Men’s Lacrosse Upsets No. 1 Denver 15-10 In 2016 Patriot Cup
Penn State men’s lacrosse (6-3) traveled to Dallas on Saturday to try to close out its non-conference schedule with a win in a matchup against the top-ranked, and defending national champion, Denver Pioneers (7-1). The Nittany Lions upset the Pioneers 15-10 at SMU’s Gerald Ford Stadium, snapping Denver’s 20-game winning streak in the process.
How It Happened
In the first four minutes of the opening quarter, TJ Sanders fed Brian Prestreau for Penn State’s first goal of the game, but it was automatically answered by Denver to tie the score 1-1. After a decent chunk of time, the Pioneers moved ahead of the Lions 2-1 with a score at the 10:23 minute mark. Two minutes later, Denver notched another goal and went up 3-1. But with just 30 seconds to play in the opening frame, TJ Sanders capped his second point of match off of a perfect feed from Ryan Keenan’s stick to pull Penn State within one. At the end of the opening quarter, the Nittany Lions trailed 3-2 to Denver, but managed to force a penalty against the Pioneers that would give them the man-advantage after the break.
Sanders tallied his second goal of the game in just the first 30 seconds of the second frame, cutting into the Pioneers defense and giving the Lions a 4-3 lead. A short minute later led to Denver tying the game back up 4-4. Penn State was eager to stop the constant answers, so Keenan notched a goal of his own from way out of his opponent’s net. Dan Craig also miraculously went behind his head for a score thanks to a pass from Sanders, boosting the Nittany Lions’ lead to 6-4, and possibly landing him a spot on SportCenter’s coveted top-10 plays. But Penn State wasn’t done piling it on. While taking their largest lead of the game, the Lions’ Kevin Hill fired a rocket past Denver’s net-minder off of a lucky rebound to raise the score 7-4. A couple of goals by both teams ended the second quarter, with Penn State leading 8-6.
Another Keenan score off of the stick of Nick Aponte improved the Lions lead to 9-6 in the third, but the Pioneers had an answer once again, tallying a goal to bring them to within two. A hat trick goal by Craig, Ament’s first score of the match, and Keenan’s pretty no-look tally brought Penn State’s lead to 12-7 as it roared into the fourth quarter. Three more scores by the Lions overshadowed Denver’s few late scores, driving Penn State to a brilliant upset-victory over the No. 1 Pioneers.
Player Of The Game
Dan Craig | Junior | Midfielder
Craig was a goal-scoring machine, recording nifty a hat trick performance against a notable and championship-caliber Denver defense. His relentless success on the scoreboard turned heads in Dallas as the midfielder took advantage of every opportunity given to him. Craig created tons of offensive opportunity with his talented athleticism and was key in Penn State’s take down of a NCAA giant.
The Nittany Lions travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in their first Big Ten conference matchup of the 2015-16 season Sunday, April 3. Face-off is slotted for noon eastern time and will air on ESPNU.
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