Men’s Lacrosse Knocks Off No. 7 Harvard 13-12 In OT
While students away in places like Mexico and the Bahamas enjoy the final moments of Spring Break 2016, Penn State men’s lacrosse got back to action in State College against No. 7 Harvard on ESPNU. Coming off two consecutive losses, the Nittany Lions now own a two game winning steak after knocking off Furman on the road, and coming back to their home turf to make a statement against one of the nation’s top teams.
How It Happened
The action picked up quickly on a pristine spring morning in State College, but the Lions faced an early deficit in the first quarter after a pair of quick Crimson goals before the 10 minute mark in the first quarter. Junior attacker Nick Aponte chipped away at the Harvard lead with an absolute beauty around the seven minute mark to make it 2-1. After another one from the Harvard side, the Nittany Lions racked off two consecutive goals to knot it up at 3-3, and sent another home from the stick of Matt Florence to give the Lions a lead. Penn State extended the run to 4-0 after freshman Grant Ament ripped one true to make it 5-3. Another just before the quarter break made it 6-3, and had the Nittany Lions riding a wave of momentum.
The second quarter brought yet another Penn State goal, but finally the Crimson rallied and composed themselves to break up the stunning offensive run by Penn State to make it 8-4. Senior attacker T.J. Sanders ripped one home shortly after to net a hat trick, but with 4:50 remaining, Harvard answered the call again to remain within striking distance trailing by four. Aponte answered another Harvard goal with one of his own just before halftime to make it 10-6 Penn State, but the Crimson were able to make it a two goal game by the end of the half.
Scoring was few and far between in the second half, but two consecutive Penn State goals from Mike Sutton and Dan Craig made it 12-8 Penn State, and that’s exactly how the third quarter would end. The Nittany Lions held the typically prolific Crimson goalless in the third frame, but unfortunately the Lions would face the same fate in the final quarter.
Three consecutive goals put Harvard in the driver’s seat, and one more before the two minute mark tied the game up at 12-12, but a fast break chance in the game’s waning seconds nearly put the Lions on top before the end of regulation, but the two teams would need overtime to settle the score. A beautiful pass to Aponte on the left side opened the door for the stellar attacker to finish the drive off himself. He charged the net hard, tiptoeing before the crease and sending home a rocket to win it for Penn State as the players spilled onto the field in celebration.
Player Of The Game
T.J. Sanders | A | Sr.
Though Aponte won it for the Lions, it was Sanders who netted the hat trick and steadied the offensive attack all game long. He set the tone in the first half, and we take our hats off and salute the senior star for his commendable performance against one of the nation’s best.
The Lions get the week off and will resume play on Saturday, March 19 at noon against UMass in University Park.