STATE COLLEGE, Penn. - The Stetson men's soccer team (0-1-0) fell to Penn State by a score of 3-0 in the season-opener on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions (1-0-0) scored one goal in the first half and two more in the second half to claim the victory.
Penn State took advantage of possession and tempo of the game early, recording 12 shots and earning eight corner kicks in the frame. The Nittany Lions scored their first goal of the game in the 10th minute. After an offsides call against Stetson, Penn State goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin sent a long ball down the field towards the Stetson goal. After a couple bounces, Daniel Burnham headed the ball into the goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Penn State had a chance to take a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute, but a beautiful save from Stetson junior goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl prevented the score. Schnabl finished with five saves in the defeat.
The second half was when Stetson started to build some momentum and get into their tempo. Senior Jonathan Mendoza gave the Hatters their first shot of the game in the 48th minute, barely missing a game-tying goal. The midfielder received a long pass, and had a chance to get to the goal, but a Penn State defender pulled him down during his attempt at net.
All the momentum Stetson had built was taken away in the 64th minute when Penn State's John Gallagher sent a cross into the box and found Julian Cardona for a header. The score gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead. Cardona added to the lead less than a minute later with an unassisted goal from 30 yards out.
"I felt we played some good soccer in spots, but it has to be more consistent if we want to beat a Big Ten team," Head Coach Logan Fleck said. "We were not in rhythm. They had the ball because we were not in position to control it. We got caught up in a north-south game, and that type of game benefits Penn State."
The 3-0 lead stood for the rest of the contest as Penn State handed Stetson a loss in the season-opener for both squads. The Nittany Lions outshot Stetson 19-2, and held the edge in corner kicks, 11-1. The Hatters are in back in action on Monday afternoon, as they will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the WVU Mountaineers at 1:00 p.m.