UMass’s season ends in a 4-1 loss against Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament

Nittany Lions get their first NCAA Tournament win since 2014

Mehroz+Kapadia%2FDaily+Collegian

Mehroz Kapadia/Daily Collegian

By Pablo Quiceno, Collegian Staff

Penn State fired away four goals against the Massachusetts men’s soccer team en route to its first NCAA Tournament win since 2014. What was a tougher game than it seemed, the Nittany Lions were able to pull away with an impressive showing on both sides of the ball, winning 4-1.

The first half was dominated by Penn State, outside of an even back and forth in the first 20 minutes of play. The first goal for the Nittany Lions came at the 9:40 mark off of Minutemen defender Shawn Allien who was trying to clear the ball and it ended up sending it into the right corner of the net.

Penn State’s second score came 20:51 into the first half. Freshman midfielder for the Nittany Lions Peter Mangione assisted Alex Stevenson who was able to get off a clean shot that snuck past two UMass defenders and goalkeeper Marvyn Dorchin finding the right corner of the goal.

The Nittany Lions first half dominance didn’t stop there as they were able to put together another impressive run and net a third score. With 14 minutes left in the first half Penn State came down the field with Mangione. He passed it to midfielder Seth Kuhn who was able to rocket it in from outside of the box into the top of the UMass net.

Heading into half time the Minutemen had been dominated by the Nittany Lions. UMass found itself with three shots but none on goal and three offside penalties. Penn State had five shots with two on goal and zero offsides. All of the Minutemen’s early momentum in the beginning of the game had been disrupted completely by the defense’s inability to clear the ball.

Penn State’s defense allowed the offense to shine on strong counter-attacks. First team All-Big Ten defender Brandon Hackenberg had a large part in the Nittany Lions defensive performance.  In the first half, Hackenberg was able to defend Hanya one on one, when it looked like Hanya was going to get past him, Hackenberg was able perfectly time a slide tackle that took the ball out of Hanya’s grasp clean.

UMass head coach Fran O’Leary had to make some adjustments at the half, and he did. He subbed in midfielder Ryan Levay, defender Eli Cronin, and Forward James McPherson. O’Leary also moved Hanya from the center of the field to the wing where he was able to maneuver freely during the second half of the match.

“In the first half we had difficulty getting him the ball,” O’Leary said of Hanya. “Penn St. squeezed the game well and in the second half we moved him out wide and he caused them an awful lot of problems.”

Seven minutes into the second half came the Minutemen’s first score of the game. The goal coming from Levay shot inside the penalty box that ricocheted off of Penn State defender Nicholas Rieple’s foot past the goalkeeper and into the left corner of the net.

With UMass being able to put together an impressive offensive performance and a goal on the board, it seemed as if the Minutemen were poised to make a comeback as they had done many times in past games this season.

UMass’ control of the ball would last about 20 minutes, but amounted to very little because of the Nittany Lions strong defense and goalkeeper Kris Shakes.

Penn State’s game-sealing fourth goal came at the 81:43 mark. Nittany Lions forward Liam Butts fired a shot that deflected off of the right goal post and landed in the center of the box where Tyger Evans was ready to get an easy tap into a wide-open goal since Dorchin had dove for Butts’ shot a couple seconds before.

The Minutemen put up 14 shots with seven on goal, one save and four offsides. On the other side of the field Penn State put up nine shots, four on goal, seven saves and one offsides.

O’Leary believed it was a strange feeling to put up 14 shots in comparison to the opponent’s nine and not come away with a win.

Pablo Quiceno can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @PabloSantiago00