UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – It’s been eight years since Penn State’s men’s soccer program last won a conference trophy. That all changed last Sunday when the Nittany Lions beat the Wisconsin Badgers with a 2-0 shutout to win the Big Ten regular season championship. Players love the redshirt senior midfielder Pierre Reedy wait for this moment.
âIt’s a dream come true for me,â Reedy said. “I’ve been here for six years and this was the first time we could take him home. I’m so happy.”
Reedy isn’t the only one happy to be champion. The Head Coach Jeff cook is proud of what the team has accomplished.
“I would like to say how proud I am of our players to have finished the season in such a strong way,” said Cook. âComing together to win the last two games of the regular season, which gave us the Big Ten regular season championship, was a great accomplishment. “
Prior to this great achievement, Park Avenue Army, the group of Penn State men’s soccer supporters, stayed with the team through their ups and downs. They were even there to help celebrate the championship with the team despite the upcoming championship victory on the road.
âWe got into Rec Hall around 11:45 pm Sunday night and I looked out the window and there were about 50 or 60 members of the Army from Park Avenue to greet the bus and it was really special,â Cook said. .
But all the celebrations must come to an end. Now it’s time for the Nittany Lions to get back on track for Sunday’s game against 8th seed Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
âThe reality is the game ends and you celebrate, and then it’s ‘okay, let’s get ready for the next one,’â Cook said. “We’re really proud of what’s happened so far, but we also realize there’s a lot of work to be done to prepare for a strong Michigan State team.”
To prepare for the Michigan State game, the championship team is channeling their victory into a mental boost to prepare for practice and the playoffs.
âWe have to stay hungry and continue to build on the last two performances,â Reedy said. “We started to play really well; I thought the last two games was really about continuing and going to practice and focusing on improving every day.”
In practice, Cook also uses this victory as momentum to refine and focus on the details.
âWe really focus on what makes the difference in winning games, so winning tackles, winning shutouts, preventing from scoring goals, being smart in our passing decisions,â Cook said. “It’s really kind of a zeroing out and focusing on what leads to winning and doubling to be effective in these areas.”
As the Big Ten tournament kicks off on Sunday, Reedy reminds his team that at the end of the day, they should just enjoy every moment of what’s left.
âI tell them a lot to just enjoy it because I’ve been here a while and it goes fast, and just to enjoy every part of the process and every game because you never know when it’s your last,â he said. noted Reedy. “So the fact that we have the opportunity on Sunday to play the game we love with 28 of our best friends is something they shouldn’t take for granted.”
The quarterfinals kick off between the Nittany Lions and the Jeffrey Field Spartans is at 4:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.