number two over-all seed and have gone 18-2-1 so far this season; including a 4-0 victory over Pennsylvania Sunday.
This matchup with Maryland may have similar motivations for Penn State as they seek to avenge another key loss. Maryland ended The Nittany Lions season in 2009 on their home field, and Penn State would like to return the favor this year when they travel to College Park.
They have used the idea of avenging losses to their advantage so far this season, beating Indiana in The Big Ten Tournament after they defeated Penn State in the regular season. Penn State fell to Old Dominion last season, but got them back Sunday with their 4-1 victory. The Nittany Lions once again have their sight set on revenge.
"We owe them (Maryland) big time," said Matheus Braga. "So we are going to go after them."
After the victory, coach Warming made an interesting observation about the NCAA tournament this year. Of the five teams from The Big Ten, all of them have advanced to the third round of the tournament.
"That's just great for our conference," said coach Warming. "With the Big Ten winning, it shows that we belong here and that we can win a national title."
The Big Ten's success so far in the tournament is a level that is usually reserved for the ACC. This season shows that The Big Ten is one of, if not the best soccer conference in the country. If the Big Ten teams keep winning, it is a distinct possibility that 2010 could be an all Big Ten College Cup.