Coming off a last minute win against Bucknell on Wednesday night, Penn State (9-4-2, 3-1-1 Big Ten) fought hard against Northwestern on Sunday afternoon, upsetting the Wildcats (10-3-2, 3-1-0 Big Ten), 1-0, in double overtime.
It was a back-and-forth game for both teams, but in double overtime with the clock winding down, Nittany Lions’ attacker Hasani Sinclair found a chance in the box off a rebounded shot from midfielder Daniel Parr, sending the ball past Wildcats’ goalie Tyler Miller to give the Lions the win.
Parr, who played 51 minutes off the bench, was able to keep possession for the Lions and fuel their attacks.
“It was rewarding to see Daniel Parr get the winning assist and get Hasani one-on-one with the goal keeper,” coach Bob Warming said.
Warming was forced to get creative with his lineup as the team had six players out with injuries, including defenders Eli Dennis and Martin Seiler. Warming focused on stacking the midfield to shut down the Wildcats’ attack, only playing three defenders while playing five in the midfield.
Warming said that the lack of depth for the team did not shake the Lions though as they drew inspiration from what the Penn State football team has done.
“Whoever is out there on the field figures out how to get it done,” Warming said. “I give part of the credit to coach [Bill] O’Brien and the football team for the amazing story that they’ve given us.”
Despite having only three defenders in the back, the Lions frustrated a Northwestern offense that came into the game second in the Big Ten in goals and having only been shut out twice on the year.
The game started slow and chippy as neither team registered a shot until the 11th minute, with both sides focused on physical play, registered a combined seven fouls in the first 10 minutes.
The Lions’ defense was tested in the first half as the Wildcats slowly took over, testing goalie Andrew Wolverton in both the 11th and 12th minutes. Dangerous corners also put pressure on the Lions’ defense.
While the Lions’ defense bent, it did not break, getting outshot 7-2 in the first half with Wolverton making four saves.
Northwestern had multiple chances to win the game and put the Lions away, starting with a chance in the 88th minute. Defender Brian Forgue cleared a ball and stopped it from going into an empty net to preserve the game and keep it tied at zero.
Penn State controlled the first overtime, registering two shots and denying Northwestern a chance to get the shot away. Once the second overtime hit, the Wildcats looked for the winner, getting away a close shot that just missed.
In the 104th minute, a shot rebounded to Sinclair, who was able to net the winner. The victory gave Penn State its third straight win, clinching an undefeated Big Ten road schedule for the Lions, the first time they have accomplished the feat since 2005.
“All credit to the players and getting the belief that we can go on the road and win this league,” Warming said.
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