Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Know Thy Enemy: Claws come out as Penn State lands in East Lansing

September 29, 2021
<p>Senior defender Olu Ogunwale passes the ball during the Spartans&#x27; 1-0 loss to the Hoosiers on Sept. 26, 2021.</p>

Senior defender Olu Ogunwale passes the ball during the Spartans' 1-0 loss to the Hoosiers on Sept. 26, 2021.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Know Thy Enemy is a Q&A where the perspective changes from the eyes of The State News to the eyes of the student newspaper of Michigan State's opponent. This weekend, The State News' men's soccer reporter Sara Tidwell spoke with Andrew DelSignore of The Daily Collegian ahead of Friday's Penn State and MSU game.

After getting defeated by Indiana during Alumni Day, Michigan State men's soccer is gearing up to host Penn State at 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Spartans enter the third Big Ten matchup of the season at 4-4-1 overall.

This week, The State News' soccer reporter Sara Tidwell spoke with Andrew DelSignore of The Daily Collegian ahead of the Spartans' matchup with the Nittany Lions.

Q: Who are Penn State’s team leaders, and how much are they relied upon in play-action? Who else is emerging into the spotlight that could cause problems for the Spartans?

A: Peter Mangione is one of Penn State’s leaders and main offensive players. He is currently leading the team with the most goals scored, and he always looks to set up his other teammates. Seth Kuhn is a midfielder for Penn State, and he does a great job of both controlling the ball and moving it as well as communicating with his team and setting up the offense.

Kris Shakes is the main goalie for Penn State and he is an energizer bunny. He is very energetic on the field and is all over the place when in net. He is another great communicator on the team, and he brings a positive mentality to the entire field.

Q: With an overall record of 5-3-1, what are Penn State’s strengths? Weaknesses? How were they looking prior to conference play?

A: Penn State has had very strong goalkeeper play; whether it is Kris Shakes or Owen Elliot in net, the Nittany Lions can count on them as the head of their defense. Penn State also has a three-headed dragon on their team in their offense, with players including Danny Bloyou, Liam Butts and Peter Mangione. Any one of those offensive players can go off, and they have with Butts having a two-goal day against Northwestern and Mangione having a hat trick against Villanova.

Q: Penn State’s said to have received three votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll for the NCAA Division I rankings. Do you think this is reasonable; should they be receiving any at all, or should they be receiving more based on how you’ve seen them play over the last nine games? How do you think they’ll progress as the season continues, especially with conference play?

A: Penn State receiving three votes for the poll is an alright number I believe to be given to them. Their record and play against ranked teams like Pitt and West Virginia have not been the greatest, and their record shows that. However, their coaching (record) is excellent, led by Head Coach Jeff Cook, who brought them to the Big Ten Championship last year, and the team has the ability, if they feel like playing like it, to go and beat any team in the country. They have a majority of guys returning from last year, so I believe that it is just time that is keeping this team from acting and playing like its past self last season.

Q: What is your score prediction, and why?

A: I believe that Penn State will take this game 2-1. Penn State has a multitude of goal scorers on the team, and I think that is one of their strong suits, meaning either Mangione or Butts will probably sneak one or two by, and I think that putting two goals up against a team like Michigan State will be enough to subdue them.

I do think it will be a good game and that Michigan State might score first, but Penn State has shown to be a hot and cold team, and after coming off a tough loss to Princeton, I have Penn State getting back in the win column.

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