Men’s Lacrosse Dominates 20-7 In Season Opener, Freshman Class Rocks
Men’s lacrosse kicked off its 2016 season 1-0 with a 20-7 win over Robert Morris on Saturday afternoon. Unrelenting offense, seasoned veterans, and a stellar-looking freshman class cinched the opening day win for the Nittany Lions.
How It Happened
Penn State commanded the game early on, with Matt Florence’s first goal of the season coming in hot less than two minutes into play. Freshman Grant Ament fed the ball to Nick Aponte shortly after to give Penn State a 2-0 lead. Robert Morris let three more go unanswered from Ament, Chakey, and Brian Prestreau respectively. Goalie Will Schreiner almost managed a first-period shutout until the Colonials struck with 1:53 left. Florence wasn’t having that, and found the back of the net again to close the period out 6-1.
Robert Morris started the second period with a quick goal, narrowing its deficit to 6-2. After an uncharacteristically quiet first period, TJ Sanders woke up and found the back of the net twice-in-a-row for an 8-2 lead. Ament flexed his assisting prowess again, setting Mike Sutton up for a goal with 10:44 left in the second. Ament immediately did the same for Aponte’s second of the day, and Penn State enjoyed a comfortable 10-2 lead. Adding insult to Robert Morris’s injury, Florence and Sanders each tallied their third goals of the game for a pair of hat tricks and a 12-2 scoreboard. The goals just kept sliding in, and freshman Robby Black made it 13-2 with 5:42 left in the period. Prestreau’s second of the game closed out the period’s scoring, and Penn State rode into halftime with an offensive unit to be proud of.
Penn State’s freshman class struck again when Kevin Fox scored his first collegiate goal 21 seconds into the second half. Sanders netted his fourth, followed by Ament minutes later. Robert Morris left a whopping 11 goals unanswered until a breakaway finally gave it (a little) momentum with 7:02 left in the third period. The Colonials scored again, this time on the EMO, reducing Penn State’s lead to 17-4. At this point, Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni swapped Schreiner with freshman Trevor Scollins in net. The young class impressed again as Nick Spillane scored, prompting a Robert Morris timeout with 4:13 left in the third. Freshman Jimmy Nowoswiat got in on the action for a staggering 19-4 lead before the period’s end. Tambroni sent sophomore Hunter Pearl in between the posts, giving all starting-goalie contenders a chance.
Matt Donnelly scored his first unassisted, making a statement early in the final period. The period was largely uneventful until the Colonials had a late-game surge. In the final 2:45, they scored three including a buzzer-beater for a final score of 20-7.
Players Of The Game
While counting on rock-solid Sanders and Florence to notch hat tricks is fun, Penn State’s entire freshman class wins the day. Six freshmen netted their first collegiate goals and made us excited for the future in the process.
The Nittany Lions look for their second win of the season on Saturday, February 13 vs. Hobart at Holuba Hall.