[Photo Story] Penn State Men’s Lacrosse’s Extraordinary NCAA Tournament Run

After a four-year hiatus from the NCAA Tournament, Penn State men’s lacrosse received the long-awaited call on Selection Sunday that it earned a bid into the tournament. The Nittany Lions, co-champions of the Big Ten regular season, entered the national competition with high hopes and expectations.

The journey brought a flood of emotions to State College, Annapolis, and Philadelphia, as all three cities witnessed an admirable display of grit from Jeff Tambroni and Co. Our staffers took to the field to capture all of the action from Penn State’s three-game NCAA Tournament run.

The tournament run kicked off at Panzer Stadium as the No. 5-seeded Nittany Lions faced the Princeton Tigers on May 14.

Penn State trailed Princeton 7-1 in the first half but the blue and white faithful at Panzer Stadium remained hopeful and lively. Tambroni’s squad ultimately made an impressive comeback to put the game within reach throughout the second half. Kevin Winkoff sealed the game with an unassisted goal with four minutes left in regulation and the Nittany Lions defeated the Tigers 13-12.

Ethan Long was the spark for the team’s comeback and tallied five goals. On the defensive side, goalie Jack Fracyon displayed talent in the net and totaled 16 saves to help the Nittany Lions advance to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal.

Penn State’s next obstacle was Army, a fired-up squad coming straight off an upset over Maryland and a Patriot League Championship. The quarterfinal matchup took place at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

A first-half injury forced star senior defenseman Jack Posey to leave the match, and Penn State began to struggle defensively. The Black Knights jumped into the lead with a 4-1 scoring streak as the Nittany Lions attempted to adjust without its defensive linchpin Posey.

Penn State trailed 7-3 at the conclusion of the first half but, folks, these Nittany Lions are a second-half team.

Fracyon continued to lead Penn State’s defense. The sophomore goaltender registered 11 saves and startled Army’s offense all game.

Securing an action-packed 10-9 victory, Penn State advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia where No. 1 Duke awaited the Nittany Lions.

It’s no surprise that Penn Staters travel well, especially when the semifinal was located just three hours east of State College.

Lincoln Financial Field turned into a White Out at Beaver Stadium. The fans rallied behind the team and showed up strong.

Penn State hit the field for warmups and prepared for its second NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance in as many years.

TJ Malone led Penn State offensively and netted a dominant six goals. Malone also notched two assists and his efforts matched Duke’s high-powered offense from the other side.

What’s a game of lacrosse without celebrations? These Nittany Lions were fired up in the competitive game against the No. 1-ranked squad in the country.

It’s all about the details. The back of the jerseys featured a striking NCAA Tournament patch.

The thrilling game advanced to overtime, thanks to Malone’s offensive firepower and a remarkable performance from the Nittany Lions in regulation.

The Blue Devils took the first offensive possession in overtime following their face-off victory at midfield. With a shot on the crease, Duke ultimately found itself victorious in the sudden-victory period by a final score of 16-15. 

Tears and hugs filled the field following the final whistle in Philadelphia.

Although the season ended prematurely, Penn State pulled off an incredible run into the postseason. The Nittany Lions will return next spring hungry for another trip to the Final Four and beyond.

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About the Author

Hailey Stutzman

Hailey is a junior film production major and is Onward State's visual editor. She is also the editor of our podcast, Podward State. She's from outside of Philly-ish and is a die-hard Birds fan. When Hailey's not taking pictures or editing videos, you can find her scrolling through TikTok or sleeping. Feel free to reach her on Twitter when she wakes up @stutzhailey or her email [email protected].

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