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Late Goal Dooms Penn State Men’s Lacrosse In 16-15 Loss To No. 4 Cornell

Penn State men’s lacrosse (2-5) fell to No. 4 Cornell (5-0) 16-15 on Saturday in a disappointing late-game thriller. Despite trailing early 6-0, the Nittany Lions were able to make it a good game from the second quarter onward.

The Nittany Lions suffered particularly at the hands of Cornell’s John Paitelli, who scored the opening three goals and two more in the second half. Ethan Long served as Penn State’s hot hand with three goals and two assists, but his efforts weren’t enough to lead the team to victory.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions started off strong when Penn State won the faceoff via a violation. They failed to do much with the ball, however, and quickly gave up a turnover. That turnover resulted in a quick goal for Cornell, as Piatelli scored his ninth goal of the season to open the scoring. Within the first five minutes of action, Piatelli had scored twice more to give the Big Red a 3-0 lead.

Cornell followed up its goal with four shots — one blocked, one saved, and two that missed the net — before Penn State recovered a ground ball. Play lulled for a little bit as Penn State held possession but still failed to register one shot attempt before a turnover went Cornell’s way.

Soon after, Cornell found the back of the net again, as Matt Licciardi gave the team a four-point lead. CJ Kirst followed up with 4:44 left in the first quarter with a score of his own, prompting Penn State to call a timeout. At this point, Cornell had scored five times before the Nittany Lions shot once. Within 20 seconds of play, Cornell had put up the sixth goal, as Michael Long scored off an assist by Kirst.

With four minutes left in the first quarter, Penn State started shooting. Eventually, one found its way past Ierlan, as Jake Morin scored his second goal of the season. The Nittany Lions kept the momentum rolling, as Dan Reaume scored his eleventh of the season and first of the game, the score then standing at 6-2.

Penn State warmed up in the second quarter, getting shots off and drawing a penalty before Jeb Brenfleck scored the team’s third goal three minutes in. Nine seconds later, the Nittany Lions trimmed the lead to two points off of a goal by Ethan Long.

Both teams were unable to score for some time until Cornell’s Danny Boccafola gave his team its seventh goal with 5:45 left in the second quarter. After a faceoff violation turning into another penalty against Cornell, Mac Costin scored another man-up goal for Penn State to bring the game back within two points. After another faceoff penalty, Long scored his second goal to make it a one-score game.

Twelve seconds later, Grant Haus tied the game off an assist by Hudson Bohn, while Cornell called a timeout to stop the bleeding. The strategy didn’t work out, as Brenflek gave Penn State its first lead of the game with under two minutes left in the first half. Neither team would score in the remaining time, as the Nittany Lions went into the break with a tight lead.

Cornell came out looking to get back on track, as Piatelli opened the scoring for the second half with a goal in the first three minutes. After a Cornell faceoff victory, Hugh Kellener returned the lead to Cornell with a goal of his own to make the score 9-8. Piatelli then scored on the next possession, as Cornell looked hot again.

The two sides traded goals, as Michael Long scored twice for Cornell, broken up by a single goal from Penn State’s Costin late in the third quarter, as Cornell took a 12-9 lead. After Billy Coyle followed Long with another Cornell goal, Penn State tried to slow the game down with a timeout.

The call worked, as Jack Kelly got on the score sheet with a quick goal, bringing Penn State back within three points. While the Nittany Lions failed to score again in the quarter, they finished strong with five shots to try and give them some momentum entering the final fifteen minutes of regulation.

Even with the Nittany Lions putting their best foot forward, Cornell kept marching on, winning the faceoff to start the fourth quarter and following up with a goal. That four-point lead didn’t last long, though, as Brenfleck brought it to within three shortly after.

Following an unnecessary roughness call on Cornell, Will Peden got on the scoresheet with a shot to bring the Nittany Lions back within two points with just under 12 minutes left to play. Ethan Long followed with a shot to bring the game to one score. Soon after, Luke Mercer made it a 14-14 game with 8:38 left to play.

It took some time to recover for Cornell, but the team found its way into the net by way of Michael Long. Mercer recovered for the Nittany Lions just after with another goal to tie things up 15-15.

With under two minutes to play, Cornell found what it was looking for with a late goal by Aiden Blake. Blake’s score was the nail in Penn State’s coffin, as a turnover with just over a minute left sealed the deal for Cornell.


  • Penn State can’t afford such slow starts. The Nittany Lions were able to recover from their failures in the first half, but they could make up for it in the second half. They need to come out of the gate faster and more determined if they want some real success.
  • Aleric Fyock needs to be more consistent. Penn State’s goalie avoided a terrible game by making 16 saves while posting an even .500 save percentage. All the same, he would have had a tremendous game if he had avoided the opening salvo of six goals on six shots from the Big Red.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions travel upstate to take on Bucknell (5-0) on Tuesday, March 15. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a freshman journalism major at Penn State. He enjoys yelling into the void over things such as the Philadelphia Union, the United States Men's Nation Team (soccer), Eagles, and Penn State football, alongside whatever else comes to mind. Find (and disagree with him) on Twitter (Joe_Lister21).

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