Running down the right wing early in the second half, freshman Connor Maloney sent a low pass to the middle of the 18-yard box, close to the near post.
Owen Griffith was there on the other end and his low, sliding shot got past Michigan goalkeeper Adam Grinwis almost in the blink of an eye.
The Wolverines had plenty of time to recover from Griffith’s goal, which came in the 48th minute of the match. But it gave Penn State a promising two-goal cushion that ultimately became the team’s margin of victory, as the Nittany Lions took down the Wolverines, 3-1, at Jeffrey Field on Friday night.
“I think our game completely changed, because even before the goal we were just a little bit shaky and it was more of us just defending and trying to hold onto that one-goal lead,” Griffith said, adding that the team got into a rhythm after building the two-goal advantage.
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The victory was more than simply another “W” on the Nittany Lions’ (8-3-1, 3-0-0 Big Ten) schedule.
It was the Nittany Lions’ third consecutive conference victory, making them undefeated through three Big Ten matchups for the first time since the 2005 campaign.
It also their first win against the Wolverines (4-5-3, 1-2-0 Big Ten) since 2009, going 0-3-1 between victories. That meant fourth-year coach Bob Warming earned his first victory with the Lions against Michigan as well.
Last season, Grinwis recorded a program-record 12 saves as the Wolverines tied Penn State in Ann Arbor, 1-1.
“I felt like last year we did so well up there against them, and their goalkeeper had a school-record number of saves,” Warming said. “We missed three goals inside six yards up there last year. So I know all those seniors will be texting me tonight and pretty fired up that we got it done.”
The Lions took the lead 10 minutes into the game after a fortunate break in the penalty area.
Forward Jordan Tyler had a shot from the left side tipped into the air by Grinwis. The ball stayed inside the box and, as Michigan tried to clear the ball out of danger, a Wolverine was whistled for a hand ball.
Martin Seiler took the ensuing penalty kick, scoring to the right side as Grinwis went the opposite way.
“It was great,” Warrming said. “We kind of seemed like, maybe five or six other games we should’ve gotten a PK call that was less than a handball there...It’s a tough game to officiate, but I’m glad we finally got one. (It’s) been a long time.”
Senior Grant Warming stretched the Lions’ lead to 3-0 in the 79th minute with his first career goal.
The goal came in his penultimate regular season home game with the Lions.
“Better late than never — it feels incredible...(I’m) proud to get a goal for my team, help my team out,” Grant said.
The Wolverines, who had plenty of close shots, capitalized on a scoring opportunity only in the 83rd minute. Yamaan Sahlool prevented a shutout with a close-range shot off a loose ball.
Beside the lone goal, the Wolverines shots were either just off the mark or stopped by goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton and the Lions’ defense. The Wolverines finished the game with 16 total shots, with four on target, compared to the Lions’ nine and five, respectively.
“I thought, in a lot of ways, Michigan was better in a lot of phases of the game than us tonight,” Bob Warming said. “I thought they were really, really good, better in possession than us tonight. All credit to them. It’s just that we were really good in front of the goal, really in both ends — preventing goals and scoring them tonight.”