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Mac O’Keefe Leads Penn State Men’s Lacrosse To 14-13 Overtime Win Over Michigan

Penn State men’s lacrosse (3-6) took down Michigan (2-7) 14-13 in overtime Friday evening on Senior Day at Panzer Stadium.

Mac O’Keefe and TJ Malone both had dominant performances to help lead Jeff Tambroni’s squad to a key victory. O’Keefe broke the NCAA men’s lacrosse goal scoring record during the afternoon, and even scored a few more after that to reach 217 career goals.

How It Happened

O’Keefe, assisted by Dylan Foulds, scored the first goal of the match, tying the NCAA goal record. Malone, assisted by O’Keefe, scored again for the Nittany Lions 30 seconds later, giving the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the period, Michigan halved the Nittany Lions lead. Kyle Stephenson scored, and Penn State’s lead had fallen to 2-1.

An interference call on Michigan’s Gavin Legg gave the Nittany Lions a 30-second man advantage. The team wasn’t able to capitalize on the man up, and shortly after it ended Michigan’s Tyler Papa scored to tie the game. Under a minute later, Canyon Birch gave the Nittany Lions the lead once again, 3-2.

Michigan’s Bryce Clay then found a lapse in Penn State’s defense and once again tied the game 3-3, and an eventful first period ended in a tie.

The second period started with a goal from Malone, assisted by Jack Kelly, 14 seconds into the period to kick it off with a 4-3 lead. The Wolverines tied the game 4-4 just over three minutes later, with a goal from Michael Boehm.

Boehm scored another goal minutes later, giving the Wolverines a 5-4 lead. Exactly 20 seconds later, Josh Zawada scored again for Michigan, giving the team a 6-4 lead.

Then, with 7:33 remaining in the second period, O’Keefe found the back of the net and broke the NCAA scoring record, netting his 213th career goal.

A penalty on Grant Haus for an illegal body check sent the Wolverines on the man advantage, but they weren’t able to regain their two goal lead.

Four minutes after his initial goal, O’Keefe, assisted by Malone, scored his career goal No. 214 to tie the game 6-6.With 12 seconds remaining in the period, Boehm scored once again to give the Wolverines the lead 7-6.

The third period started with another goal from TJ Malone to tie the game 7-7. Michigan’s Jake Bonomi responded to Malone’s goal, and once again Michigan was leading 8-7. 

Moments later, Grant McCurry upped Michigan’s lead to 9-7. Clay scored another goal for Michigan, giving the Wolverines a sudden three-goal lead. 

O’Keefe, assisted by Dan Reaume, scored his fourth goal of the game (215 career goals) to shorten Michigan’s lead 10-8. Michigan quickly responded to the goal, however, and Avery Myers kept the Nittany Lions trailing by three.

With 38 seconds remaining in the third, Michigan’s Ryan Schriber gave the Wolverines a 12-8 lead. Birch responded, however, with eight seconds remaining in the period to close the gap 12-9.

Malone kicked off the scoring in the fourth period, closing in on Michigan’s lead 12-10. Exactly two minutes later Reaume scored to make it a one-goal game. Seconds later, O’Keefe scored his fifth goal of the game to tie it 12-12. Foulds then gave the Nittany Lions a 13-12 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the period.

The Nittany Lions looked dominant during that period of the fourth quarter, scoring goals and allowing minimal turnovers.

But, with just under three minutes remaining in the final period, Michigan’s Jacob Jackson scored to tie the game and sent it to overtime. In the sudden-death period, O’Keefe scored the game winning-goal to give the Nittany Lions a 14-13 win on Senior Day.

Takeaways

  • Mac O’Keefe is now the leading NCAA men’s lacrosse goal scorer. This is a huge accomplishment for the New York native, who has been proclaimed the best scorer in college lacrosse. Justin Guterding, who plays for the Premier Lacrosse League’s Chrome, previously set the record during his senior season with Duke in 2018. Just three years later, O’Keefe has broken his record as a graduate student. Currently with 217 goals and counting, O’Keefe’s record may stand for a long time.
  • A close battle for most of the game, this is the first in the Nittany Lions’ last three contests that they haven’t trailed by more than seven. With only 18 turnovers in this game, it was marginally better than the team’s 23 against Rutgers last weekend. While the turnovers still resulted in Wolverine goals, it’s certainly a sign of improvement.
  • Better equipped to play a fellow unranked squad, Penn State was able to find a win. Talent like O’Keefe and Malone carried the game, with O’Keefe racking up eight points (six goals, two assists) and Malone racking up 7 (four goals, three assists).

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will face Ohio State at Ohio Stadium next Saturday, April 24 for their final regular season game of the season. That will be broadcast on ESPNU at 4:00 p.m.

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About the Author

Acacia Aster Broder

Acacia is a junior from Philadelphia majoring in digital and print journalism with a sports certificate. Although she considers herself a Philadelphian at heart, she is a Toronto and Seattle sports fan. Follow her on Twitter @acaciaaster or Instagram @acaciaastr for hockey takes and mediocre analysis.

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