October 24, 2007

Men's Soccer Rallies, Then Falls in OT

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With less than two minutes remaining in the second and final sudden death overtime period, Penn St. freshman Drew Cost’s left-footed shot ended the game. Despite a tough battle late into the night, the Nittany Lions’ goal moved the final score to 2-1.
After this game, the Red’s record fell to 5-6-1 (0-2-1 Ivy) and the Nittany Lions improved to 5-7-3 overall. Though this game does not affect either team’s conference record, it will affect the likelihood of receiving tournament bids.
The Red got onto the scoreboard 20 minutes into the second half when junior Dan McKallagat crossed the ball over to senior Kevin Vieira who took a shot from 15 yards out. The ball deflected off of a Penn State defender, over the top of the keeper’s head, and into the net. With this goal, Vieira recorded his first points so far this season.
“I was playing right midfield and Dan was playing left back,” Vieira said. “He sent the ball to me over a defender to the edge of the six-[yard box] and I just trapped it and took a shot. The shot went off of one of the defender’s feet, deflected toward the goal, and it went over their goalie.”
The Red could not net a goal the rest of the night, but it wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. Junior Dana Flanders, among others, had a couple of chances that came close but did not find the back of the net.
The Nittany Lions tallied their first score in the first half after only eight minutes of play as Penn St. sophomore Jacobo Vera recorded his fourth goal of the season. This goal went unanswered until 20 minutes into the second half.
“They scored early which was disappointing, but we managed to get the ball moving and start to play,” McKallagat said. “Once we pulled it together, the teams were pretty evenly matched and both sides had a few good goal-scoring chances throughout the game.”
Despite the apparently close nature of the game, the two teams’ statistics represent a significant disparity. The Nittany Lions recorded 25 shots, 12 of which were on goal, whereas the Red tallied eight shots — three on goal. In the second half, however, the shots were more evenly distributed, with seven by Penn St. and five by Cornell.
“I think that they probably outplayed us in the first half, but we definitely came together and had control in the second half,” Vieira said. “We have had a rough couple of games and the first half was reflective of that. In the second half, though, we played a lot better.”
“Our lineup was slightly different in the second half, and a few of the guys who didn’t have as much experience really played well,” McKallagat said. “Everyone put in solid individual performances.”
Though the players are upset with the loss, they did not hang their heads and were ready to look on the bright side.
“Although we didn’t win, what’s important now is that we refocus on the remainder of the season, starting with Princeton,” McKallagat said.
“We’re disappointed with the outcome of the game, but we did come together in the second half and continued to play well for the duration of the game,” Vieira said. “Unfortunately it seemed that the ball just went against the run of the game.”