#17 Penn State Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Penn State Nittany Lions

Overall Rank: #17
#3 Big Ten
#17 Penn State Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Penn State Team Page


It was a very successful season for the Penn State men’s soccer program, with only a double-overtime loss to Ohio State separating the Nittany Lions between themselves and a perfect Big Ten Conference season. Penn State made it to the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA tournament but lost to New Mexico in a 2-0 shutout, but that loss only stoked the creative fire for the returning Penn State players. Considering most of the returning leaders are only in their second year of play, things look like they could only go up from here.

2013 Record: 13-6-2, 5-1-0
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bob Warming

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Mark Wadid, Sophomore, F, 3
Assists: Connor Maloney, Sophomore, F, 7
Shots: Mark Wadid, Sophomore, F, 36
Saves: Andrew Wolverton, Senior, GK, 76

Other Key Returnees: M Owen Griffith, M Drew Klingenberg, M Mason Klerks, D Mike Robinson, D Randy Falk, D Eli Dennis

Key Losses: F Jordan Tyler, M Grant Warming, D Martin Seiler, D Shane Campbell, D Akil Howard

Three of the top four scorers are back in Mark Wadid, Eli Dennis and Connor Maloney, and considering they were leaders in the Penn State scoring hunt, things look pretty good. With only Jordan Tyler not among the returnees who contributed to a lot of the Nittany Lions offense, Penn State has a lot of options to feed the offense. The defense is also fairly strong, with Dennis, Mike Robinson and Randy Falk returning alongside keeper Andrew Wolverton. The top of the lineup returns, and that can only help Penn State as it vies for its third straight Big Ten championship.

Although three defenders return to the lineup the loss of Martin Seiler, Shane Campbell and Akil Howard means one-half of the Penn State defense will need to be replaced. Another potential weakness lies in the goalkeeping area. Wolverton played all of the team’s minutes, meaning Danny Sheerin and Evan Finney never saw any playing time last season. In all likelihood these players won’t need to see the field, but if Wolverton gets hurt it could cause a problem.

Final Projection:
In all honesty, the weaknesses are kind of nitpicky. Penn State should be among the Big Ten’s leaders once again and the likelihood of a three-peat in University Park is quite good. The question is the NCAA tournament. What happens come tournament time could be a problem because the Nittany Lions’ non-conference schedule is good but not up to the level of the top teams in the nation. Penn State needs to see more teams like New Mexico a year ago to have a possible handle on how to succeed in the NCAA tournament. Penn State will make it to the postseason, but whether it advances past the sweet 16 is the question.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.19 (123rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.81 (31, 2)
Shutout Percentage: 0.38 (44, 4)
Save Percentage:  0.813 (31, 3)

Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#7 Andrew Wolverton


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