Maryland Upsets Third Ranked Penn State In Soccer


Maryland men’s soccer had their best performance of the season Sunday afternoon beating third ranked Penn State 4-0. Zack Steffen recorded his fifth clean sheet of the season, and second clean sheet in a row. Alex Shinsky continued his positive play and scored the third goal of the day, while Tsubasa Endoh returned to the starting eleven and scored his first goal of the season. Mael Corboz had the first two goals of the day, scoring his first goal of the season in open play, and converting his fourth penalty kick.

Penn State entered the game ranked number three in the country and on top of the Big Ten standings. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton had only allowed three goals all season, and is the reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year. Sunday was a different story for the Nittany Lions as Maryland dominated the senior goalie and the three man back line. Penn State came out in a 3-5-2 formation, and Maryland exploited them along with wings, with great play by Michael Sauers and Mikey Ambrose on the left side.

Ambrose continued his stellar junior year helping Steffen to secure the clean sheet, and delivering the opening assist. Ambrose sent a perfect pass into the middle of the box, which led Mael Corboz into an open area. Corboz had scored three goals all season, and all three were from the penalty spot before he finished Ambrose’s cross off. It was a well taken shot by the junior who transferred from Rutgers, who showed why he was All-AAC as a freshman. This was the first time all season that Penn State has been trailing.

Maryland maintained pressure on the offensive end following the opening goal. Penn State made two tackles in the box, the first one was clean but the second one drew a penalty. Despite the penalty, there was no card given to the Penn State defender. Mael Corboz stepped up and converted his fourth penalty kick of the season, and his second goal of the first half. This marked the first time this season that Maryland scored two goals in the first half, and the second time this season that Penn State conceded two goals.

On the defensive side, Maryland did a great job in the first half of limiting Penn State’s offensive possessions and preventing them from getting shots off on net. Both teams had four shots at the half, but only one shot on goal for Penn State. The second half was a different story, with Penn State bringing more pressure because of the deficit they faced. Steffen came up with several saves during the second half that showed why he is one of the top goalkeepers in the Big Ten. Maryland’s defense did a good job all game of limiting Penn State’s offense and forcing them into tougher shots, however Maryland did concede a lot of corner kicks because of this.

Alex Shinsky has seen increased playing time and the call by the coaching staff is paying off. On Wednesday, Shinsky’s pressure forced a penalty kick that was the difference in a 1-0 win over VCU. Against Penn State, Shinsky was rewarded for his hard work when he scored Maryland’s third goal of the game and his first of the season. Right back Jereme Raley’s shot hit the crossbar and went back into play, and Shinsky beat two defenders to the rebound and sent a low shot into the right corner of the net and out of the reach of Wolverton. The play showed how much Shinsky hustles up top, and for a team that lacks a true number nine, that hustle is important to scoring goals.

In the preseason Tsubasa Endoh was predicted to have a big season for the Terrapins. After receiving a red card in the first game against Louisville, Endoh has been in and out of the line up. On Sunday, the junior from Japan was inserted back into the starting eleven. He was a difference maker throughout the ninety with his ball control, which helped Maryland to control the game. Late in the second half, with the game already out of reach, Endoh scored his first goal of the season. Endoh was calm in the box and did well placing the ball on goal and where Wolverton couldn’t reach the shot.

Maryland will be back in action on Wednesday night against Lehigh. With the win against Penn State, Maryland moves to 2-2-1 in the Big Ten and will jump to third in the standings with seven points. On the season, Maryland has a 5-5-2 record, but they showed on Sunday that they can play with one of the best teams in the country and dominate them. Against Georgetown, Maryland gained a lot of confidence that they can hang with a College Cup contender, but unfortunately they did not get the right result. That changed against Penn State, when Maryland didn’t just hang with a top ranked team, they dominated them in every phase of the game. With six games left in the season, Sasho’s team appears to be reaching their peak, which is a good sign for what looked like a lost season following back to back College Cup appearances.

Maryland Starters Vs Penn State

GK: Zack Steffen

Def: Mikey Ambrose, Alex Crognale, Jereme Raley, Chris Odoi-Atsem

Mid: Dan Metzger, Mael Corboz, Mikias Eticha

For: Tsubasas Endoh, Alex Shinsky, Michael Sauers

Goals: Corboz 2 – (13′; 32′ – PK) (5); Shinsky (53′) (1); Endoh (82′) (1)