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Despite Huge Comeback Effort, Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Falls 13-12 To Villanova

Penn State men’s lacrosse (1-1) fell in the second game of its young season 13-12 to Villanova (1-0) in a dramatic comeback performance at Panzer Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions closed a five-goal Villanova lead in the second half from contributions by leaders Jack Kelly and Jack Traynor.

How It Happened

Head coach Jeff Tambroni rolled out a young lineup full of freshmen and first-time starters. The Nittany Lions turned over the first possession of the game to Villanova after a face-off violation to open the game.

Each team had one possession before ultimately, the Wildcats got on the scoreboard first. Villanova’s Brett Baskin was able to beat Penn State goalie Aleric Fyock to take the first lead over the home team.

The Nittany Lions seemed to have some trouble from midfield after back-to-back face-off violations. Villanova was able to capitalize on these Penn State errors and maintain possession throughout the first quarter.

The Wildcats added to their lead immediately when Matt Campbell found the back of the net in the 11th minute. Austin Fraser was the next Wildcat to sneak a shot past Fyock and create an early 3-0 lead for Villanova.

Penn State won its first face-off of the match and took advantage of the possession. Redshirt senior Dan Reaume was the first Nittany Lion to score on Saturday afternoon to bump the score to 3-1 in favor of Villanova.

After trading possession, Fyock began to get in his rhythm and dominate in the net. Villanova had several offensive opportunities to extend its lead, but Fyock was a presence between the pipes.

Wildcat Patrick Daly was the first to beat Fyock after several scoring attempts from Villanova to extend its lead to 4-1. Penn State immediately responded when freshman Nils Barry scored his fourth goal of the season to lock the Nittany Lions in at 4-2.

After several turnovers from both the Nittany Lions and the Wildcats, fifth-year senior Jack Kelly broke the seven-minute goal drought with two seconds remaining in the quarter. The Nittany Lions went into the break trailing one goal, but leading in terms of momentum sitting at 4-3.

Daly notched another goal for the Wildcats to open up the scoring in the second quarter. Villanova maintained possession for the majority of the second quarter with little offensive energy from the Nittany Lions. Promising attempts from Kelly weren’t enough to break the Wildcats’ two goal lead.

Daly extended Villanova’s lead and beat Fyock in a one-on-one situation midway through the second quarter. Penn State won its first face-off immediately after Daly’s goal and created its first long bout of possession as a result. However, turnovers were a blight to Tambroni’s lineup and the Nittany Lions failed to convert.

The goals just kept coming for Villanova’s senior attacker Daly as he extended the Wildcat lead to four. J.P Basile immediately followed Daly on Villanova’s next possession and scored to lead the Nittany Lions 8-3.

Penn State scored its first two goals of the quarter in back-to-back possessions with less than one minute remaining in the half. Reaume and Jack Traynor each scored goals to send the Nittany Lions into the locker room trailing only by three goals at 8-5.

Penn State grabbed the first face-off of the second half, and freshman Hudson Bohn immediately turned the ball over and the Wildcats were able to score right out of the gates. Traynor immediately responded with a goal of his own to update the scoreboard at 9-6 in favor of Villanova.

Redshirt freshman Jeb Brenfleck picked up his first goal of the season midway through the third quarter after a long Nittany Lion possession. Penn State worked its way around the crease and Brenfleck finally found the back of the net with dwindling time on the shot clock.

Traynor earned a hat-trick with five minutes remaining in the third quarter off an assist from Mac Costin. Only seconds later, Bohn won the face-off and ran straight through the Villanova lineup and sent a shot flying past keeper Vitton. Penn State picked up two goals in a matter of seconds to tie the game at 9-9 in a comeback quarter.

The Nittany Lions grabbed their first lead of the game with a key goal from Kelly. The energy was high in Panzer Stadium and was obviously a factor as the Penn State’s energy only increased sitting at 10-9 to close out the third quarter.

Wildcat Tucker Goodelle tied the game back up at 10-10 to start out the final quarter of the afternoon. There was lots of back and forth action from both teams following Goodelle’s goal until Villanova took the lead with under seven minutes remaining. Luke Keating beat Fyock in the Nittany Lions’ net to take the 11-10 lead.

Three minutes later, Traynor notched his eighth goal of the season to tie the game once again at 11-11. The unassisted goal came with five minutes left to play in some serious score and response action. Daly picked up the next goal seconds later to regain a 12-11 Villanova lead.

Will Peden added to the scoreboard next for Penn State to tie the game, but Villanova immediately responded to take the lead at 13-12 with exactly one minute remaining. The Nittany Lions won the next critical face-off in a final attempt to tie the Wildcats.

A last-minute effort from the Nittany Lions wasn’t enough, despite a huge comeback performance at Panzer Stadium.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s defense did not look slow in any way on Saturday afternoon, but couldn’t keep up with Villanova. Turnovers, face-off violations, and inexperienced starters plagued the Nittany Lion lineup and created a serious first-half slump.
  • Second-half team? Villanova’s performance never wavered throughout the second half, but a flip switched midway through the third quarter for the Nittany Lions. Between the energy of younger players and knowledge of veterans on the team, the importance of a high second-half intensity is not lost on the Penn State squad.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will remain in Happy Valley for their third-straight home game on Wednesday, February 16. Tambroni’s squad will face-off against Vermont at 3 p.m. from Panzer Stadium.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a sophomore journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She also talks about random, fun stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese, naps, and Kevin Jonas. If you would like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @lammkeeley or send your best Spotify playlist to her email keeley@onwardstate.com.

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