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No. 8 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Upsets No. 3 Cornell 10-6

Penn State men’s lacrosse (5-1) knocked off No. 3 Cornell (4-1) 10-6 Saturday afternoon in Ithica, New York. 

Matt Traynor paced the Nittany Lions with three goals, including a pair of early strikes to give the upset-minded unit early momentum on the road. With the victory, Penn State now has three wins over top-10 in just six games.

How It Happened

The low-scoring affair began with back-and-forth possession alterations, with neither squad establishing continuity in the offensive zone. 

Nearly eight minutes into the bout, Matt Traynor put Penn State on the board first, helping the upset-minded Nittany Lions take a 1-0 lead. The first-quarter score amounted to Traynor’s 15th goal of the campaign in less than six-full games. 

Just 45 seconds later, Billy Coyle matched Traynor’s skillset with a score of his own, tying the battle up at 1-1 midway through the opening sequence. From there, the Nittany Lions rattled off four more attempts but didn’t find the back of the net until the 3:05 mark in the opening frame. 

Traynor put Penn State back up 2-1 late in the first quarter, taking a slim edge into the second 15-minute stretch. At the 9:41 mark, Traynor buried yet another goal, which gave the sophomore an early hat trick on the outing. 

Penn State’s offense continued to press, highlighted by ripping off a flurry of attempts before Jake Morin led the charge with a gaol, extending the lead to a 4-1 margin. Minutes later, Coyle answered the bell to help Cornell stave off the first-half setback. With Coyle’s 13th goal of the year, Penn State took a 4-2 edge into the locker room. 

Coyle’s goal led a three-straight score charge for the Big Red, classified by goals from Hugh Kelleher and CJ Kirst to tie the bout at four-a-piece. From there, Penn State’s Luke Mercer, TJ Malone, and Chris Jordan matched Cornell’s attack with three unanswered goals of their own to take a 7-4 lead. 

Within the final two minutes of the third quarter, Cornell ripped off two clutch goals, courtesy of Kirst and Andrew Dalton. Entering the final frame, Penn State held a slim 7-6 advantage. 

Mac Costin led the charge early in the fourth quarter with a goal at the 12:52 time stamp, making the score 8-6 with limited time remaining. Costin’s momentum carried Penn State forward, as it was later channeled by Jack Traynor. The Downington native found the back of the net twice in the last seven minutes, bringing the score to a 10-6 clip. 

After holding the nation’s No. 3 ranked team scoreless across the last quarter, Penn State concluded the matchup with a convincing 10-6 upset. 


  • Defense wins championships, and with the Nittany Lions’ steady backline, Penn State seems as though it’s in line to make a push for the Big Ten regular season crown. Jeff Tambroni’s group limited Cornell to just 40 shots compared to 52 from the blue and white. Moreover, Penn State forced 16 turnovers on the outing. 
  • The Traynor brothers willed Penn State yet another victory offensively, highlighted by a three-goal showing from Matt and another two-score day from Jack. In total, the duo compiled eight shots on net, proving their prowess against another top-ranked opponent.

What’s Next?

Penn State will return to the Empire State next week for a neutral-site showing with Marquette. The Nittany Lions will take on the Golden Eagles at noon on Saturday, March 18. 

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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