No. 1 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Clinches Top Seed In Conference Tournament With 20-9 Victory Over No. 16 Johns Hopkins
No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse (11-1, 4-0 Big Ten) hosted No. 16 Johns Hopkins (6-6, 2-2 Big Ten) and won 20-9 on Sunday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions secured the top seed in the Big Ten tournament with today’s victory, which was powered by a balanced offensive effort. Jack Kelly scored four goals in the third quarter, Grant Ament also scored four, and Dylan Foulds added a hat trick to power the Penn State offense.
Junior goalkeeper Colby Kneese made nine saves for the Nittany Lions.
How It Happened
Penn State drew first blood when Grant Ament opened the scoring 1:17 into the game, but Johns Hopkins responded less than a minute later to tie the game at 1-1.
The scoring slowed down during the middle stages of the first quarter, but the Nittany Lions added three goals in 1:02 to take a 4-1 lead with five minutes to play in the first. Mac O’Keefe’s 46th of the season got the surge started, and Jack Kelly and Nick McEvoy gave their team a more comfortable advantage to work with.
Johns Hopkins thought it would enter the second quarter trailing by just two after stopping the bleeding with a goal, but Nick Spillane buried his 21st of the year with five seconds left in the opening 15 minutes to make the score 5-2.
Jeff Tambroni’s squad continued to pour it on throughout the second quarter. Kelly completed his hat trick within the first five minutes of the quarter, and Spillane added his second of the day to open up an 8-2 Penn State lead.
The Blue Jays and Nittany Lions traded goals throughout the final 10 minutes of the second quarter, and Penn State entered the half with a 9-4 lead.
Momentum stayed on Johns Hopkins’ side when it struck early in the third to trim the deficit to 9-5, but Ament answered by completing his hat trick and extending the Nittany Lion lead to five. Gerard Arceri did it all himself on the ensuing faceoff, scooping up the ball before running straight towards goal and bouncing a shot into the top corner to give Penn State an 11-5 advantage midway through the third.
The Nittany Lions extended the lead to seven goals after Jack Traynor finished off a pretty passing play with a slam dunk right in front of goal. Traynor’s ninth of the year was assisted by Ament, who somehow hadn’t picked up a helper until 7:15 remained in the third quarter.
Johns Hopkins started to crawl back into the game with two quick goals late in the third, but Dylan Foulds scored a natural hat trick in 1:38 to quickly squash any Blue Jay momentum. The third ended with Tambroni’s men holding a comfortable 16-7 lead.
The Nittany Lions polished off a dominant victory with fourth-quarter goals from Jack Traynor, senior captain Chris Sabia, Grant Ament, and Seamus Glynn.
- Grant Ament was named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list for his playmaking abilities, but those really weren’t on display against Johns Hopkins. The fact that Penn State’s offense fired on all cylinders while Ament was held without an assist for more than half of the game is a testament to the scoring depth on this team.
- Speaking of scoring depth, Penn State’s two attacking stars didn’t need to have great days for their team to run riot. Ament and Mac O’Keefe combined to score five goals and four assists while players like Dylan Foulds and Jack Kelly stepped up and played very well.
- Penn State has to be the favorite to win the conference tournament after securing the No. 1 seed with today’s victory.
Penn State will wrap up the regular season against Rutgers at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at Panzer Stadium.
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About the Author
Penn State’s magical 2019 season came to a close in heartbreaking fashion at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
It’s hard not to draw parallels between this year’s lacrosse team and a couple other Nittany Lion teams that have used the City of Brotherly Love as a launching pad to sustained success.
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