Penn State steamrolled UMass in its first match of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the third round, tallying a 4-1 victory Sunday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions jumped out to an early one-goal lead in the 10th minute on an own goal by the Minutemen.
Pierre Reedy sent in the cross that led to the UMass miscue.
After the Nittany Lions’ goal, the two teams went back and forth battling for possession, trying to control the ball on their half of the pitch.
UMass was presented with a scoring opportunity in the 20th minute but was unable to convert, leading to a counter attack from the blue and white that resulted in a goal for Alex Stevenson, increasing the Penn State lead to two.
Peter Mangione was given the assist, his fourth on the season that also tied him for the team lead with Seth Kuhn.
About 10 minutes later, the Nittany Lions would tack on another following a perfectly placed shot by Seth Kuhn to the upper left corner of the goal, making it 3-0 in favor of the blue and white. Mangione recorded his second assist of the night when setting up Kuhn.
UMass applied pressure to begin the second half while attempting to climb back into the match. The Minutemen would go on to cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to two after Penn State returned the favor, recording an own goal to allow UMass to creep back into the game.
The goal injected some life into the Minutemen, as they continued to push the pace and keep both Kris Shakes and the Nittany Lions’ defense busy.
Penn State would begin to push back defensively later in the second frame, as it controlled the ball more and limited UMass’ opportunities.
The Nittany Lions faced a scary moment late in the second half, as Shakes was fouled after making a save on a corner and was slow to get up.
Shakes would remain in the game and be a key part of the Nittany Lions’ victory. He made six saves in the game, all coming in the second frame.
Tyger Evans would seal the deal for Penn State, extending the blue and white’s lead back to three after Liam Butts’ shot bounced off the post. Mangione was again given the assist.
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All-around team performance
Penn State coach Jeff Cook had preached all year that the depth of his team was its best asset.
This was certainly the case in the Nittany Lions’ second round victory, as they found contributions from nearly every player who entered the game.
From the 11 starters to the substitutes, it seemed as if the level of play for Penn State remained the same no matter who was on the field.
Both offensively and defensively, the blue and white remained focused and determined for almost the entirety of the 90-minute match.
Penn State takes advantage of UMass’ mistakes
The Nittany Lions didn’t score their first goal of the game off their own foot, but that didn't stop them from using it as momentum.
Soon after the UMass own goal, Penn State would find the back of the net without additional help from the Minutemen.
The blue and white would later extend the lead to three before giving up a goal in the early part of the second half. From there on, Penn State did not look back.
Against a team as solid and disciplined defensively as UMass, the Nittany Lions were hardly intimidated and were certainly up to the challenge.
Mangione continues fantastic freshman season
The Nittany Lions’ freshmen have had a strong season for the blue and white, tallying five goals and six assists.
Three of those assists came in Sunday afternoon’s victory over UMass.
Throughout the season, Mangione has been praised by his coaches and teammates for his ability to show up when it mattered most.
The freshman did just that on the biggest stage for the Nittany Lions, contributing to three of the four Nittany Lion goals in their second round victory.
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