No. 1 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Falls To No. 5 Yale 21-17 In Final Four
No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse (16-2, 7-0 Big Ten) and No. 5 Yale (15-3, 5-1 Ivy League) squared off in the second semifinal of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. The Nittany Lions’ magical 2019 season came to a close after Yale picked up a 21-17 win at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Grant Ament scored four goals and added four assists, Gerard Arceri scored a hat trick, and Dylan Foulds added four goals. However, Penn State never recovered from a dismal first quarter in which Yale jumped out to a 10-2 lead.
Junior goalkeeper Colby Kneese made nine saves in the defeat.
How It Happened
Yale couldn’t have asked for a better start to Saturday’s contest. The Bulldogs scored on each of their first three shots on target, and Penn State couldn’t even get its hands on the ball as TD Ierlan dominated the faceoff X.
Penn State finally found the back of the net on the man advantage midway through the first quarter. Nick Spillane’s 27th of the year was, however, quickly canceled out by six unanswered from Yale, which took a 10-2 lead after 15 minutes of play.
The second quarter was a completely different story for Penn State, which finally got its offense going. Mac O’Keefe, Grant Ament, Gerard Arceri, and Dylan Foulds combined to outscore Yale 7-2 and get the Nittany Lions back into the game.
O’Keefe scored his hat trick during the second quarter, and Gerard Arceri bounced back nicely to score twice directly off faceoff wins after getting dominated in the first quarter. Dylan Foulds made a nice swim move to the goal with 2:54 left in the frame to trim his team’s deficit to three entering the intermission.
The two teams traded three goals in 24 seconds to start the second half. Gerard Arceri’s third of the game was sandwiched between two Yale goals, but the teams’ attacks significantly slowed down after the 13:37 mark of the third quarter.
Yale’s Brendan Rooney stopped a five-minute long scoring drought with his 19th of the season midway through the quarter. The Bulldogs and Nittany Lions were then evenly matched throughout the remainder of the quarter, and both teams finished the frame with four goals to set up a 16-13 game entering the final 15 minutes of play. Ament, Arceri, Jack Kelly, and Dylan Foulds scored for Penn State during the third.
Penn State got off to a bad start in the fourth by conceding a goal less than a minute into the frame, and Yale’s Matt Brandau compiled the Nittany Lions’ misery by scoring three goals in 1:21 midway through the frame to all but secure his team’s spot in the national title game.
Grant Ament picked up his 30th goal of the season to stop the bleeding and Dylan Foulds added two late tallies. Those proved to be nothing more than consolation goals for Penn State.
- One word can sum up the first quarter of today’s game for Penn State: Yikes. The opening 15 minutes were nothing short of an unmitigated disaster as Penn State fell behind 10-1 at one point. Yale’s dominance in the faceoff X combined with poor defending and goalkeeping made the difference, and it was just too much to come back from.
- Lacrosse faceoffs have to be the single most unique action in sports. TD Ierlan dominated the X throughout Saturday’s game, but some of his battles with Gerard Arceri were so, so long. Their longest duel of the day lasted 52 seconds, and they also duked it out at midfield for 34 seconds on another occasion.
- Saturday’s defeat shouldn’t take away from how mind-bogglingly ridiculous Grant Ament’s season was. He set the NCAA’s record with 18 assists in a single tournament, and he tied the record with 25 points throughout the Big Dance. Ament has to be the favorite to win the Tewaaraton Award, which is college lacrosse’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.
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