Opening a slate of seven spring exhibition games, an explosive second half was enough for Penn State to beat visiting Wright State, 3-1, in Holuba Hall on Sunday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions dug themselves a small hole against the Raiders in the first half, and trailed 1-0 at halftime.
“In the first half, we did a lot of good things, but we did things we probably shouldn’t have done,” freshman defender Shane Campbell said.
Following the first 45 minutes, junior forward Mikey Minutillo and redshirt freshman defender Randy Falk began the second half with two quick goals.
Minutillo scored on the end of a through pass from senior forward Julian Cardona with 41 minutes left to play in the game. Three minutes later, Falk helped the Lions take the lead after battling a defender to maintain possession before rocketing a shot past the goalkeeper.
“It was great for me,” Falk said. “I’ve had a pretty tough year with the injuries and it just feels awesome to come back and score in my first game.”
Last season, Falk was sidelined with a concussion. In the winter, he was diagnosed with pink eye and had a shoulder injury quickly after.
“He had all kinds of physical problems, and just a couple weeks ago just started getting healthy,” Penn State coach Bob Warming said. “The whole team was so excited for him when he got a goal.”
With 10 minutes left in the match, senior forward Daniel Burnham sealed the game with the team’s third goal, leading to a 3-1 victory.
Sunday’s contest was the first of seven exhibition games for the Lions this spring as they try to get back to their winning ways of last season’s Big Ten title. The team will enter this exhibition season and regular season without several veterans from last year’s successful squad.
With the young but inexperienced talent, the exhibition games are crucial for the Lions’ upcoming season.
“We’re trying to build a good team chemistry,” Campbell said.
The rest of Penn State’s spring matches will all be played at home until mid-April. Warming stated that the selection of teams for this year’s exhibition season is important because the he wanted to play a variety of unfamiliar squads.
“We want to play some different teams,” Warming said. “I love the schedule.”