Blue White Illustrated

December 2021

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 49 of 67

5 0 D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 1 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M T he Penn State men's soccer team had never enjoyed much luck against Indiana over the years. Prior to the 2021 fall season, the Nittany Lions had won only 14 of their 53 games versus the Hoosiers, and they were not alone in their struggles. Nobody in the Big Ten had enjoyed much luck. Winner of eight national championships, Indiana has been the league's flagship program for decades. Penn State coach Jeff Cook could sense the weight of all that history pressing down on his players as the Big Ten Tour- nament championship game got under- way Nov. 14 at Jeffrey Field. "The opening 20-25 minutes, I felt, we were somewhat tentative and not as aggressive as we've been," Cook said. "But that's playing with that pressure. I thought that in the last part of the first half, we were excellent." Were they ever. In the 36th minute, se- nior midfielder Seth Kuhn collected a pass from senior forward Danny Bloyou and fired a shot that ricocheted off the leg of an Indiana player and rolled past Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Roman Celentano. With Kuhn's score, Penn State started making some history of its own. The 24th-ranked Nittany Lions got second- half goals from sophomore defender Tyger Evans and senior midfielder Pierre Reedy, and Penn State shut out the 17th-ranked Hoosiers, 3-0, to claim the Big Ten Tournament title. It was Penn State's first Big Ten tourney championship since 2005 and the first time in the program's history that it won both the regular-season and tourna- ment crowns. As soon as the game was over, many of the 1,689 fans in attendance came pouring out of the stands to celebrate with the team. "What a special day for our program at Penn State," Cook said. "We're so proud to represent this university and all of our athletic programs. It's a great moment. I'd like to recognize our stu- dent-athletes and their mentality in the last few weeks of the season. Their determination, their [ability] to achieve what we need, is just remarkable. It's a testament to what they've done collec- tively throughout the season." Penn State had won the regular-sea- son title with a 6-2 mark in league play, and the Lions performed like a top seed throughout the tournament, shutting out Michigan State and Michigan by identical 2-0 scores to reach the cham- pionship game. In building a 13-6-1 overall record, the Lions received a number of out- standing individual efforts throughout the season. Sophomore midfielder Peter Mangione claimed Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and joined se- nior defender Brandon Hackenberg on the first-team all-conference squad. In addition, Kuhn was named the tour- nament's most outstanding offensive player, while junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes received the defensive honor. Cook was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. The victory over the Hoosiers was es- pecially sweet given the recent history between the two teams. Indiana had edged Penn State on penalty kicks in last season's Big Ten championship game, and in the regular-season rematch this past October, the visiting Hoosiers Penn State's Big Ten Tournament championship was the program's first since 2005. PHOTO COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETICS OLYMPIC SPORTS HISTORY IN THE MAKING Penn State shuts out its most vexing rival to win the Big Ten men's soccer tourney M A T T H E R B | M A T T @ B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M

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