Men’s Lacrosse Wraps Up Spring Break Trip With 12-8 Loss To UMass

While you were busy enjoying a much-needed break from class, Penn State men’s lacrosse was spending a week in the Boston area competing against three Massachusetts-based colleges, earning one win in three tries.

Following a close loss to Harvard and a nail-biting win over Marist, Penn State (3-4) dropped its final game at the hands of UMass, falling 12-8 to the Minutemen on Saturday in Amherst, Mass.

How It Happened

Unlike the previous two outings, Penn State took control of the match from the opening whistle, taking a 4-0 lead just 7:02 into the first quarter. Continuing his dominance at the “X”, Drake Kreinz won the game’s opening face-off on a UMass violation and raced down the field before scoring on a 10-yard overhand shot to put Penn State up 1-0 just three seconds into the match. The Nittany Lions added to their lead just two minutes later when TJ Sanders, fresh off a five-goal performance, whistled an overhand shot past the UMass goaltender from five yards out made the score 2-0. Picking up where he left off, Sanders would another goal 33 seconds later on the man-up to give Penn State a 3-0 lead. Dan Craig would punctuate the early scoring spree with a highlight-reel goal, retrieving a pass from Sanders in front of the crease before spinning around and firing a shot through traffic for a 4-0 lead with 7:58 to go.

In what would be a game of scoring streaks, UMass answered with four unanswered goals of their own, beginning with Andrew Sokol’s goal with 4:58 to go in the first quarter to cut the lead to three, 4-1. UMass would even the score five minutes into the second quarter, knotting things up a 4-4 on Grant Whiteway’s goal.

Mike Sutton put Penn State back on top with just a little over two minutes to go before halftime, pushing through traffic and beating the UMass goalie high side to regain a 5-4 lead. It would be the last time Penn State held a lead, as the Minutemen went on a 10-2 tear, including five unanswered goals in a span of 10 minutes between the third and fourth quarters. Penn State was able to pull even twice during that span on goals by Nick Aponte and Billy Lombardi, but the UMass offense proved to be too much for the Nittany Lions to handle down the stretch.

Tanner Peck would score his first collegiate goal to cut the lead to four, 12-8, with 4:56 to play, but it was too little, too late as the Minutemen would hold on for just their second victory of the season. Penn State’s Connor Darcey and UMass’s Zach Oliveri each finished with nine saves.

Player of the Game

Billy Lombardi. The sophomore from Rochester, N.Y. was a career-best 14-of-22 from the faceoff circle while also adding his first career goal to briefly tie the game late in the third quarter.

Game Notes

  • UMass out-shot Penn State, 31-28. The Minutemen peppered Darcey late in the game, taking 14 shots in the third quarter alone.
  • Thanks to Kreinz and Lomardi, Penn State dominated at the face-off ‘X’, posting a 15-8 mark.
  • Kreinz’s opening goal was his second off the face-off in as many games.
  • TJ Sanders added his 16th and 17th goals of the season, bringing his average to 2.43 goals per contest, the third-best mark in the Big Ten.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions have a big task ahead, facing No. 3 Denver at Hofstra University on Satuday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m.

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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