Penn State Holds Stony Brook Scoreless with New-Look Lineup
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State picked up its first win in nearly a month with a 3-0 victory over the visiting Stony Brook Seawolves at Jeffrey Field on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions hadn’t scored more than one goal in a game since their September 16 home win over Ohio State, but the offense exploded right out of the gate, as the Nittany Lions put up two goals within the first 30 minutes of play, the first coming at the 50-second mark.
“Great night for us tonight on Jeffrey Field,” head coach Jeff Cook said. “For us to come out tonight and score three goals and keep a clean sheet, a shutout, is a great step forward.”
Before Tuesday’s game, the Nittany Lions had only scored seven goals all season. Penn State’s offensive explosion may have come as a result of a new starting lineup. Only two of the Nittany Lions’ regular starters were on the field for the opening kick-off, but Cook had a reason for this decision.
“The college soccer season is so intense and so compact with a high number of games in a short space of time,” Cook said. “We felt we needed to rotate the group, and I’m delighted that the guys went out and showed their capabilities.”
Cook’s decision paid off, as all three of the Nittany Lions’ points came from players making their first start. One such player was redshirt sophomore Daniel Gonzalez, who scored the first and third goals of the game. Gonzalez stands alone as the only player to score multiple goals in a game for the Nittany Lions this season.
“I haven’t played all season and I felt like I’ve trained so hard,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted a chance, so I got it, and I just took advantage of it.”
Another fresh face was junior goalkeeper Arie Ammann. Ammann had not played a minute of Penn State soccer since 2016, but he didn’t look rusty at all, as Ammann allowed zero goals and made one save.
“I’m happy to do something for this team other than just sit around in practice and make saves,” Ammann said. “It feels really good to be back out there. I got a nice applause from my teammates, and that’s all I really needed.”
Ammann’s stellar night couldn’t have been complete without the defense. The Nittany Lions have been solid on the defensive side of the ball all season long, but they shined especially on Tuesday night, as they allowed Stony Brook only one shot on goal. Ammann praised his teammates for their defensive dominance.
“All I have to do is communicate and organize my back line,” Ammann said. “There’s more to being a goalkeeper than just making saves, and they made my job easier.”
Cook also lauded his team’s defensive performance and gave a reason for their excellence thus far.
“I believe [there’s] determination and a real pride in keeping teams off the scoreboard,” Cook said. “We’ve got great leadership and also experience. [We have] guys that are really determined characters and are willing to do the hard work of defending. It’s not what you get a lot of accolades for… but I think our defense has been excellent.”
Cook also acknowledged his team’s plan to “build upon the foundation of what we’re doing,” but he gave no indication of whether he will roll with the lineup change, revisit the old lineup, or try something else new going forward.
With the win over Stony Brook, Penn State goes to 3-6-2 on the season. The Nittany Lions are also 1-2-2 in the Big Ten and will be back in action on Sunday when they host conference rival Wisconsin.
DJ Bauer is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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