Although the 16 degree weather hardly screamed “lacrosse season,” No. 3 Penn State men’s lacrosse matched a program-best 7-0 season start with a 15-12 win over Harvard in Cambridge today.
How It Happened
Matt Florence gave Penn State its first lead of the game (2-1) with 8:16 left in the first quarter and it only trailed once after. Harvard tied it up eight seconds before the end of the first for a 3-3 score headed into the second, and its last lead of the game came early in the second thanks to Tim Edmonds. Kevin Hill tied it back up for the Nittany Lions 4-4 with 12:32 left in the quarter, Mac O’Keefe gave them a 5-4 lead about 30 seconds later, then in a rare turn of events in the lacrosse world, no one scored for 12:06 minutes.
Harvard tried to bounce back with an equalizer to start the third quarter, but an ensuing four-goal run from Penn State featuring a Florence hat trick gave the Nittany Lions a 9-5 lead headed into the final quarter. The Crimson responded with another strong quarter-opener — they knocked first, Mike Sutton interrupted their grind with a Penn State goal, then they went on a three-goal run, cutting Penn State’s lead to 10-9 with 8:11 left to play. Freshman phenom O’Keefe stopped the bleeding with 7:17 left and sent the Nittany Lions on a three-goal run (cementing a hat trick on the day for himself in the process). Harvard came closest to a comeback when it cute Penn State’s lead to 14-12 with :26 left to play. Sophomore Chris Sabia’s first career goal came with nine seconds left and finalized the 15-12 score.
Player Of The Game
Mac O’Keefe l Freshman l Attack
O’Keefe scored two goals in a three-goal stretch for the Nittany Lions to ensure the lead didn’t slip away from them late in the game. Harvard went on its best run of the game and threatened Penn State’s 10-9 lead, but O’Keefe’s momentum-shifter kept the Crimson at an arm’s length for the duration of the game. In my opinion, that’s far more important than scoring 10 goals a game — but I don’t hate that either.
Penn State is back at home next weekend when it attempts to make program history with an 8-0 start to the season. It faces Fairfield Friday, March 17 at 4 p.m.