No. 11 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Dominates No. 14 Ohio State 17-9
No. 11 Penn State men’s lacrosse (6-3, 1-1 Big Ten) downed No. 14 Ohio State (5-5, 1-1 Big Ten) 17-9 at Panzer Stadium Sunday afternoon.
After dropping an early goal, Penn State piled on the pressure through the first two quarters, giving the Nittany Lions a 10-6 edge by halftime. Jeff Tambroni’s group didn’t let up on the scarlet and gray, playing smart and physical lacrosse with flashy finishing, which sparked the complete 17-9 victory.
How It Happened
Ohio State opened the contest quickly on a Kyle Borda streak from the top of the offense. He was met by a pair of Nittany Lions near the crease but stayed upright for the opening goal of the game.
The Nittany Lions answered the call on the next possession as Luke Mercer found Jake Morin for a quick stick finish, knotting the game up at 1-1.
The goaltending by both teams was top-notch in the first quarter, as both Buckeye shot-stopper Skylar Wahlund and Penn State’s Jack Fracyon posted three clutch saves each following the opening goals.
Penn State managed to find a weakness in Wahlund with 3:52 in the first when brothers Matt and Jack Traynor paired up for a slew of early strikes. The Nittany Lions took advantage of a soft Ohio State defensive look and extended their lead to 3-1 off of a Grant Haus bomb from the slot just a minute later.
On the next possession, Ohio State found success in creating confusion behind the goal and crossing attackers over the crease to bury a short stick defender on freshman Matt Caputo. Caputo finished off a find from Scott White, resulitng in an opposing goal to narrow Penn State’s lead to just one.
Penn State forced its opponent to sweat out the end of the quarter and found success late. With 10 seconds to go in the quarter, Jack Traynor worked his way up from below the goal line, found space for a snipe overtop of his defender’s shoulders, and buried the shot to put the Nittany Lions up 4-2.
Ohio State immediately doubled down in the following frame by winning the opening face-off and setting up high in Penn State’s zone. Dillon Magee took a screened shot from the 20-foot line that beat Fracyon off the bounce and set the game at 4-3.
Penn State wouldn’t let this run continue, winning the following face-off for an odd man rush toward the Buckeyes’ defense. Kevin Winkoff, fighting through a Bobby Van Buren slash, slung the ball to a wide-open Mac Costin for the finish, putting the Nittany Lions up 5-3. Penn State would go man-up for a minute, capitalizing on the slashing penalty with 13:08 to go in the half on a Winkoff goal, which made the score 6-3.
Ohio State finally returned to the offensive zone, winning the face-off and setting up behind the goal. Jack Myers shook his defender and scored unassisted on a wraparound shot for the Buckeyes. Matthew Fritz controlled the next draw as well and began the Ohio State offense from the left restraining box. Mitchell Pehlke took his defender topside, freeing his hands to score the 6-5 goal, cutting the Penn State lead to one.
The Nittany Lions’ defense was forced into another long possession following a loose ball hold, but stood strong and was able to clear the ball following a big save from Fracyon. Matt Traynor would take the energy from the defensive stand into a quick goal on an unsettled rush for his 20th goal of the season, putting the game at 7-5 margin for the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions would go a man down on a Mark Sickler tripping penalty, as Caputo scored his second goal of the game for Ohio State, moving the home squad’s edge back to only one.
With 4:12 to go in the half, Matt Traynor took crosscheck as he walked his defender across the crease, getting in position to score a filthy behind-the-back, no-look goal that Wahlund had no shot to stop.
After Ohio State successfully killed the crosscheck penalty, Penn State returned the ball to the offensive zone. Following a timeout, Drew Winkoff nailed a top-left snipe, which extended the lead to a 9-6 mark for the Nittany Lions. Penn State went for another late goal, as Winkoff slung a sidearm feed to Ethan Long to put the score at 10-6.
The half would end 6-10 for Penn State, but not before Bobby Van Buren took another penalty for the Buckeyes, this time for an illegal hit to the head to be served in the second half.
The Nittany Lions came out of the locker room with their bag of tricks open, attempting the hidden ball trick and three shot fakes on the Buckeye man-down unit, but ultimately hit the post and lost the man advantage. Following a quick defensive stand and a caused turnover, TJ Malone walked his defender to the left shoulder, shooting mid-air to stretch Penn State’s advantage to 5, with a score of 11-6.
Penn State’s defense operated clinically throughout the top of the half, causing turnovers on expertly placed stick checks and double teams to keep the Buckeyes off the ball. Costin further sapped the momentum out of the scarlet and gray with a bouncing rip from a medium distance. He finished his hat trick with ease on the following possession, sneaking around the cage and using the net to find space for his defender to snap a worm-burning roller under a falling Wahlund’s stick and push the score to 13-6.
Ohio State felt the need to switch up tactics to stop the bleeding, switching to a 3-3 zone defensive strategy. Penn State was completely unfazed by the new look, pulling the wing defender back to the crease and leaving space for Jack Traynor to take a wide-open bounce shot from up close. Following Costin’s example, he too finished his hat trick in quick succession, making the score 15-6 for the Nittany Lions.
Ohio State finally answered the bell with 2:45 to go in the third quarter, pulling the entire offense toward the crease for a massive screen on Fracyon. Jack Meyers snuck a rocket through the traffic to pull the score back to 15-7. Thirty seconds later, Luke Mercer had a go from the restraining box line for Penn State, rattling the cage and resetting the Nittany Lions’ lead to nine goals.
With 1:27 to go in the third quarter, Borda grabbed his second goal of the game, shooting the long ball to the crossbar for the Buckeye goal. The quarter would expire with a 16-8 score, and Penn State defender Brent McVicker conceded a one-minute penalty for cross-checking that would conclude in the final quarter.
Chippy play dominated the top of the fourth quarter as the matchup’s rivarly nature started to override the usual discipline of the sides. Heavier stick checks and both clean and not-so-clean body checks kept the offenses from setting up in a comfortable, set play and forced more fluid tactics.
The score would finally shift with 2:29 to go in the game as Borda completed his hat trick for Ohio State, cutting the Penn State lead back to 16-9.
Penn State went on the man up one final time in the contest as Jonny Cool was caught slashing, the Nittany Lions would capitalize five seconds into the advantage on an unassisted Michael Faraone goal to set the final score 17-9.
- Penn State significantly outshot the opposition, sending 41 rips toward the cage while Ohio State only managed to fire off 30. The shot selection was there too, with unselfish play by the blue and white creating high-quality looks on most of its takes.
- The Nittany Lions made a similar total in the ground ball advantage, scooping 40 to the Buckeyes’ 30. Their ability to retain possession kept the ball in the friendly half of the field and kept the pressure on Ohio State throughout the game.
The Nittany Lions will return to Panzer Stadium next weekend and are slated to take on Johns Hopkins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.
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