Penn State traveled to the Philadelphia area to face intrastate opponents Temple yesterday evening, and came away with their first loss of the young season. The Owls took an early lead on Penn State in the eleventh minute, when Justin Stoddart calmly finished off a rebound in front of goal, The Nittany Lions slowly began to grow into the game as the second half wore on but Temple's defense was up to the challenge. Former Philadelphia Union Academy player and 2014 Big Ten Offensive Player of the year Connor Maloney was State's most active player throughout the first half, relieving pressure and pestering the Temple center backs whenever he got into the attacking third.
The second half began with Penn State pressing for an equalizer, but they couldn't translate possession into shots on goal and failed to seriously test the Temple back line. Temple was able to put the game away in the 56th minute with a goal from Carlos Moros Garcia after a collision between Dinho Zwane and Penn State goalkeeper Matt Bersano. The entire offense ran through the crafty Zwane, he was the best attacking player on the field for the whole game and caused the Penn State defense problems all afternoon. The Temple attack was most successful when running through the 5'5 South African and Penn State couldn't stop his marauding runs from the midfield.
Penn State was simply not able to transition the ball from the midfield to the attack quick enough and it resulted in a 16-5 advantage in shots for the cherry and white. This win against a top-25 team should give the Owls a lot of confidence heading into their next match against Rider on Tuesday, September 8 at 4 p.m. in Ambler, PA. On the other hand, Penn State will have to learn from their mistakes and pick themselves up for an upcoming match against James Madison at home in University Park on Tuesday, September 8 at 6 p.m.