Oct. 21, 2012
Site: Lakeside Field (Evanston, Ill.)
Score: Penn State 1, No. 24 Northwestern 0 (2OT)
Records: NU (10-3-2, 3-1-0 B1G), Penn State (9-4-2, 3-1-1 B1G)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, Oct. 24 - vs. Northern Illinois - 6 p.m. - Lakeside Field
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern honored its seniors pregame, and controlled possession throughout its contest with Penn State Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Field, but ultimately fell on a golden-goal with just a few minutes left in the second overtime period, 1-0. With 15 shots to Penn State's eight, the Wildcats consistently pressured the Nittany Lion defense, but Hasani Sinclair put home his first goal of the season to hand NU its first Big Ten loss on the year.
"We played well but hats off to Penn State," Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan
said. "They came in on the road in a tough environment in the Big Ten and grinded out a Big Ten result and that's what it's all about. Although I'm disappointed with the result, I'm not disappointed with how we played. I thought we played very well and of the three games we've lost, this is the best we've played. Taking that forward, Penn State is now in first place in the Big Ten, they're 3-1-1, while us and Indiana are 3-1-0. So that's the first-place team in the Big Ten and we're right there. We've got to get ready for Wednesday. Northern Illinois is coming in, which is always a tough team for us, and now we really have something to play for bouncing back from the loss, so I'm looking forward to a big performance on Wednesday."
From the opening kick, the Wildcats pushed deep into the Penn State half and began to test Penn State goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton. Both senior Kyle Schickel and junior Lepe Seetane forced Wolverton into saves within the first 20 minutes, and junior Layth Masri headed a Grant Wilson corner just wide of the right post. As the first half clock ticked under 10 seconds, Schickel played in a dangerous cross which Wolverton picked off before it could reach a duo of streaking 'Cats.
Junior Scott Lakin was big all afternoon for NU, providing runs down the left touch line and swinging in threatening crosses from his left foot. Two of his first half plays into the box resulted in Northwestern corners, and NU posted three total first half corners while holding Penn State to none.
In the second half, senior Nick Gendron had a shot blocked at point blank range, and saw his reactionary back heel into the 6-yard box cleared away as well. With 15 minutes to play, freshman Cole Missimo received a long ball from sophomore Nikko Boxall, and beat his defender on a run down the left side. Missimo broke into the corner of the 18-yard box and fired a low shot that slid just past the far post.
NU continued to test Wolverton, outshooting Penn State 6-2 in the second half after topping them 7-2 in the opening stanza.
As overtime got underway, Penn State finally began to get some momentum and create some opportunities in front of the Northwestern back line. The first 10 minute period ended scoreless, but the Wildcats seemed poised to break through midway through the second. Another Lakin cross found Gendron's head, whose effort bounced back to Seetane. The junior teed off on a low liner that sailed just wide of the far post.
Both teams fired off two shots in the second overtime and Penn State ended the match in the 104th minute. Daniel Parr's shot from the top of the 18-yard box was blocked, but fell to Sinclair on a run into the box, who was alone with sophomore keeper Tyler Miller, and calmly deposited the winning goal into the net.
Northwestern finished with the 15-8 advantage on shots and 6-3 mark on corners. Wolverton had with five saves compared to two for Miller.
The Wildcats play their final home match of the 2012 regular season Wednesday night, hosting Northern Illinois at 6 p.m. Wednesday's match at Lakeside Field also is the final nonconference tilt for the Wildcats as they finish up the regular season with two Big Ten road contests.
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