MSOC: Sagel’s Double Overtime Winner Lifts Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Robby Sagel could not have picked a better time to score his first goal of the season for Penn State.
The senior defender scored his second career goal in double overtime to give the Nittany Lions (6-6-1, 3-3 B1G) a 1-0 win over the No. 19 Michigan State Spartans (9-3-1, 3-2-1 B1G). More than 2,000 fans filled Jeffrey Field Saturday night and saw a very strong defensive performance by each team.
“It’s terrific and it’s what we have to do to move forward,” head coach Bob Warming said. “We’ve given up way too many goals. We’ve given up 16 goals; that's how many goals you give up in a year at the most. I give a lot of credit to Robby and a lot of credit to Mitchel Bringolf. Mitchel was a top-class centerback tonight, top class.”
The Nittany Lions were awarded a free-kick in the 104th minute roughly 20 yards inside Spartan territory. Riley Grant took the kick and sent placed the ball well inside the 18-yard box. Sagel climbed high in the air and was able to find the ball with his head and re-direct it into the back of the net.
“It could have been anybody,” Sagel said. “I really could care less that it was me, I’m just glad it happened, it’s unreal.”
The game nearly ended in the first overtime session when Penn State was awarded a penalty kick with just over a minute left before the break. Dayonn Harris sped around Spartan defender Jimmy Fiscus into the 18-yard box, but Fiscus slid and took out the legs of Harris in a desperation move. Harris remained on the ground, visibly in pain, and was eventually escorted off the field by trainers.
Senior Connor Maloney stepped up to the penalty spot to take the kick, his third penalty attempt of the season. He drilled a shot to the top left corner of the frame, but was thwarted by goalkeeper Jimmy Hague, who dove to make his second save of the night. For Maloney, it was his third failed conversion from the spot this season.
“Every guy that takes a PK misses a PK,” Maloney said. “So you know what, I’m going to keep taking them and I’m going to get a little bit better at them, but Robby saved the day today. For him to get a goal like this against Michigan State is just huge as we make our run to the end of the year.”
The first half passed with very few opportunities for either side as the teams took three shots a piece. Penn State goalkeeper Evan Finney made one save in the half and finished the night with two to earn his third clean-sheet of the season.
There was more back-and-forth action in the second half as the teams pressed to find a goal, but were only able to register one shot on goal respectively. Dayonn Harris had the best chance in regulation when he found space inside the 18-yard box a ripped a right-footed shot that barely missed the right post.
“We got Akron next, so they’re not a team to mess around with,” Maloney said. “It looks like we’re playing the best soccer of the season right now, at the end of the season, which is definitely the way we want to play.”
Penn State will take on the Akron Zips Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Jeffrey Field.
Eric Ohlson is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.