This was no defense-deadlocked, double-overtime 0–0 tie. No, this was a veritable shootout, with the Knights, however, coming out on the short end, losing 8–6 to visiting Penn State Beaver.
Things got off to a fast start. Less than three minutes into the match Penn State Beaver found the back of the net. They were able to slide through the center of the Knight’s defense for a one-on-one with Central Penn goalkeeper Max Thorpe.
Thirty seconds later, freshman Soufiane Issoufou raced up the right flank beating the defense before finding fellow freshman Caleb Solis for the tap-in goal. This was the beginning of a back-and-forth type of game.
A few minutes later, Issoufou found himself with space on the right flank again. This time he took the shot himself, with a beautiful left footed strike, moving the Knights ahead.
A little over a minute later, Penn State Beaver was awarded a penalty kick, the first of the three for the visitors. This open opportunity led to a goal for Penn State, knotting things back up at two apiece. A few moments later, the Knights committed another foul in the box. This time, however, Thorpe was able to block the penalty shot to keep the score tied.
As was the case in the early going, the goal brought a lot of firepower out again. Penn State Beaver quickly responded finding not one or two, but three goals in the next six minutes, giving them a 5-3 advantage when the teams headed into halftime.
Can the Knights come back?
“Throughout the first half, we found ourselves playing a bit too much kick ball,” Central Penn Head Coach Dustin Wise said. “We needed to slow the match down, keep our composure and keep it simple. That’s what I told the team at halftime.”
And one minute into the second half, “simple soccer” led to a quick Central Penn goal, again netted by Issofou, bringing the Knights within one.
The game went back to a possessive battle between the two teams for the next 20 minutes, neither team finding a way to break down their opponent. Then in the 65th minute, the floodgates opened again. Penn State Beaver tallied a goal to make it 6-4; then, Issofou answered back four minutes later, giving him a hat trick on the afternoon so far. Five minutes after the Knights made it a one-goal game, Penn State Beaver found another goal, pushing their lead back to two.
In the 81st minute, Penn State Beaver was awarded its third penalty kick of the afternoon after a hand ball by the Knights defense cost them a clearance opportunity. Penn State Beaver was able to finish the play, guaranteeing them victory. Soufiane Issofou added one final goal for Central Penn in the 84th minute, but it was too little too late for the Knights.
Issofou ended the match with four goals and an assist. Solis and Kreiss found the back of the net for their first collegiate goals, with Solis also adding an assist. Pine finished the match with three assists for the Knights.
#KnightsNation was out in support including students, parents, faculty, staff and Cabinet members.
Next up, Central Penn will travel down to Port Royal, Va., on Saturday to battle against Christendom. Start time is 3 p.m.