No. 1 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Takes Down No. 7 Ohio State 13-8 At Home
No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse (9-1, 2-0 Big Ten) took care of business in front of its newly-minted ‘Panzemonium’ student section against No. 7 Ohio State (7-2, 0-2 Big Ten) with a 13-8 victory on Sunday night.
Junior Mac O’Keefe and sophomore Cole Willard each registered hat tricks, and redshirt junior Grant Ament paced Penn State with his eight points (two goals, six assists).
Junior goalkeeper Colby Kneese made 14 saves in the Nittany Lions’ first Big Ten game at Panzer Stadium.
How It Happened
Sophomore Brian Townsend was the first player to find the net to put the Nittany Lions on the board first. Cole Willard followed that up with his first of three goals on the night. However, the Buckeyes responded with two goals of their own as part of a back-and-forth first quarter. TJ Malone continued his stellar freshman season with his 18th goal of the year, and the game was all square at 3-3 after 15 minutes of play.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni’s squad started to pull away in the second quarter. The team got off to another great start with three straight goals, two of which were scored by O’Keefe in the first five minutes. The sharpshooter completed his hat trick by the end of the quarter to help Penn State take a 7-4 lead into the intermission.
Redshirt junior Dylan Foulds started the third quarter off the right way for Penn State with his 19th goal this season. The Nittany Lion lead was cut down to just two after Ohio State scored a couple of goals in the response. However, senior Nick Spillane responded with a goal of his own, and the Nittany Lions held a 10-7 lead entering the final 15 minutes of play.
Grant Ament added to his already loaded stat line of six assists four minutes into the final quarter by scoring his first goal of the game. Willard completed his hat trick later in the quarter, and Ament would seal the victory for Penn State with a long-range empty netter.
The Nittany Lions polished off a 13-8 victory to once again establish themselves as the nation’s top dogs. Tambroni’s team improved to 9-1 on the year with each of its last two victories coming against top 10 opponents.
- Penn State simply knows how to start each quarter the right way. It’s tough to beat the No. 1 team in the country under any circumstances, but conceding early goals made an already-tough task even more difficult for the Buckeyes.
- Grant Ament got back on track after a quieter game against Maryland. He scored eight (8!) points in the victory and ran the show offensively throughout the game. Ament’s innate ability to find his teammates with precise passes guided the Nittany Lions past the Buckeyes.
- The offensive supporting cast has been a key part of Penn State’s rise to the top of college lacrosse’s rankings, and it showed up once again on Sunday. While guys like Ament, Mac O’Keefe, and Nick Spillane were excellent, players like Cole Willard, Dylan Foulds, Brian Townsend, and TJ Malone also gave the team a much-needed boost to get past Ohio State.
No. 1 Penn State will head back on the road for a matchup against Michigan. The game is slated to begin at 12 p.m. Saturday in Ann Arbor.
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About the Author
Penn State earned a ranking in the preseason AP Top 25 poll for the third consecutive season.
The past five No. 15s in the preseason AP Top 25 poll have been a mixed bag of seven-loss mediocrity and 9-4 records, but the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs proved that starting at No. 15 isn’t all bad.
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