Penn State 1, Seton Hall 0

Nov. 22, 2005

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. The Seton Hall mens soccer team saw their 2005 season come to a close in the NCAA Tournament Second Round following a 1-0 loss at Penn State on a cold, windy night at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions scored the game-winner with just over 12 minutes remaining and held off the Pirates to win their 10th straight game and advance to the NCAA Third Round.

The winning goal came in the 78th minute after Penn State mounted an attack deep in the Seton Hall end. Brian Devlin sent a cross into the box and after an SHU defender slipped, David Walters picked up the ball six yards out and put a shot into the upper left corner for the only goal of the game.

The game saw very few offensive chances for either team as the windy conditions made playing long balls difficult for either team. With the wind at their back in the first half, the Nittany Lions had the first chance when just over a minute into the game, Markku Viitanen got off a header that was tipped just over the net by senior Boris Pardo (Hillside, N.J.). The Pirates were content to keep the ball low in the first half as they played into the wind, which hampered their offensive chances. However, they nearly got on the board in the 41st minute when junior Sacha Kljestan (Huntington Beach, Calif.) sent a corner into the box that got loose and went to the foot of junior Teddy Niziolek (Clifton, N.J.). Niziolek appeared to have a clear shot, but his attempt was cleared off the line by a sliding PSU defender to keep the scoreboard blank.

Seton Hall came out attacking in the second half and held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks and an 8-3 advantage in shots in the half, but PSUs Conrad Taylor and the defense managed to keep SHU off the board.. The Pirates got a golden chance in the 65th minute when freshman Christian Vercollone (Pembroke, Mass.) picked up a ball at the top of the 18-yard box and sent a one-time volley that had Taylor beat, but sailed just wide.

The game was a physical affair as Penn State committed 24 fouls to just eight on Seton Hall. The Pirates appeared to have a penalty kick opportunity midway through the first half, when freshman Eliseo Giusfredi (Paterson, N.J.) was shoved down in the box, but no foul was called. The tempers boiled over in the 69th minute after a SHU player fouled PSUs Simon Omekanda and he appeared to throw a punch at the Pirate defender. Both teams settled down and Penn State put home the game-winner just under 10 minutes later.

Pardo had to make just one save for Seton Hall, while Taylor turned away four shots for Penn State. The Pirates conclude the season with a 13-4-3 record, while the Nittany Lions move on with a 13-6-2 record.

-- Courtesy Seton Hall