As the clock ticked down with two seconds remaining Saturday night, Indiana sophomore goalkeeper Colin Webb raced up the field.
He leaped into the air as teammate and senior defender Patrick Doody sent the ball into the box, making contact with Webb’s head. But Webb’s attempt would go into the side netting.
It was the closest the Hoosiers got as No. 16 Penn State defeated No. 11 IU 1-0 at Bill Armstrong Stadium in the first game of the conference season for both teams.
“I give them credit,” IU head coach Todd Yeagley said. “It seemed like, again, right when we were at that moment that we weren’t able to get an extra touch on it.”
In the 27th minute, Penn State junior midfielder Brian James sent a corner kick outside the box to sophomore midfielder Mason Klerks, who delivered an 18-yard strike past Webb into the upper-90 of the goal.
“They created a good corner kick play,” Webb said. “The kid hit a good strike and there wasn’t much we could do about it.”
The result might have surprised some given the disparity in shots. The Hoosiers (3-1-1) were aggressive throughout the match and finished with a season-high 20 attempts, while the Nittany Lions (4-0-1) had only six.
Sophomore midfielder Tanner Thompson, one of eight IU players with at least two shot attempts, was still encouraged despite the missed opportunities.
“It’s always frustrating when you play so well and you don’t end up putting the ball in the back of the net and coming out with the win,” Thompson said. “We had everything out there but just couldn’t find one in the back of the net, but those will come.”
Thompson and the rest of the Hoosiers dealt with a high level of physicality throughout the match. The rough play resulted in four bookings by the officials, as they gave out three yellow cards to Penn State players and one to an IU player.
Yeagley said he expected the game to be physical.
“They play a physical style,” he said. “It’s the first Big Ten game, both teams are going to be revved up.”
Battling through the physical play, IU was still able to create many opportunities. Three different Hoosiers recorded three shot attempts, while another five had two attempts.
One of those five was freshman defender/midfielder Jack Griffith, who replaced junior midfielder Matt Foldesy in the first half. Griffith remained in the starting lineup in place of Foldesy in the second half.s
Yeagley said that because of an injury that Foldesy suffered in the spring, it’s tough for him to get back into a routine when removed from the game, which was why Foldesy was in the starting lineup in the second half.
“Once you get going and you don’t change to change, I thought Jack was very good,” Yeagley said. “His engine was going, so I said, ‘let’s keep with Jack.’”
Griffith was one of four players Yeagley used after using seven against Dartmouth.
“We extended some guys’ minutes,” Yeagley said. “We didn’t go as deep as we had, and I still think that’s a strength of our team. So there are some guys that didn’t play tonight that are going to play big minutes and be a big part of our team.”
Players shared a similar sense of optimism despite what the scoreboard read.
“That was our best performance of the year,” freshman defender Grant Lillard said. “A lot of positives to take away from the game. We worked our butts off, and sometimes you just don’t get the results you want.”