Amidst all of the commotion at THON this weekend, Penn State men’s lacrosse (no, not hockey despite what @OnwardStSports might tell you) took the field for an early Saturday afternoon showdown against Cornell (0-1). The Nittany Lions (3-0) played their first outdoor home game of the season on a gorgeous sunny day in Happy Valley that ultimately led to a 20-10 route of Cornell.
How It Happened
Cornell’s defense was stingy at first — Penn State controlled most of the possession early, but the Big Red’s senior goal keeper Christian Knight was solid in net for the first portion of the game. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a two-goal lead by the end of the first quarter thanks to the scoring efforts of Mike Sutton and Grant Ament.
As the second quarter started, Cornell began to garner some momentum — scoring two goals in the first three and a half minutes of the frame to knot things up at two. But freshman phenom Mac O’Keefe answered the Big Red’s equalizer in just a mere 11 seconds to give Penn State the lead again — his No. 12 goal of the season at this point. Nick Aponte got the assist on the goal — extending his point streak to 35 games.
A few minutes later, Cornell responded again with a goal to tie the game up at three with 6:32 left in the half. Then O’Keefe tallied two more goals of his own to regain control for the Nittany Lions, and Penn State never looked back from there.
After Cornell’s third goal, Penn State went on a 14-2 run to blow the doors off of this one. Three players got their first goals of the season for the Nittany Lions — Matt Sexton, Matt Florence, and Conor Smith. Smith went on to score three total goals on the day for Penn State.
Ament’s game-high six goal effort Saturday was good enough to set a new career high for himself. O’Keefe netted five against Cornell, giving him 16 total goals on the season. Penn State went on to finish Cornell off by a final score of 20-10 earning the Nittany Lions their third win in a row to start the season. This is the second consecutive year that Penn State has started the season 3-0.
Despite an early push back from Cornell, Penn State showed complete dominance throughout the game. This team has some really young and talented goal scorers to go along with a solid defense.
Player Of The Game
Grant Ament | Sophomore | Attack
Ament had a phenomenal game Saturday against Cornell leading to a new career high in goals scored. The sophomore from Doylestown, Pa. scored six and added three assists for a well-rounded performance.
Penn State will go on the road for its next game when it takes on the Villanova Wildcats in Philly next Saturday. First face-off is scheduled for 11 a.m.