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No. 1 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Takes Down No. 3 Maryland 13-10

No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse (8-1, 1-0 Big Ten) opened conference play with a doozy against No. 3 Maryland (8-2, 0-1 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions made a huge statement with a 13-10 victory in College Park, MD.

Jack Kelly led the way offensively with a hat trick while Mac O’Keefe, Nick Spillane, and Jack Traynor each chipped in with two goals. O’Keefe and Grant Ament picked up two assists as Penn State picked up its first victory over Maryland in program history.

Goalkeeper Colby Kneese made seven saves in the victory.

How It Happened

After a Maryland crease violation wiped out the Terps’ first goal of the game, Penn State’s Mac O’Keefe opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game. The star attackman’s 37th of the year was answered by Maryland’s Will Snider less than a minute later.

The Nittany Lions continued to get scoring from their depth pieces early — Jack Traynor got on the board to re-give his team the lead before Jack Kelly scored a nifty goal off a rebound to extend the Penn State advantage to 3-1 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni’s team continued its hot start by extending the lead to 8-1 thanks to goals from Traynor, Nick Spillane, Dylan Foulds, O’Keefe, and Kelly after 15 minutes of play.

O’Keefe’s second of the day was a beauty — he side-stepped a defender and absolutely unleashed a perfect shot into the top corner of the goal. Kelly scored his second of the game as he was falling to the ground 17 seconds later to cap off a dominant first quarter in College Park.

The second quarter got off to a quieter start before Grant Ament was shaken up following a hit in front of goal. Ament walked off the field under his own power favoring his right leg slightly, but he returned to action later.

Maryland finally opened the scoring in the second quarter with two goals in the final two minutes — Jared Bernhardt and Louis Dubick combined to trim the Terrapins’ deficit to 8-3 entering halftime.

Penn State conceded three goals in the first 6:03 of the second half. Maryland managed to cut its deficit to just a goal midway through the quarter, but Cole Willard scored to finally stop the bleeding. Willard’s third of the year ended a 6-0 run by the Terrapins and was the Nittany Lions’ first goal in nearly two quarters.

Dan Reaume added another tally before the end of the third quarter to extend the Penn State lead to 10-7 entering the final 15 minutes of action. Kelly kept the good times rolling and completed his hat trick just 26 seconds into the fourth quarter. His third of the evening gave the Nittany Lions a four-goal advantage.

Maryland got one back with 8:20 to play in the fourth quarter, but Penn State’s Nick Spillane answered 45 seconds later to re-extend the lead to 12-8. The back-and-forth final quarter continued with another Maryland goal with 6:48 on the clock followed by a low snipe by Nittany Lion TJ Malone, who buried his 19th of the year on the man advantage.

Penn State mostly held off a late rally, which included a minute-long unreleasable penalty, to improve to 8-1 and make a major statement of intent.

Takeaways

  • Penn State absolutely bamboozled the Terrapins in the first quarter. An eight-goal blitz stunned the third-ranked team in the country, but the Terps responded perfectly by shutting down the potent Penn State offense for the next quarter-and-a-half.
  • Jack Kelly had an excellent game on a huge stage. He scored a hat trick — including a crucial goal early in the fourth quarter to keep momentum on the Nittany Lions’ side — and provided Tambroni with an excellent outlet for depth scoring. The Mac O’Keefes and Grant Aments of the world have carried the load offensively, but they haven’t done so without the help of a fantastic supporting cast.
  • Maryland was 4-1 in games against top-ranked teams entering Sunday’s game, including a 15-11 victory over the No. 1 Nittany Lions in 2017. The Terrapins also held a 36-0 record against Penn State since lacrosse became a varsity sport at Maryland in 1924 — these footnotes make this quite a statement win for Tambroni’s men.

What’s Next

Penn State will return home for another crucial Big Ten game against No. 4 Ohio State next week. The game is slated to get started at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at Panzer Stadium and will air live on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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