Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Falls Out Of Big Ten Tournament With 16-8 Loss To Johns Hopkins
No. 5-seeded Penn State men’s lacrosse (3-10, 1-4 Big Ten) fell 16-8 to No. 4-seeded Johns Hopkins (6-8, 2-3 Big Ten) in the Big Ten Tournament.
Despite solid goalkeeping from Jack Fracyon and an intense third period, the Nittany Lions were unable to consistently respond to the Blue Jays.
How It Happened
Neither team was able to score on their opening possession, but Penn State was able to draw first blood on its second attack, as Kyle Aldridge bounced his shot into the Blue Jays’ net.
Some good saves from Fracyon and poor shooting from Johns Hopkins allowed Penn State to keep its lead, but after the Nittany Lions went a man-down, Johns Hopkins capitalized with the tying goal just past halfway through the first period.
The Blue Jays held onto possession through most of the remaining minutes of the first period, as they rang shots off the crossbar and won toss-up calls for possession. However, they were only able to work six of their 14 shots on net. Eventually, the Blue Jays struck again with six seconds remaining in the period to take their first lead of the game.
Johns Hopkins opened up the scoring in the second period, as Joey Epstein scored while penalty flags flew against Penn State’s Brett Funk. Just over two minutes later, the Blue Jays increased their lead with a 4-1 scoreline, while the Nittany Lions struggled to produce anything on offense. At this point in the game, Johns Hopkins had taken 21 shots to Penn State’s five.
The Blue Jays continued adding to their lead, as Epstein scored his second goal on a loop around the Penn State defense, forcing the Nittany Lions to call a timeout halfway through the second period.
The timeout wouldn’t help Penn State, as it quickly gave up its 10th turnover of the game a few seconds later. Soon after, Johns Hopkins’ Garrett Degnon gave his team a 6-1 lead, and five seconds later Tyler Dunn gave it a 7-1 lead.
Penn State ended its scoring drought of 26 minutes as Mark Sickler brought the deficit back to five goals in the final minute of the first half. Neither team was able to improve on their scoreline, as they went into the half with the score 7-2.
Johns Hopkins didn’t waste time in the second half, as it scored an alley-oop-esque goal on its first possession. On the other side, Ethan Long responded with a rifle after escaping two Blue Jay defenders. A few minutes later, Sickler scored his second goal to make the score 8-4 and Johns Hopkins called a timeout.
Johns Hopkins responded well out of the break, as Brendan Grimes improved the lead with an unguarded shot halfway through the third period. Two minutes later, Epstein earned a hat trick along with his 100th career goal for the Blue Jays as their lead improved to 10-4.
Penn State cut the lead back to five goals as Matt Traynor opened his scoring career with a heavy shot from distance. Seconds later, Jake Morin cut the lead to four goals.
Johns Hopkins took its time to score with two men-up, but eventually found a goal with a few seconds left on Penn State’s penalties. Just seconds later, Scott Smith gave the Blue Jays their 12th goal as they led by six goals.
Will Peden responded for Penn State, as both sides continued to run up the scoreline with just seconds remaining in the third period. As the two sides entered the last fifteen minutes, the score stood at 12-7.
That score would last long, as Johnathan Peshko gave Johns Hopkins another six-goal lead 47 seconds into the period. Another goal from Degnon gave the Blue Jays their biggest lead of the day, as they led 14-7 with just under 12 minutes left.
Penn State continued to try and battle back, as Dan Reaume scored what was likely his final goal in a Nittany Lion uniform.
It took some time for either side to score again, but with just over one minute remaining Hunter Jaronski gave the Blue Jays a seven-goal lead. With time winding down, Connor DeSimone scored the final goal of the game, as Johns Hopkins defeated Penn State 16-8.
- Fracyon had a fantastic game, as he reached a new season-high for saves, keeping 17 balls out of his net.
- Penn State’s season is most likely over, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the program. Despite consistent struggles throughout the year, the core of the team is still young. Fracyon, who has played well in goal all year, is a freshman, as is the Nittany Lions’ points leader, Will Peden.
- To its credit, Penn State looks motivated coming out of the locker room at halftime. After struggling in the second period, they looked ready to win in the third.
Penn State is eliminated from contention in the Big Ten Tournament. It’s unlikely that its name will be called on May 8 for an NCAA Tournament selection, so the Nittany Lions presumably won’t take the field again until next February.
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About the Author
Michael Botte decided to combine his refound passion for music and his love for Penn State football in a new country rock release.
From the rainy conditions to beer sales in Beaver Stadium, it was a chaotic Saturday in State College.