In a span of time that took 18 seconds off the game clock, the emotions for the Nittany Lions went from elation to heartbreak.
After scoring a dramatic game-tying goal with 1:21 left in the second half, Michigan quickly countered and scored with 1:03 to play, lifting the Wolverines to a 2-1 victory against No. 19 Penn State.
Following the Lions’ goal, Michigan pushed the ball toward at the Penn State defense. The Wolverines drew a foul, and were set up with a free kick.
The ball found its way into the box, where the Lions (5-3-2, 0-2-0 Big Ten) were unable to clear it, and Michigan found a way to slip it into the back of the net.
“We give up a foul there, with only one forward up high to set it up,” coach Bob Warming said. “And then just being a little naive … It really wasn’t a great mentality by the team there.”
Before allowing the second goal, the Lions had spent the previous 14 minutes trying to find an equalizing goal. In a game where Penn State recorded nine shots on goal, it seemed that the Lions could not catch a break.
However, with less than 90 seconds to play, Mackenzie Arment crossed a ball to the far post from the right side of the box, and 6-foot-5 Mark Fetrow jumped through a crowd to head the ball into the net.
The satisfaction did not last long, as Michigan quickly found an answer.
After being unable to answer in the final minute, senior defender Matt Smallwood said the team lost focus after tying the game.
“We had a mental lapse,” he said. “At the end, you’ve got to be determined to get the ball there. Something happened and we just didn’t clear the ball. It’s shameful.”
Despite the loss, the Lions were unable to overcome another game featuring heavy rain and break out of a long scoreless drought.
The goal was the first for the Lions since their win against St. Francis more than two weeks ago.
Despite the goal, Penn State could not hold onto the lead and force overtime, and the players said they need to convert more chances.
“One’s not good enough,” Fetrow said. “We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep scoring.”
The Lions controlled most aspects of the game, outshooting Michigan 16-6 and gaining more corner kicks, 6-1.
The Lions were unable to convert on several opportunities, including a play in the first half when the Lions had three shots combine to hit the crossbar, the Michigan goalie and the post in a matter of seconds.
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