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No. 11 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Defeats Michigan 14-8 On Senior Night

No. 11 Penn State men’s lacrosse (8-3, 2-2 Big Ten) took down Michigan (6-6, 1-3 Big Ten) 14-8 on Saturday in Panzer Stadium. 

Penn State started strong but was matched for much of the first half by the Wolverines. As the second quarter started running down, the Penn State midfield cleaned up some of its simple mistakes and TJ Malone scored twice because of it. The Nittany Lions led 8-4 at halftime. The ball seemed to slow down in the second half as both teams struggled to find an offensive foothold. This played into Penn State’s lead and the Nittany Lions held on to win.  

How It Happened

Colby Baldwin won the opening faceoff for the Nittany Lions and wasted no time finding Matt Traynor with time and space on the left wing. Traynor stepped down and blasted his shot into the top left just seven seconds into the game.  

Michigan took the next possession, eating up almost three minutes, but after two shots off the post, it was able to tie the game at one with 12:42 left in the quarter. 

Penn State responded one minute later when Malone hit Kyle Lehman on the crease. The freshman attacker made no mistake finishing down low. Lehman scored again to make it 3-1 with eight minutes to play in the quarter following a nifty move from behind the goal line.  

For the remaining time in the quarter, the defenses settled in and caused some confusion. After a few long possessions, the Wolverines found the back of the net with just four seconds on the clock. The quarter ended with a 3-2 lead for Penn State.  

Michigan won the first faceoff of the second quarter, but after four minutes of pressure, it had nothing to show for it. Penn State took advantage of the ball early as Mac Costin completed a face dodge and bounced the ball past the Michigan goalie to extend the Penn State lead.  

Three minutes later, Michigan responded to make the score 4-3, but Malone quickly extended the lead back to two and then three with back-to-back goals. With six minutes to play in the half, Penn State had picked up its middle-of-the-field play and reaped the benefits.  

Another successful clear led to a Traynor goal, pushing the score to 7-3 with four minutes to play in the half. The Wolverines scored 20 seconds later and drew a man-up opportunity in the process. A stellar Jack Fracyon save on the doorstep gave the ball back to Penn State for the remainder of the penalty. 

 After killing the time left in the man down Penn State spent a substantial amount of time in its offensive half. The possession wrapped up with a Malone goal, which brought the Nittany Lions’ lead back to four.  

Penn State received another penalty this time for slashing with three minutes left in the half. But Michigan just held onto the ball keeping the score at 8-4 at halftime.

Michigan started with the ball still with a man-up opportunity, but yet again, Fracyon made a big save and helped kill the penalty. The same as earlier in the game, Penn State got its sixth player back and pushed the cage immediately, and scored to make it 9-5. It was Lehman’s third of the game.  

The Wolverines eventually found their first goal of the second half with nine-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. They followed it with a transition goal two minutes later to bring the score to 9-6.  

Malone settled the Penn State offense after the short Michigan run and beat his shorty to score his fourth of the game. Twenty seconds later, he scored again to bring the Penn State lead back to five.  

As the Michigan defense changed to a zone, Penn State took long possession and eventually wore down the Wolverines, who took an unnecessary roughness penalty with three minutes to play in the quarter. Jeb Brenfleck scored a nice low-to-high shot on the subsequent man-up.  

The quarter ended 12-6 in favor of Penn State.  

The final quarter started very back-and-forth, with neither team getting real offensive possessions until the 10-minute mark. At that time, Penn State broke down the Michigan zone and found Costin with space on the left wing for the first of the quarter.  

The next goal wasn’t for another five minutes when Michigan brought the Penn State lead back to six, making it 13-7. This was quickly followed by a cannon of a shot from Kyle Aldridge for his second of the season.  

With one minute left, Michigan got a consolation goal to make the score 14-8. The Nittany Lions subbed on their seniors for the final minute, and the score remained the same.  

Takeaways

  • The clear continues to be an issue for the Nittany Lions. Multiple times in this game they gave Michigan free possession after some great defensive stops. Michigan struggled to make Penn State pay but against better teams, as the tournaments approach the ability to clear could be the difference between winning and losing.  
  • Malone continued his excellent season and really took control of the game. There were points when the Penn State offense went into slow spells, but Malone took control and scored often and at crucial points of the game.  
  • Last season, Fracyon had a few games where he was shaky at points, but this season you can virtually close your eyes and assume he’s making the save on outside shots. Fracyon finished the game with over a 70% save percentage and 19 saves. Penn State will need Fracyon to continue his performances if it has hopes to go far in the Big Ten tournament.  

What’s Next?

Penn State will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on Rutgers at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

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About the Author

Collin Ward

Collin is a first-year majoring in digital/print journalism. Born in Hartford, he now lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As a die-hard Chelsea FC fan you can normally find him yelling at his TV screen each weekend. To reach him, follow him on Instagram: @cward829, or email him at [email protected].

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