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Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Takes Down No. 18 Johns Hopkins 11-8

Penn State men’s lacrosse (2-4) defeated No. 18 Johns Hopkins (2-4) 11-8 during a rainy matchup at Panzer Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Mac O’Keefe scored four goals in the game for Penn State and Gerard Arceri won 15 of 19 draws at the faceoff X. Colby Kneese was massive for Penn State, making 15 saves in the victory.

Hopkins’ big guns were quiet, but Cole Williams had two goals and one assist for the Blue Jays. Josh Kirson made nine saves in the loss.

How It Happened

The Blue Jays started the game fast when Jacob Angelus dodged and weaved his way through the Penn State defense and put a shot past Colby Kneese for the early 1-0 lead. The first five Penn State possessions resulted in four turnovers and no goals. The game was a track meet in the early going, with both teams trying to play fast in transition.

Kneese started the game strong, making two good saves in the first six minutes of the game. Both teams had a lot of early possession and moved the ball well, but had trouble finding the finishing touch. That would be the trend until Mark Sickler put a bouncing shot past Josh Kirson to make it a 1-1 game with around five minutes left in the first quarter.

Penn State started to get going when a minute later, Mac O’Keefe got involved in the action, burying an outside shot past Kirson to give Penn State a 2-1 advantage. Hopkins quickly responded with two goals from Cole Williams and Angelus again to make it a 3-2 game with just under two minutes left in the quarter.

The final action of the quarter came when O’Keefe rifled a shot from the outside again past Kirson to tie the game at three. Concerningly for the Nittany Lions, they committed six turnovers in the opening quarter. Both goalies started strong in the game, making four saves each in the first frame.

Both teams committed penalties at the start of the second quarter, but Hopkins was the only team that took advantage when Joey Epstein placed a shot perfectly past Kneese to extend the lead to 4-3. TJ Malone responded for the Nittany Lions, making it a 4-4 game with 10:35 left in the half. Dylan Foulds scored a minute later off a nice feed from Malone to give Penn State its first lead of the game at 5-4.

The Penn State run continued when Jack Traynor, who returned from injury in this game, scored his first goal of the season to make it a 6-4 Penn State advantage. A minute later, Foulds buried his second goal of the game to make it 7-4 and extend the Nittany Lions’ scoring run to 4-0.

The rain began to pour as the half came to a close with Penn State holding a 7-4 lead. It was the most goals Hopkins allowed in a half all season and the most complete half Penn State played in 2021. Still, the Nittany Lions committed 11 turnovers in the first half.

Hopkins stopped the bleeding at the start of the second half, when Garrett Degnon scored his ninth goal of the season to make it 7-5. The Blue Jays continued to hammer the Nittany Lions and Epstein scored his second goal of the game to make it 7-6 with 9:33 left in the quarter.

The weather started to become a factor in State College, with both teams committing turnovers due to the wind and rain. The weather didn’t matter for Malone, however, as he found a way to score while on the ground surrounded by three Blue Jays to make it an 8-6 Penn State lead. Williams responded a minute later to make it 8-7 with three minutes left in the third quarter. That would be the final action of the third frame, as Penn State held a slim 8-7 lead into the final quarter.

It didn’t take long in the fourth quarter for the Blue Jays to tie the game as Degnon fired his second goal home with 13 minutes left in the game. Three minutes later, a big save from Kneese released the Nittany Lions in transition and O’Keefe found twine to make it 9-8 Penn State.

Kneese continued to be massive in the cage for Penn State, making highlight-reel save after highlight-reel save. With five minutes left in the game, Penn State was giving an unreleasable, one-minute man-up advantage for a high hit. O’Keefe made the Blue Jays pay, scoring his fourth goal of the game to make it 10-8 Penn State.

The man-up was still in play after the O’Keefe goal and Traynor scored a monumental goal with 4:14 left in the game to give Penn State a three-goal advantage. That would be enough as Penn State held on for the 11-8 victory.

Key Takeaways

  • Colby Kneese was by far the player of the game for the Nittany Lions. After making only 46 saves through the first five games of the season, Kneese made 15 saves in the win. The sign of a good goalie is someone who can make saves they shouldn’t be making and he did that all game. It’s great to see for Kneese, who had a rough start to the season.
  • Gerard Arceri was also massive in the faceoff X for the Nittany Lions. The veteran won 15 out of 19 draws that he took. Especially as the game wound down, his draw wins helped Penn State hold possession and kill off the game. Arceri is another player who struggled early this season despite high expectations, so it’s great to see him have a big game in the victory.
  • It’s very rare that you commit 22 turnovers and win a game in the Big Ten, but Penn State did that. It wasn’t pretty, but Penn State likely won’t care. After being embarrassed by Hopkins two weeks ago, it was a great morale boost for Jeff Tambroni, who won his 200th career game, and his squad. If Penn State wants to keep it rolling, it needs to play a cleaner game as the season goes on.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to College Park to face off against No. 3 Maryland on Saturday, April 3. The game is slated to start at 1 p.m and will be broadcast on BTN+.

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About the Author

Connor Donohue

Connor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from the great state of New Jersey and is proud of it. Lover of the greatest city in the world, New York City, he strongly dislikes the city of Philadelphia and will not hesitate to tell you that. He's also been cursed as a Penn State fan since birth. If you want to call him a bum or maybe go out on a date with him, follow him on twitter @ConnorDonohue00 or email him at [email protected]

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