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Villanova men wrapped up spring season with draw against Penn State in Chester



Saturday night marked the end of the spring soccer season for the Villanova men’s program. They battled Penn State on the outdoor fields at WSFS Bank Sportsplex to a physical 2-2 draw.

The weather was nearly perfect as the two PA soccer foes clashed under the setting sun along the Delaware River. Both clubs wrapped up their spring campaigns, and the rust was still a bit evident for both sides as they battled back and forth.

Penn State grabbed an early lead thanks to redshirt sophomore midfielder Ben Liscum’s strike from inside the box. The Lewisburg, PA native – who has played for Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals in the NPSL – found himself in the right spot at the right time to pounce on a loose ball in the box. Liscum struck it clean and it flew past Villanova’s keeper.

Villanova rallied and found an equalizer before the halftime whistle.

Senior forward Akinjide Awujo was on the receiving end of a Jorge Garcia assist. The goal was very timely for Villanova, which found themselves pinned in their own defensive end for large patches of the first half against the Nittany Lions. Garcia was highly effective all match long, and later found a goal of his own from the penalty spot.

However, before Garcia could celebrate his tally, Penn State grabbed a lead very early on in the second half. Villanova gave the ball away rather easily in the attacking half and Penn State sprang forward on a quick counter attacking move. Philadelphia Union Academy and FC Delco alum Caden Grabfelder made a darting run in behind and fired home a clinical strike to the far post leaving the Nova keeper with little chance of thwarting the effort.

But Villanova stuck around. They remained committed defensively and created a handful of their own chances – mostly on cross attempts and corner kick chances. Eventually, their efforts paid off after forcing a late PK whistle on a foul inside the box.

Garcia stepped up and cheekily beat the goal keeper for the game tying goal. The match eventually ended 2-2.

Both teams have officially wrapped their spring season. Each group likely learned a good deal about their full squads as both coaches weren’t shy to use a hefty amount of substitutions Saturday evening.

For new Nova head coach Mark Fetrow, the match was his first against his alma mater as a head coach and for Penn State head coach Jeff Cook it marked a return to the home of a Union organization where he worked as a coach in the Union Academy prior to taking the Penn State job in 2018.

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