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No. 12 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Secures 15-14 Come-From-Behind Overtime Victory Over No. 9 Yale

Penn State men’s lacrosse (4-1) secured an overtime comeback win against No. 9 Yale (2-1) on Saturday in Panzer Stadium.

Penn State struggled greatly in the first half, trailing 9-2 at halftime. Coming back from half with a vengeance, TJ Malone led the team to tie it late in the fourth quarter and assisted Jake Morin’s game-winning goal in overtime.

How It Happened

Yale won the opening face-off and didn’t look back. It scored four quick goals in the opening five minutes and controlled possession.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni called a time-out after the Yale domination, and Penn State soon went a man-up after drawing a card from Yale. TJ Malone acted as the feeder, finding Jeb Brenfleck right on the crease who faked out the goalkeeper and scored Penn State’s first goal of the day with 8:46 left in the first.

The Bulldogs continued to win the face-offs and fire shot after shot against netminder Jack Fracyon and the Penn State defense. It took five minutes, but they found their next breakthrough as David Anderson scored while a man-up.

Yale scored a quick-stick goal with just over a minute left to end the first quarter, controlling Penn State 6-1.

The break did nothing to slow down the Bulldogs’ roll, and they scored their seventh of the day just 35 seconds into the second quarter.

Matt Traynor was able to get a shot off for Penn State after two minutes but it was quickly cleared and Yale gained possession again. Matt Brandau scored another for Yale three minutes later.

The Nittany Lions found their first goal of the second quarter with six minutes to play in the half. Malone rolled past and got on top of his defender, slotting it right above netminder Jared Paquette’s head.

Yale called a timeout with three minutes left and came back with a slew of shots. Peter Moynihan found the breakthrough for his first career goal and increased the lead to seven.

The first half ended as Yale led 9-2 after complete domination.

Malone grabbed the first goal of the second half, keeping the Penn State team alive. He burst past his defender and found open space to blast in a mid-stride rocket.

Malone came back with another goal under a minute later with a quick shot to secure a hat trick.

The captain’s efforts provided much-needed momentum for the Nittany Lions, and Fracyon came up with an immense save to smother Yale’s attack. Fracyon cleared it downfield to Jake Morin, who found Ethan Long cutting right in front of the goal and bounced it into the back of the net to minimize Penn State’s deficit to four.

Traynor ran along the crease, searching for a breakthrough, and sent it back to Mac Costin near the 25. Costin found some space and blasted in a weak-hand long shot.

Paquette saved a shot for the Bulldogs and cleared the ball but Malone fought back, causing a turnover and finding himself in a two-on-one. Malone sent the ball to Will Peden who was streaking in front of the net and bounced it in to trail by only two.

The Bulldogs capitalized on winning a face-off and pulled a goal back before calling a timeout halfway through the third.

Resuming play, Penn State went on the attack and cleared the ball out to Traynor, who had all the time he wanted to step up and smash an absolute rocket into the top of the net to make it 10-8.

After seven minutes of Penn State controlling the attack, the teams began to trade shots more quickly. The Bulldogs pulled three goals back despite the increasingly shared possession.

Malone grabbed another goal, receiving the ball right on the crease and scoring mid-dive to cut off Yale’s momentum and end the third quarter 13-9.

The Nittany Lions entered the fourth quarter searching to secure a comeback. Costin opened the scoring just over a minute into the quarter, gaining an inch of space and getting his shot off, sneaking past Paquette. Long followed up with a close shot after Malone found him on the side of the net, and he bounced the ball in to bring the score back to two.

The Bulldogs quickly reclaimed their three-goal lead through Carson Kuhl a minute later.

Malone received the ball behind the net and wrapped it around, faking out the goaltender and pushing the ball into the back of the net.

The ball was sent behind goal again, to Traynor this time, who ran up and shot off-hand, sneaking the ball past both his defender and Paquette in the net to put the Nittany Lions within one halfway through the quarter 14-13.

Penn State called a timeout after the goal and came back with even more energy. Costin received the ball far out and blasted it in to tie the game 14-14 with four minutes to play and grab a hat trick.

Both teams picked up their speed, aiming to get a last-second winning goal. Malone got a shot off with 90 seconds left, but it was saved and cleared by Yale.

The Bulldogs received the ball with 62 seconds left in the game and 61 on the shot clock, aiming to waste the time and get the last shot. They missed a pass, and Penn State got the ball, sending a long shot that went wide before calling a timeout with five seconds left in the game.

Malone took the ball himself, gaining an inch of freedom and trying to wrap the shot around, but it went just wide, and the game entered sudden death overtime.

Yale went on the attack, but Penn State came up big with two big saves by Fracyon and a caused turnover. It failed to clear the ball in time, though, and play returned to the Bulldogs. Their shots went wide, and Penn State went on the attack.

Malone received the ball behind goal and found Morin wide-open running in front of the net. Morin pushed it in mid-fall and hit the back of the net, finalizing Penn State’s comeback 15-14.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s struggles in the first half can be tied back to its face-offs. Penn State has no real designated No. 1 face-off specialist, and that can be seen in moments like these when its opponents have some of the top face-off specialists in the country. Penn State capitalizes off of the momentum of face-off wins and always struggles to quickly regain its footing after losing them and will need to improve before conference play.
  • The Nittany Lions can never be counted out, and they are often a second-half team. Despite sloppy mistakes or slow starts, the group has no quit all thanks to Tambroni’s constant message of resilience.
  • TJ Malone’s impact can never be overstated, and he truly is the backbone and heartbeat of Penn State men’s lacrosse. He led the team in this comeback, paving the way through quick goals and constant momentum on attack. Malone is now ranked No. 10 for assists in Penn State history after his four registered today against Yale. While Malone shines against all teams, he always has a bit more vengeance when he plays Yale after losing to the group in the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, and that showed in his play today.

What’s Next?

Penn State will remain in Happy Valley and continue Ive League play as it takes on Cornell on Saturday, March 9. The game will begin at noon and will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

Ashley is a sophomore studying journalism from New Jersey. She is not okay about Saquon leaving the Giants and was crying on her couch all day. She can't look at all of her Saquon merch and doesn't know when she will recover. You can email [email protected] to send her ways to meet Saquon or watch her obsess over Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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