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No. 9 Maryland men’s soccer draws Penn State, 3-3

The Terps and the defending Big Ten champions tied Tuesday night.

With the score tied at two apiece, No. 9 Maryland men’s soccer and Penn State battled to remain atop the Big Ten standings.

In the 70th minute, the Terps received their third penalty kick of the season and everybody knew who was taking it. Senior midfielder Malcolm Johnston was two-for-two on the season and remained perfect on Tuesday night. The team captain calmly lifted the ball over Penn State goalkeeper Kris Shakes’ head, giving Maryland a 3-2 advantage.

This did not last long, though, as the Nittany Lions were met with the same opportunity just five minutes later. Penn State junior defender Tyger Evans squared up and kicked a ground ball to the bottom left corner of the net. Maryland junior goalkeeper Jamie Lowell dove left but couldn’t get there in time as the game was tied at three.

Neither team was able to score in the final 15 minutes, resulting in a 3-3 tie on Tuesday night in College Park.

The Terps moved to 4-1-2, and the Nittany Lions moved to 3-2-2.

“We certainly did enough to win this game, but we also, once again, made a lot of critical errors,” said head coach Sasho Cirovski. “We have to stop being so generous and giving away goals and gifts to teams.”

The first five minutes of play were relatively uneventful, but Penn State began to apply some pressure shortly after. After a questionable call by the officiating crew, the Nittany Lions were awarded a free kick and attempted their first shot of the game. Junior goalkeeper Jamie Lowell was able to make the save, giving Maryland possession.

Graduate forward German Giammattei slipped into the box and rifled the ball towards the net, but it was blocked. Giammattei got another opportunity in the the 10th minute, but Penn State senior goalkeeper Kris Shakes was able to scoop it up.

The Terps continued to attempt shot after shot until they finally broke through in the 17th minute. As Maryland’s front line passed the ball around, redshirt senior defender Nick Richardson positioned himself at the edge of the box. Senior forward Hunter George then received a pass from Giammattei and lifted the ball over the defense. Richardson corralled the ball and sent it straight to the left goalpost for the score.

It did not take long for the Nittany Lions to respond. After senior defender Chris Rindov made a fantastic save in goal, Penn State was awarded a corner kick. The ball hurled toward the box and Penn State graduate midfielder Seth Kuhn delivered a slow, bouncing pass to the goal line. With Lowell out of position, junior defender Femi Awodesu tapped the ball in and erased Maryland’s lead to tie the game at one.

The Nittany Lions were not done there. After getting deep into Maryland territory, junior midfielder Peter Mangione fired the go-ahead goal into the top-right corner of the net and over the outstretched arms of Lowell.

The Terps took three more shots before halftime, but none of them were able to erase the lead as they trailed 2-1 at the break.

Despite looking disoriented for a 10-minute stretch, there was much to look forward to heading into the second half for Maryland. The Terps outshot Penn State, 9-4, and controlled the tempo for the majority of the game.

However, Maryland was sloppy to begin the second half. The Terps continuously kicked the ball either out-of-bounds or to Penn State. With Cirovski screaming after every mistake, Maryland cleaned up its act.

In the 51st minute, the Terps charged down field on a fast break. Freshman defender Luca Costabile struck the ball with his left foot right at Shakes. The shot bounced right off Shakes’ chest and into the line of fire. Sophomore midfielder Griffin Dillion seized the free ball and sent it into the net, tying the game at two.

The defenses locked in for the next 18 minutes as there were a combined three shots taken. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Joshua Bolma was responsible for two of those, both of which were on goal.

Johnston ended the scoring drought in the 70th minute on his penalty kick, slowing down and confusing Shakes right before sending it over his head and into the net to give Maryland a 3-2 lead.

The Nittany Lions responded quickly, though, intercepted the ball in the box and forcing a penalty kick. Junior defender Tyger Evans took advantage of the opportunity and tied the game.

The Terps and Nittany Lions were unable to convert on any of their following chances, drawing, 3-3.

Maryland’s next game comes on Sunday, a home matchup against No. 13 Ohio State.

Three things to know

1. Niklas Neumann remained on the bench. For the second consecutive match, Maryland’s starting goalkeeper did not make an appearance. In fact, the senior did not even suit up as he sat on the bench with a leg brace on. While Lowell was phenomenal against Michigan in net, Penn State challenged him.

Cirovski did not say much in regards to Neumann’s injury, simply stating that he is “making progress.”

2. Maryland vs. Penn State continues to produce high-scoring games. Both teams are stout defensively, but that did not matter. Each team scored three goals Tuesday night, Penn State’s season-high and the second-highest output for the Terps. Each of the last four games between these teams had a combined five goals, as Penn State vs. Maryland always results in an exciting match.

“It’s always a battle. I don’t know what it is about these guys. They seem to score incredible goals when they play against us,” junior defender Alex Nitzl said. “For the fans, probably a good game to watch.”

3. The Terps failed to take down the reigning Big Ten champs. While Maryland was chomping at the bit to beat the Nittany Lions this season, a tie will have to suffice. This is an upgrade, though, as the Terps have lost each of their last three matches against Penn State. Without a head-to-head win over the Nittany Lions, Maryland will have to win the Big Ten outright.

“They are the champions. They come here, they tie a game against Maryland and they celebrate as if they won the championship. It’s unreal,” Nitzl said. “It’s the biggest game of the season for us.”