No. 8 Maryland men’s soccer continues Big Ten play in College Park against Penn State on Tuesday.
After defeating Virginia and Georgetown in the same week, the Terps hit the road to take on Michigan in their Big Ten opener. Both sides got off to a slow start, but senior defender Chris Rindov ended the scoring drought in the 30th minute. The Wolverines had an answer, however, as senior forward Inaki Rodriguez scored their first goal of the game in the 32nd minute.
Head coach Sasho Cirovski made some crucial adjustments at halftime, and Maryland’s offense was much more efficient in the second half. After missing back-to-back shots, junior forward Stefan Copetti broke through on his third attempt and retook the lead for the Terps in the 67th minute.
Maryland’s defense held on through the final 23 minutes of play, and the Terps picked up their fourth win of the season.
With the 2021 Big Ten champions coming to town, Maryland should be in for another competitive match. The game will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.
Penn State Nittany Lions (3-2-1)
2021 record: 13-7-1 (6-2)
Head coach Jeff Cook has transformed this program. In just four seasons, Cook has led the Nittany Lions to multiple milestones, including three straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1993-95. In 2021, Penn State captured both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, as Cook was named 2021 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
The Nittany Lions have had a solid start to the 2022 season. Penn State has won three of its last four games, including a 3-2 win over then-No. 18 West Virginia. Similar to Maryland, the Nittany Lions are 1-0 in conference play and are looking for an esteemed win against the Terps.
Players to know
Peter Mangione, junior midfielder/forward, No. 8 — Mangione has been a stud since he got to State College. In his first week as a collegiate athlete, Mangione earned Big Ten Player of the Week after scoring two game-winning goals. He was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection in 2020 but elevated his play significantly in 2021, as he was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He has already tallied three goals this season and will be a problem for the Terps.
Andrew Privett, senior midfielder, No. 6 — Privett was a consistent starter during his first two seasons at Penn State but really broke out last year. Privett recorded nine goals and four assists on his way to a team-high 22 points, 18 more than the previous season. This season, he is not on pace for a similar year statistically but is still a massive positive on the offensive end with one goal and one assist.
Seth Kuhn, graduate midfielder, No. 10 — Kuhn has been one of the best facilitators in the country over the past three seasons. He has dished out 17 assists since joining Penn State in 2019, including eight assists last year. Kuhn is a two-time All-Big Ten second team selection, and while he has had a slow start to the season, he is still a game-changer.
Defense. When it mattered most, Penn State had one of the best defenses in the nation last year. The Nittany Lions did not surrender a single goal during their Big Ten Tournament run, outscoring opponents 7-0. Not much has changed this season, as Penn State is first in the Big Ten in save percentage (.794) and second in goals allowed (7).
Offense. Penn State had the best offense in the Big Ten last year. The Nittany Lions were first in the conference in shots (274) and second in both goals (37) and assists (34). Despite retaining its three best offensive players, Penn State has taken a step back. The Nittany Lions currently rank last in shots (60) and seventh in goals (9).
Three things to watch
1. Bolma vs. Mangione. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Joshua Bolma and Mangione each lead their team in points and are top candidates for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Maryland and Penn State have stout defenses and should make life difficult for these two. The game may come down to which star can outperform the other.
2. Can Maryland maintain its second-half intensity? The Terps got off to an extremely slow start in their Friday night win over Michigan, as they only put up four shots in the first 45 minutes. Once the second half began, the Terps were a completely different team. There was much more movement along the front line, leading to 11 shots and a goal. If Maryland can replicate its second-half performance, it should find success against Penn State.
3. Can the Terps take down the reigning champs? Defeating the Nittany Lions will be no easy task. In fact, Maryland hasn’t done so since 2018. Despite dominating the rest of the conference last year, the Terps could not figure out Penn State, losing, 3-2, in their only matchup. While Maryland is the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions are still the team to beat.
“They’ve had our number for the last couple years. So, I think our guys were pretty fired up to maybe show a little bit of who we really are,” said Cirovski.