Penn State Men’s Lax Tops Robert Morris in Home Opener

Story posted February 7, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Eric Ohlson

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State (1-0), led by 12 point scorers and a stout defense, opened the 2016 season with a dominating 20-7 victory over Robert Morris (0-1) Saturday in Holuba Hall.

“We’re thrilled you know, you came out here to try and compete for 60 minutes and I thought our guys came out of the locker room and onto the field today at that first whistle and just played a very inspired brand of lacrosse,” said Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni.

That “inspired brand of lacrosse” began right after the opening faceoff, as Penn State scored three times in the first four minutes and never looked back. The scoreboard read 6-1 at the end of the first quarter, as the Nittany Lions utilized quick clears and fast-break goals to dominate the quarter, scoring on six of their 11 shots and only allowing one of 10 Robert Morris shots to find the net.

Freshman attackman Grant Ament scored the third goal of the day, his first collegiate goal, off of a long breakout pass from goalie Will Schreiner, but the highlight of the first quarter was Matt Florence’s second goal. Florence received the ball near the top of the restraining box, drove down the left side as he dodged defenders, then cut to the crease and fired a shot that beat Robert Morris goalie Matt Bukovac top-shelf.

In the second quarter, Penn State managed to look even more impressive, putting up eight goals on 17 shots, while holding the Colonials to one goal on five shots. Senior TJ Sanders scored Penn State’s only man-up goal of the day, as the unit executed a quick rotation that forced the defense to slide, which left Sanders open for a mid-range strike. Sanders added his second and third goals of the game later in the quarter to complete the hat-trick, and finished with four in total. Penn State walked off the field at the end of the half with a commanding lead and looked poised to continue the trend in the second half.

“Really what we wanted to focus on going into halftime was just remaining disciplined,” said redshirt junior Matt Florence. “In some of those situations when you have such a big lead, it’s easy to kind of take that step back and be more individual, and we really didn’t want to do that; we want to focus on remaining a unit and just kind of play within the system and play with each other.”

The third quarter was much of the same, as Penn State added five more goals, and started rotating more of the roster into the game. Sophomore goalie Will Schreiner, who was named the starter this season after the tragic passing of Connor Darcey last year, ended his day with four goals allowed and six saves. Freshman Trevor Scollins took over the Penn State net with five minutes left in the quarter, and passed his first test, making a big chest save on a shot from the slot a minute before the end of the quarter.

Scollins, in his first college game, made two saves and did not allow a goal in nearly 11 minutes of action. He relinquished the cage to sophomore Hunter Pearl with 8:44 left in the game, who allowed three goals in the final three minutes and finished with four saves.

“True leadership of this team will be walking out of this locker room, enjoying it for 24 hours and the getting right back to work and focusing on our next opponent, so that we can have the same success next week,” said Tambroni.

Penn State’s next game is Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. at home against Hobart.

Eric Ohlson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ewo5082@psu.edu