Sometimes in sports it is simply about being in the right place at the right time, as Penn State Altoona junior midfielder Trent Landis learned after more than 103 minutes of play in Tuesday's Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference matchup against Mount Aloysius.
Landis, who earlier in the week received AMCC Defensive Player of the Week honors, went to the offensive side when Garrett Storm sent a corner kick into the middle of the box in the second overtime period. Landis used his head to send the ball to the right of Mountie goalie James Antonopolos as the Lions edged Mount Aloysius, 2-1, at Spring Run Stadium.
Penn State Altoona coach Patrick "Moe" Taylor enjoyed seeing the roommates and best friends connect on the game-winner.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Penn State Altoona’s Dan Kennedy (12) collides with Mount Aloysius’ Xavier Cardona on Tuesday.
"Trent is a great teammate and plays well on both sides of the ball," Taylor said. "He gives up his body for the team. The effort can't get any better. It's about wanting it. I am happy he got rewarded."
Landis received defensive player of the week honors as a part of a unit that had not given up a goal in more than four hours of game time dating back to an Oct. 1 loss to LaRoche.
"Credit to Moe," Mount Aloysius coach Tyler Sheikh said. "He has a great team made of veterans and young bucks. Moe's guys did a great job of making one more play than us. I am proud of my boys, but if we lose on a set piece like that sometimes you just have to tip your cap."
The game could not have been more even before the game-winning goal.
After a scoreless first half, the Lions were the first to get on the board when sophomore forward Karl Stephan made an outstanding effort to race past a Mountie defender to gain control of the ball. Stephan's shot got blocked in the box and came to the foot of Quinn Oyler, who scored his fourth goal of the season to give Penn State the advantage.
"Karl Stephan, they don't come better in terms of work ethic," Taylor said. "Karl running down the ball, a big guy like that not giving up and finally getting it in there was great. Quinn finished it like nobody else can with so much composure, and made it a great combination."
The lead didn't last long.
Just a little more than a minute later, Mount Aloysius midfielder Aubrey Brown found a loose ball in the box and beat Lion goalie Aaron Ballish to his left to end Altoona's shutout streak at 5 hours, 8 minutes and 5 seconds.
Although the two goalies combined for just four saves, each team had its chance to score late in regulation.
With 9 minutes remaining in the second half, it was Stephan who headed a ball off the Mounties crossbar and over the goal.
Just minutes later, a Lion defender headed a Mountie shot backward off his own crossbar, but the score remained even until Landis' goal.
Penn State Altoona remained undefeated all-time against the Mounties (11-0), and the Lions' winning streak reached five after starting the season 1-8.
"Early in the season, we had one of the hardest non-conference schedules in the conference," Taylor said. "We know we'll take our lumps, but we'll grow from it. All those losses we took, there's a lesson in every one. We believe we can win and play with anyone."
Both teams will be on the road Saturday as Penn State heads to Hilbert and Mount Aloysius travels to Penn State Behrend.
"This is a mid-season conference game," Sheikh said. "Altoona treated it as such, but my boys had a bit more emotion involved. I had to calm them down and let them know we have one more Saturday and three more after that. This team wants to make the playoffs for the first time in school history."
SCORE BY HALVES
Mount Aloysius0 1 0 0 - 1
Penn State Altoona 0 1 0 1 - 2
First Half: PSU-Oyler (Stephan), 50:37; MA-Brown (unassisted), 51:40.
Second overtime: PSU-Landis (Storm), 103:15.
Records: Mount Aloysius (6-10; 2-3 AMCC); Penn State Altoona (6-8; 4-2 AMCC).
Referees: Paul Deverse, Terrence Mull, Brad Anderson.