No. 15 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Bests Villanova 18-10
No. 15 Penn State men’s lacrosse (1-1) outlasted in-state foe Villanova (0-1) 18-10 on Saturday afternoon at Panzer Stadium.
Junior Matt Traynor showed out with a dominant performance for the Nittany Lions and was quick to take the lead after captain TJ Malone exited the field in the second quarter.
How It Happened
Chase Mullins secured the initial face-off for Penn State and set the offense in motion down the field. Ethan Long ripped a low shot off of a pass from Malone, sending it past Villanova goalkeeper Anthony Wilson.
Villanova won the next face-off and worked the ball around before attempting a shot on goal. Jack Fraycon was quick with the save and set the ball back in motion in the opposite direction.
Weaving effortlessly through the defense, Malone went in for his second goal of the season, and the Nittany Lions took a 2-0 lead. Villanova gained possession again after the face-off, and after a few blocked shot attempts, Colin Michener found the back of the net.
Moments later, Michener attempted to strike again, but the shot fell wide, and Fraycon scooped it up and cleared it down the field.
After a missed shot attempt and a Villanova clear, a turnover from the Wildcats resulted in Malone dumping a shot down the back of the net, his second of the game.
Penn State suffered through consecutive missed and saved shots before a Villanova clear attempt, but the lack of momentum was a momentary lapse. After a sloppy Villanova turnover, the attack asserted its dominance. Freshman Kyle Lehman sent a diving goal to the back corner of the goal. The Nittany Lions went up 4-1 with less than five minutes to play in the first quarter.
Coming off of a Villanova timeout, Malone sent a wicked bouncer between the legs of Wilson. Malone hit a hat trick early on, affirming the crowd of his role as a player and captain.
Lehman scooped up a ground ball and then proceeded to slam one into the back of the cage. Villanova gains possession, and after an effort at some fluid motion offense from the Wildcats, Fraycon saved every shot attempt.
The first quarter came to a close with the Nittany Lions leading 6-1.
Villanova won the second-quarter face-off but quickly turned the ball over. Penn State wasted no time at the opening of the second quarter, and Traynor sent an easy, low-rolling shot into the bottom left of the cage.
Wrestling through contact and sticks, Jake Morin whammed one in the net, his first of the game. Seconds later, Mullins was forced to sit a 30-second penalty, giving the Wildcats a man-up opportunity.
After scooping up a ground ball for the Nittany Lions, Malone went down holding his head. The captain was walked off the field.
Freshman Nicholas Lucchesi dumped one over the top of Fraycon’s head to give the Wildcats their second goal of the game.
Fraycon racked up multiple more saves and then completed a successful clear attempt. The teams traded offensive possessions back and forth until Lehman found the back of the net once again off of a behind-the-back pass from Morin. Penn State led 9-2 with about seven minutes left to play in the second quarter.
Blocked shots and turnovers commanded a few minutes of the second quarter. The Wildcats called a timeout with 4:20 remaining in an attempt to reconvene and reset.
Mac Costin put up his first goal of the afternoon and pushed Penn State into double digits. More ground balls and turnovers continued to permeate the second quarter up until the end.
The half concluded with Penn State leading by eight. The dominant 10-2 lead was highly representative of the hardworking Nittany Lion effort.
The second half opened with a bang and a successful Penn State face-off. Morin dumped a floater shot at the top of the net just a minute into the half. Wasting no time, Traynor sent in a fade-away rocket to give the Nittany Lions their second goal of the half.
Traynor received a one-minute slashing penalty giving the Wildcats a man-up opportunity. Despite this, Penn State was still able to capitalize and Chris Jordan slammed a bullet into the cage. Penn State goes up 13-2.
Michener managed to sneak one past Fraycon, giving him his second goal of the game for the Wildcats and bringing the score to 13-3. Thomas McIntire closely followed with a rocket of his own with six minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Wildcats started to finally gain some offensive momentum. Luke Raymond found the back of the net over Fraycon making it 13-5 Penn State.
Luke Walstrum whipped a sidearm past Wilson for his first collegiate goal. The shot from Walstrum broke the consecutive Villanova offensive push.
Off of a dish from behind the goal, Dan Martin sprinted down the middle of the field and effortlessly quick-sticked the ball into the top of the net. His goal brought the Wildcats up to six goals, still beneath Penn State’s 14.
A shot from Ethan Long bounced off of the inside pipe at the conclusion of the third quarter. Penn State held the lead 14-6.
Another face-off win for Mullins started off the final quarter in Panzer off strong. Just seconds in, the Penn State coaching staff called a timeout.
Off of another quick-stick goal, Traynor secured his hat trick for the afternoon. The Wildcats quickly answered less than a minute later with two goals of their own, bringing the score to 15-8.
Another goal from Villanova narrowed the margin to six. The Nittany Lions appeared to be losing momentum and their footing at this point. A slashing penalty from Sam Sweeney put Penn State a man down for a whole minute.
Traynor put up his fourth of the game off of a connection from Lehman. Panzer Stadium appeared hopeful that the Nittany Lions could get back on track off of this goal. Fraycon, in true brick-wall tendency, saved another shot from the Wildcats and the defense forced a turnover.
With some quick footing and a lethal crease roll, Traynor rolled another one in with about five minutes left to play.
Traynor’s efforts today pulled Penn State through without a doubt. He sent another bullet down low that Wilson simply could not stop. Penn State held the lead 18-9. Michener remained the primary goal-scorer for Villanova as he dumped another one in for the Wildcats.
Penn State dominated the Wildcats 18-10.
- After an explosive first quarter where the Nittany Lions racked up six goals, the second quarter got a little sloppy, starting a trend for the rest of the game. Penn State didn’t appear as dominant as it initially came out. This could have been due to the absence of Malone from the field after his exit or general early-season kinks.
- The scoring distribution for the Nittany Lions speaks to the all-around talent of the group. With multiple players securing hat tricks early on, the Nittany Lions are quick to share the wealth among the team. A ton of assists and easy looks contributed to the fluid motion offense.
- Have a day, Matt Traynor! The junior was a key factor in today’s offensive success. His leadership was on full display with six goals.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Long Island, New York, on Saturday, February 17, to face off against Stonybrook. The game is set to begin at noon.
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About the Author
The Nittany Lions participated in a max-out lifting session to mark the end of winter workouts.
Gaines was committed to the Nittany Lions for nearly a year.
Sophomore forward Tessa Janecke also earned CHA Player of the Year and Forward of the Year distinctions.