Weekend Sports Preview: “Mack the Jeff”
The 411 on Penn State’s weekend sports slate.
#MackTheJeff: Friday figures to be an emotional night at Jeffrey Field.
The men’s soccer team gets its first chance for a signature victory this season when it hosts No. 5 Cal at 7 p.m. But an even bigger draw is the chance to celebrate the life of Mack Brady. A huge soccer fan, talented young goalkeeper, and son of Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady, Mack died unexpectedly in December from a blood infection. He was just 8 years old.
I’ve got an 8-year-old son of my own, and I can only begin to appreciate such a tragic loss. But I know it’s been inspiring, and apparently a huge boost for the Brady family, to see how the Penn State soccer family has rallied in Mack’s memory. Almost immediately, the Bradys established a men’s soccer scholarship in Mack’s name, and in addition to off-season fundraisers and clinics benefiting the scholarship, both the men’s and women’s teams are hosting #MackTheJeff nights this fall. They’ll be selling T-shirts with proceeds going to the scholarship fund, and Penn State’s goalkeepers will wear a special patch commemorating Mack on their jerseys. They’re also hoping to break the Jeffrey Field attendance record of 5,000-plus.
It should be a beautiful fall evening for soccer, and, like I said, an emotional one. I for one wouldn’t miss it.
Third time’s a charm? Somebody will leave Beaver Stadium Saturday night with a 3-0 record. GoPSUSports has a comprehensive preview of the Nittany Lions’ prime-time matchup with Central Florida, which is shaping up to be a great game, and a real test for this young Penn State squad. Among the interested observers on hand Saturday will be reps from the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park stadium, and the Irish media, here to get their first taste of big-time American college football ahead of next year’s Penn State-UCF game in Dublin.
Elsewhere afield: The Penn State cross-country squads are ready for the annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational … the third-ranked women’s volleyball team is in tournament action this weekend in Fort Myers, Fla. … the No. 13 women’s soccer teams heads to the Sooner State for games at Oklahoma State and Tulsa … the field hockey team plays Sunday at Princeton.
Ryan Jones, senior editor