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Penn State men's soccers tops Michigan in Sunday afternoon battle

Men's Soccer vs. Villanova, Hackenberg (3)

Defender Brandon Hackenberg (3) addresses the referees during the Penn State men's soccer game against Villanova at Jeffrey Field on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Penn State beat Villanova 4-0.

Penn State was able to beat Michigan Sunday afternoon as an own-goal put the match out of reach for Michigan.

The blue and white came into its fourth Big Ten match of the year looking for its third straight win as Michigan came to Jeffrey Field and it got it against Michigan 2-1.

Halfway through the first half, the maize and blue finally were able to get its first shot on goal, however, keeper Kris Shakes kept his two-straight shutout games streak going, stopping the Michigan attack.

The Big Ten rivals looked more as if they were a part of a track meet by the number of times they ran from one end to the other not putting up many shots on goal.

The whistle for halftime came but the cheers or boos for any goal score from either team were yet to be heard from as Michigan and Penn State head into the half tied 0-0.

An early shot attempt in the second half sparked some life into Penn State as not even two minutes after, Danny Bloyou hit Andrew Privett just outside the 18-yard box who sent a rocket that the keeper had no chance of saving.

A foul by Tyger Evans gave the maize and blue a penalty kick that Marc Ybarra was able to slot in the right corner of the net tying the game at one.

Michigan continued its aggressive play, receiving a red card that Penn State immediately took advantage of, coming right down the field and putting one in the back of the net with the help of a Michigan defender, giving Penn State a 2-1 lead off of an own-goal.

A late burst of energy from Michigan with a man down almost tied the game, as a shot was headed to the back of the net as Penn State defender Hackenberg flew into the net and deflected the ball out of bounds

Here are three takeaways as Penn State hung on and took the 2-1 victory.

Slow start

Coming into its game against Michigan, Penn State was on a two-game win streak, giving fans the premise that the offense must have finally found its groove.

Although that is not entirely false, the blue and white still struggled to put the ball in the back of the net early in the game.

Michigan’s strong defense was able to hold Penn State scoreless, and kept it to only two shots on goal for the first 45 minutes of play.

Last match, Penn State was able to slide a quick shot past the Rutgers’ goalkeeper just seven minutes before halftime.

Before that, against Michigan State, Penn State did not just fail to score in the first half, but it almost failed to score in the entire 90-minute match, putting one past the keeper with just three minutes to spare

Foul happy

Against a Big Ten rival like Michigan, and being a little halfway through the season, it makes sense that the two squads were trying to get at each other in any way that they could.

In Sunday's match, Penn State and Michigan decided to show that angst toward the other program in the form of fouls.

The blue and white led the way, having 11 fouls in the first 45 minutes as Michigan came in with six.

Eleven fouls might not seem like a lot until one sees that Penn State only had 11 throughout the entire match against Michigan.

Against Rutgers, Penn State had 13 total fouls, as well as four yellow cards, with one card being given to Penn State’s head coach Cook.

Mental mistake almost costs Penn State

Penn State came to play physically, as shown by the number of fouls it caused in the first half, but a major mental mistake is what kept this match close.

Evans held onto the ball too long looking for a pass, allowing a Michigan attacker to steal the ball and get one-on-one with the Shakes.

Evans was able to get back to try and stop the track but he doubled down on his mistake fouling the defender in the box leading to a penalty kick, which Michigan capitalized on and tied the match at one.

Fortunately for Evans, Penn State was able to rebound, score another goal and take a 2-1 win.

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