Oct. 14, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - A frustrating day for the Spartans in several aspects led to a 2-1 loss against Penn State on the road on Sunday afternoon. The game-winner for the Nittany Lions was a Spartan own goal, and despite a late push, MSU could not gain an equalizer as its three-game unbeaten streak was snapped. Adam Montague had the lone score, while freshman keeper Zach Bennett made three saves in his third straight start.
"I thought that Penn State came out strong today, and we didn't really deal well with the pressure they put on us in the first 25 minutes or so,and they earned the early goal," said head coach Damon Rensing after the match. I thought we picked it up at the end of the first half, and were unlucky not to have a goal."
"The own goal early in the second half put us down 2-0, but I liked how the team responded shortly after with a nice goal," he continued. "We really put the pressure on Penn State, but just couldn't get the second goal to tie it up. There are some things we can learn from the game and some positives we can take from it as well. "
Penn State held a 1-0 lead 20 minutes into the game, as Daniel Burnham was able to put back a rebound of a Julian Cardona shot for his third goal of the season. That was the lead that the home team took into the intermission.
Coming out of the break, the Nittany Lions had pressure deep in the final third, forcing a corner kick in the 43rd minute. John Gallagher lined up and took the corner from the right side for Penn State, and he launched it into the far side of the penalty area. Unfortunately, a header attempt by the Spartan defense went awry, and the ball was headed into the back of the net for an own goal.
The Spartans battled back with a score from Montague that found its mark at 54:30. Luke Norman carried the ball from the midfield line and sent a fantastic through ball up to Montague at the cusp of the attacking third. Montague powered into the box and launched a right-footed blast from 15 yards out.
Despite attempting to up the offensive pressure, MSU could not find an equalizing tally over the remainder of the game. Overall on the afternoon, MSU was outshot 11-8 by their hosts, and struggled to get shots on net, recording just two compared to five for the Nittany Lions. The Spartans were whistled for being offsides six times, compared to just one for Penn State; however, three yellow cards were issued to the home team.
MSU will play midweek at Oakland (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) before hosting Wisconsin next Sunday to return to Big Ten play. That game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.