Late Comeback Comes Up Short As No. 2 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Falls To No. 6 Yale 14-13
Some late-game heroics were not enough for No. 2 Penn State men’s lacrosse (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) as it fell to No. 6 Yale (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League) in a nail-biter on the road, 14-13.
Redshirt junior Grant Ament’s nine points (two goals and seven assists) led the Nittany Lions. Junior Mac O’Keefe also stayed red-hot by scoring five goals in the game.
How It Happened
Penn State started off hot offensively by scoring the game’s first two goals. One of his goals was assisted by sophomore Jack Kelly and the other came after an assist from O’Keefe. Yale, however, was able to tie the game at four by the end of the first quarter.
Yale came out firing in the second quarter and got out to a 7-5 lead thanks to goals from Matt Gaudet and Brendan Rooney. Mac O’Keefe scored for Penn State in the dying seconds of the first half, but Rooney responded 25 seconds later to put Penn State down by two after 30 minutes of play.
At the start of the second half, the Nittany Lions responded perfectly in the face of adversity for the first time this season. They scored two goals to tie the game at seven within the five minutes — one goal came from Kelly, and the other was scored by redshirt junior Dylan Foulds.
However, the Nittany Lions began to let the game slip away as Yale scored the next three goals of the game. O’Keefe answered with a goal after the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-7 lead, but Rooney would complete his hat trick to make the score 11-8 after three quarters.
Yale scored the first two goals of the final quarter and jumped out to its biggest lead of the afternoon. Despite being down by five goals, Penn State wouldn’t go down without a fight. One goal by redshirt freshman Dan Reaume and another two by senior Nick Spillane off of assists from Ament brought the team roaring back within two midway through the quarter.
The Bulldogs responded perfectly to the surge; Joseph Sessa scored less than a minute after Spillane made the score 13-11 to squash any momentum head coach Jeff Tambroni’s squad had developed.
One last charge by Penn State featured goals from O’Keefe and Grant Ament in the final four minutes of the contest, but it wouldn’t be enough to keep the Nittany Lions from falling to 3-1 this season.
- The game was supposed to come down to a battle of elite faceoff specialists in Penn State junior Gerard Arceri and Yale’s TD Ierlan. Ierlan dominated that battle; the Bulldogs won 25 out of 31 faceoffs taken on Saturday afternoon.
- Despite the ineffectiveness of Penn State at the faceoff X, the team was still in this game for all 60 minutes. This was in large part because of the potency of the team’s offense — Ament, O’Keefe, and their offensive crew might be the best in the nation at putting the ball in the back of the net. O’Keefe stayed hot after putting on a show with seven goals against Stony Brook. With five tallies today, O’Keefe leads the Nittany Lions with 19 goals in four games.
- Despite the final score, Saturday’s game was still encouraging for Penn State. The team hadn’t faced adversity yet this season, but that changed when trailing on the road against the defending national champion. Jeff Tambroni’s squad almost coming back from five down in the fourth quarter showed Penn State can compete with college lacrosse’s elite
Penn State will return to Panzer Stadium for a game against Penn next weekend. The game will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2.
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