It was a day of extending streaks for Penn State.
The blue and white defeated Wisconsin, 1-0, following a late goal on a penalty kick from redshirt senior Pierre Reedy.
Reedy would take another penalty kick in the final minutes with a chance to tally his first ever two-goal game as a Nittany Lion. However, it was not meant to be as his shot was saved by Wisconsin goalkeeper Carter Abbott.
“Obviously, I wanted to convert it but we got three points and it is what it is. I guess I'm just saving it for Wednesday,” Reedy said. “That's what I keep telling myself.”
The win extended Penn State’s winning streak to four, which is second in the Big Ten behind first-place Indiana, who has won five straight.
“I think what is really helping us win these games is the depth within our squad. You can see we sub out a lot and the level of play doesn't go down,” Reedy said. “Anyone who's getting subbed in is keeping a really high level and that's what we need when we're playing every fourth day.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Kris Shakes and the defense also extended their shutout streak, as the team has tallied three consecutive clean sheets.
“I think it starts with our two center backs, Riep[le] and Hack[enberg]. Those two are a little older and are experienced guys and they're great leaders back there,” Reedy said. “They're helping the young guys beside them and I think all four of them and everyone who steps up to play in those positions have been great for us.”
Penn State head coach Jeff Cook complimented Shakes on his performance and his ability to lead the team and defense from the goal.
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“He fills the goal, he's athletic, he's quick and he’s a good person to lead from the back.” Cook said.
To begin this win streak, the Nittany Lions defeated Rutgers by a score of 4-2, and have since gone on to win three straight all by a score of 1-0.
Although the team has continued winning, Penn State has not matched its offensive output from earlier in the season. This did not come as a surprise to Cook.
“It's something I expected actually. I don't mean to take the pressure off our guys who play in the attacking positions because we have a lot of ways we can score,” Cook said. “I think that's the reality of playoff soccer and this is a very unique spring season with only conference games. So, in my opinion, every game has more of that do-or-die postseason feel because of the limited number of games we're playing.”
Even though the team hasn't been scoring the way he would hope, Cook isn’t worried about his squad's ability to find the back of the net.
“I still believe in us. I still think we have the quality of the group and the depth to produce a multiple goal performance, and we're gonna keep working toward that,” Cook said.
Cook continues to drive the value of the team as a whole into his squad, stating that this win is not because of any individual player or coach, but because of the team in its entirety.
“I said to the guys after the game, this is a win for Penn State soccer. It's not a win for a guy who played the whole game or it's not Pierre’s game. It’s a win for Penn State men’s soccer,” Cook said. “I think if we can continue with that value set will be a formidable opponent down the stretch.”
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