OMAHA, Neb. - The Omaha men's soccer team put on an entertaining performance in front of a school-record 2,581 fans at the South Omaha Classic on Saturday night, but in the end Penn State prevailed with a 1-0 win in the Mavs' first exhibition match of the season.
The Mavs outshot Penn State 11-9 overall and matched the co-Big Ten champions in shots on goal at 4-4, not counting Craig Buettner's blast in the second half that was ruled to have hit the post but upon video review after the game appeared to cross the goal line and hit a support beam inside the net.
The Mavericks set the tone from the beginning with high energy. Logan Mendez tested Penn State goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton with a 30-yard shot from the right side that sent the All-Big Ten keeper diving backwards to make the save in the fifth minute.
But Penn State center back Martin Seiler volleyed home a corner kick from Grant Warming to give Penn State a 1-0 lead at the 12:57 mark. It was the Nittany Lions' first shot of the game and proved to be the lone score of the game.
In the second half, the Mavs were on the attack for the majority of the half, registering three shots on goal. But the best chance of the half came in the 55th minute when Buettner ripped a shot from 20 yards out. The shot had so much pace on it that it looked to have bounced off the right post and down across the face of the goal. Video reviewed after the game showed the ball crossing the goal line and contacting a diagonal support beam connecting the post to the back of the net.
Nevertheless, the Mavs continued to threaten in the 71st minute when freshman Christian Garcia made a nifty move to create space and fired a shot on target that forced Wolverton to make a diving save. The Mavs brought on attackers for defenders late to push for the tying goal, but the Nittany Lions were able to fend off the Mavs to earn the win.
Omaha will face another challenging preseason test next Friday at No. 6 Creighton at Morrison Stadium.