The Michigan men’s soccer team traveled to Happy Valley on Wednesday to take on Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. This was the first match between the two teams, as the only regular season game between them was canceled.
The 2nd-seeded Nittany Lions (8-1-1 Big Ten) came out on top with a 4-1 victory over the 3rd-seeded Wolverines (6-4-1) for their first win against Michigan since 2014. The goal scorers for Penn State were junior forward Danny Bloyou, freshman forward Peter Mangione, senior midfielder Pierre Reedy and sophomore forward Liam Butts.
The Nittany Lions wasted no time getting on the board as Bloyou scored just seven minutes into the game. Reedy sent a long pass toward the box to Penn State defenseman Alex Stevenson, who found Bloyou for the one-timer finish.
The Nittany Lions threatened to run away with things in the 17th minute as a questionable no-call on an offsides led to a penalty in the box. Mangione capitalized on the penalty shot with a strike into the upper left corner to give Penn State a 2-0 lead.
“The goal was blatantly offside,” Michigan coach Chaka Daley said. “Goals change games and goals change seasons in this particular instance.”
The Wolverines, though, worked themselves right back into the game with a great pass from senior midfielder Marc Ybarra off a corner kick. The pass arced toward the back post and deflected off senior midfielder Austin Swiech right to senior defenseman Jackson Ragen, who squeezed it past the Penn State goalkeeper to make it 2-1.
Penn State was able to pull away for the win in the second half behind a balance of attack and defense. The Nittany Lions posted nine shots in the half compared to four for the Wolverines.
Reedy made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute to put Penn State in a good position to win. Mangione sent a long pass into the box that Reedy jumped on to give the Nittany Lions a two-goal advantage.
Michigan threatened at times in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net, including when junior forward Derick Broche launched a good header opportunity wide off a free kick.
Penn State officially put things out of reach with a late goal off a rebound by Butts, putting the Nittany Lions up 4-1 — the eventual final score.
“I absolutely believe that we’re one of the top-36 teams in the country,” Daley said. “That’s not wavered because we lost in the semifinals to a good Penn State team.”
After Wednesday’s loss, that’s now up to the NCAA Tournament selection committee to decide.