Penn State Lacrosse’s Loss To Yale Reveals Telling Offensive Weaknesses

Penn State men’s lacrosse faced its first real test of the 2020 season last Saturday, when then-No. 3 Yale came to Panzer Stadium.

The Nittany Lions stumbled as the Bulldogs suffocated them en route to a 12-10 victory, as well as the top ranking in the country.

Although it was early in the season, and against a bona fide national championship contender, last week’s encounter may’ve raised some red flags; not least of which was the offense’s inefficiency.

While Penn State did a good job in limiting Yale to 12 goals, no Nittany Lion scored more than two goals. This was in large part due to Yale’s impressive coverage on leading scorer Mac O’Keefe, as well as assist king Grant Ament.

O’Keefe averaged over five goals per game in his teams’ 3-0 start to the non conference slate. Against Yale, O’Keefe scored just twice.

The same could be said for Ament– while his one-goal and five-assist haul was the same output as in the win over Saint Joseph’s, Ament appeared stifled against Yale.

As last Saturday showed, when Ament and O’Keefe are unable to dictate the offense, the Nittany Lions may be in trouble.

Players like Jack Kelly, Dylan Foulds, and TJ Malone have contributed as well, but this is usually due to the presence of O’Keefe and the vision of Ament. If these players get locked down, what then for the Nittany Lions?

Looking ahead, Penn State’s schedule gets no easier. Yale will be the toughest team on the docket all regular season, however just one week removed from that heavyweight clash, Penn State will be in Philadelphia to play No. 9 Penn.

Of the remaining nine games, five will be against currently ranked opponents.

There will be ample opportunities to work out the kinks on the offensive end. Most importantly, Penn State must have other players with the ability to control thing when their stars are closely guarded. Of course, any slip-up won’t bode well for the Nittany Lions’ postseason seed.

Penn State lacrosse fans have no reason to worry about their team — a two-point loss against one of the best teams in the nation isn’t a bad result, especially considering it came in late February. At the very least, it was good, early litmus test, and the result is surely one that’s more welcome in February than in May.

But if the team wants to make a deep run, then working role players into the offense will be critical to do as the season weighs on.

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About the Author

Otis Lyons

Otis is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He lives just north of San Francisco, and is a diehard San Jose Earthquakes fan. Feel free to send over your soccer hot takes to his twitter @otisnlyons1 and instagram @otislyons

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