Courtesy of West Virginia Athletic Communications
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Despite scoring the game’s opening goal, the West Virginia University men’s soccer team fell 2-1 to Penn State on Wednesday evening at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
The loss is the third straight for the Mountaineers and drops their record to 3-4-1. WVU held the advantage in shots (11-8) and shots on goal (5-4). Each team took four corner kicks.
“It’s a young team, the problem is that they’re not resilient yet,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “I think the character is probably something that needs to be developed. The problem is we’re not developing it from some of these losses. We’re making the same mistakes over and over again, and that’s the part that is hard to swallow.”
Tied 1-1 at halftime, Jordan Tyler scored the game-winning goal on a header for Penn State in the 71st minute. Mason Klerks was on the left side of the field and played a pass to the goal line for Kyle MacDonald, who sent a cross to a streaking Tyler for the 2-1 advantage.
In the 73rd minute sophomore Jamie Merriam nearly tied the match for the Mountaineers, but Penn State goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton stopped his point-blank shot. Wolverton made another nice stop in the 82nd minute when sophomore Zak Leedom tried to finesse a shot into the upper 90.
West Virginia’s Leedom took a game-high three shots, while Shane Campbell and Owen Griffith took two apiece for Penn State.
Senior Craig Stephens put the Mountaineers up 1-0 in the fifth minute as he ripped a bending shot to the far post that went past a screened Wolverton. Junior Andy Bevin brought the ball forward along the right side of the field and centered to sophomore Majed Osman, who one-touched to Stephens for his second goal of the season.
The lead did not last long as Campbell tied the match in the 12th minute on a similar shot as Stephens’. Connor Maloney played a short cross from the top of the 18-yard box that got behind the WVU defense and to the foot of Campbell who ricocheted the ball off the far post for the goal.
Bevin nearly regained the lead for WVU in the 28th minute when he ripped a shot that was punched away by Wolverton.
WVU freshman goalkeeper Brent Arnold made two saves in his debut. Wolverton finished with four for the Nittany Lions.
The Mountaineers open Mid-American Conference play against Akron on Sunday, September 29 at 7 p.m. The match has been designated as a Dollar Day, with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each. For a video and audio stream courtesy of Kroger, visit WVUsports.com. The game will also be a Gold Rush with all fans in attendance encouraged to wear gold.