No. 9 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Defeats Rutgers 13-7 On Senior Night
Penn State turned the tide by improving at the face-off circle and was able to down No. 14 Rutgers 13-4 behind a pair of hat tricks from Mac O’Keefe and Kevin Hill.
How It Happened
Penn State took control early by winning several crucial face-offs. Ryan Keenan gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead just two and a half minutes into the game, after he one timed a shot off a pass from Nick Aponte. Keenan nearly tallied again a minute later; however, the goal was disallowed due to a crease violation. Rutgers (9-4, 1-3 Big Ten) evened the score at 1-1 with just more than eight minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Freshman phenom Mac O’Keefe made it 2-1 in favor of Penn State after he riffled a howitzer off of the goal post and into the back of the net. Aponte cut hard for the net and thought he had scored but the Nittany Lions were called for yet another crease violation.
Kevin Hill extended the Nittany Lions lead to 3-1 after a creative hidden ball trick; Henry Rowengartner would be proud. With 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, Rutgers cut the deficit to 3-2 as a Scarlet Knight attacker was able to beat Penn State goalie Colby Kneese. Following a stoppage in play, O’Keefe netted his second goal of the evening to give Penn State a 4-2 lead. At the end of the first quarter, the Nittany Lions led 4-2.
Rutgers was the aggressor during the opening minutes of the second quarter and was able to disrupt the Nittany Lions offense. The Scarlet Knights halved the deficit and made it 4-3 with 8:10 left before the half. Hill answered right back for the Nittany Lions with his second of the night to make it 5-3. The next eight minutes would prove to be the deciding factor in the match.
Penn State won the ensuing face-off and wasted no time before making it 6-3 with seven minutes remaining in the quarter. Grant Ament added to the lead with a goal of his own to make it 7-3. The scoring frenzy would continue, as Mike Sutton beat the Rutgers goalie to make it 8-3.
O’Keefe had a goal waved off for crease violation after he weaved passed numerous defenders, leaving the Rutgers defensive unit looking like Swiss cheese. Following a Rutgers penalty, O’Keefe completed his hat trick and extended the lead to 9-3. With just four seconds left on the clock, Rutgers stopped the bleeding and tallied a goal to make it 9-4 at the half.
The third quarter featured back and forth action with both goaltenders making several fantastics saves. Neither team was able to notch any goals until there was only 6:36 remaining in the quarter, as Dan Craig scored on a quick release shot to make it 10-4. Shortly after, Hill scored his third of the night to make it 11-4 in favor of Penn State. At the end of the third quarter, Penn State held a 11-4 advantage.
Penn State picked up in the fourth quarter where it left off in the third and scored with in the first minute and a half . Keenan cut across the defense and bounced a shot past Rutgers goalie Max Edelmann to extend the lead to 12-4. The Nittany Lions struck again with just under twelve minutes left in the game, as Ament slotted one home to make it 13-4.
With seven minutes left, Rutgers scored its first goal of the second half to cut the deficit to 13-5. Four minutes later, Rutgers made it back-to-back goals to but it still trailed 13-6. Rutgers kept fighting back and made the game interesting after scoring to make it 13-7. At the end of regulation, the scoreboard read 13-7 in favor of Penn State.
- With this win, Penn State secured a spot in the four team Big Ten Championships in Baltimore.
- The Nittany Lions won the first seven face-offs which paid countless dividends. Penn State was constantly knocking on the doorstep and was able to sustain offensive zone pressure due to its success winning draws.
- Penn State got a strangle hold on the game during the second quarter. Out-scoring an opponent 5-2 during any stretch of a game has been proven to be beneficial to a team’s success.
- No hat was safe in the crowd today due to the hat tricks notched by Mac O’Keefe and Kevin Hill.
- Shoutout to Rutgers goalie being named Edelmann. Reminds me of a certain player on New England, go pats.
Penn State will conclude its regular season schedule on the road against Michigan next Sunday at 2 p.m.
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