No. 10 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Falls 13-10 To No. 2 Maryland
No. 10 Penn State men’s lacrosse (5-3, 0-1 Big Ten) was defeated by Maryland (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) in its Big Ten season opener on Saturday afternoon in College Park.
The Nittany Lions went down early when Maryland claimed a five-goal lead and controlled the tempo. Penn State managed to come back with four unanswered goals but struggled to find holes in the Terrapin’s play or keep up with their speed.
Jack Traynor led the game with four points but Penn State’s usual offensive power was held back by Maryland. The Terrapins caused turnovers all game long and dominated ground balls to break up Penn State’s momentum.
How It Happened
Penn State won the opening face-off and immediately attacked the Terrapins’ defense, but its attempts went wide. TJ Malone grabbed a rebound to score his classic over-the-shoulder goal just a minute into play and earn the lead.
Maryland came back with a vengeance and tested goalie Jack Fracyon with nine shots before finding a breakthrough via Zach Whittier. Eric Kolar then found room inside Penn State’s defense and shot it low past Fracyon to put Maryland up 2-1.
The Nittany Lions won a man-up opportunity and Jack Traynor was left unmarked at the top for an easy rocket into the top corner past goalie Brian Ruppel. A minute later, the Traynor brothers connected as Jack Traynor was once again open and scored a quick goal at the near post to give Penn State a 3-2 lead.
Eric Spanos rolled past the defense and scored on the crease for the Terrapins with under a minute left. They won the face-off and Dante Trader ran straight down the middle in an open lane to push one past Fracyon a mere 13 seconds later. Kyle Long followed up on the momentum for Maryland and sped past Penn State’s defense to shoot against the crease and score to end the first quarter 5-3.
Maryland won the first face-off of the second quarter and it scored a quick goal 12 seconds in through Trader. It scored two more goals within 11 seconds to extend its lead to 8-3.
Penn State found its first goal with 12:44 left in the quarter as Kevin Winkoff skipped the ball across the defense to hit the back of the net. Penn State received an offside foul and the Terrapins went a man-up. They capitalized off this opportunity and Owen Murphy scored to reclaim the four-goal lead.
The Nittany Lions held possession on offense and Matt Traynor rolled alongside the crease to sneak one past Ruppel. Malone followed up with his own strong crease roll and goal four minutes later.
Mac Costin ran past his defenders on the right side and snuck one low into the net. Less than a minute later, Jack Traynor gained his hat trick and scored a high goal past Ruppel’s head to put Penn State within one at 9-8.
Jack Koras bounced the ball past Fracyon with four seconds left to end the half 10-8 for Maryland.
Jack Traynor started the second half for Penn State with a long-shot goal that had no chance of being saved. Koras came back for Maryland and scored against the crease as Penn State’s defense watched. Shots were traded from both sides as Ruppel continued to deny the Nittany Lions. Fracyon posted big saves, refusing to give up any ground balls and even stuffing his opponents.
The last few minutes of the third quarter were dominated by Maryland as it won the ground balls and caused turnovers to stay on the attack, pressuring Fracyon and the Penn State defense. Neither team found a breakthrough and the third quarter ended 11-9.
The Nittany Lions won the face-off and shot wide before turning the ball over. Maryland waited for its breakthrough and Long scored to end the 15-minute drought. Penn State went a man-up but failed to capitalize and quickly turned the ball over. Koras gained a hat trick for the Terrapins to extend their lead to four with 5:30 to play.
Penn State scored as Winkoff tip-toed past the crease to sneak it into the back of the net, decreasing its deficit to three to close the game.
- Penn State struggled with face-offs again today. Chase Mullins and Hudson Bohn took turns, but neither could dominate. Penn State won only eight face-offs out of 27, a problem that halted its momentum all game and allowed Maryland to manufacture easy transitions.
- Maryland continuously scored through its transition game. It moved quickly as a unit and had Penn State tripping all game long. While the Nittany Lions’ defense posted 13 saves and held Maryland to 13 goals, they came apart through picks and quick cuts that other teams can take advantage of.
- The Nittany Lions recorded 32 shots compared to the Terrapin’s 51. They struggled to break past Maryland’s defense and were stuffed in most areas other than along the crease. Penn State should improve its offensive plays and quick movements moving into the rest of Big Ten play.
The Nittany Lions will return to Happy Valley to take on Ohio State at noon on Sunday, April 2. Folks can tune in to the game on ESPNU.
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