Men’s Lacrosse: No. 20 Nittany Lions Fall to UMass
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – The No. 20 Penn State men’s lacrosse team lost their two-game winning streak against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday 11-9, their designated Military Appreciation Day, at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.
“Today was a tough one…at the end of day we just didn’t sustain it and UMass got the win,” said an emotional Tommy O’Neill.
Fans for both teams expected an enticing matchup because of their previous stints against the No. 14 Harvard Pilgrims (4-2). The Nittany Lions (5-3) improved their standings last week with a thrilling 13-12 overtime victory over the Pilgrims at the hands of Nick Aponte. On the flip side, the Minutemen (4-4) were handed a disappointing 10-9 overtime loss to the Pilgrims earlier the season. The Minutemen have managed to keep games tight against tough teams this season, including their upset against North Carolina.
The first half of the game was a back and forth battle between the two lacrosse teams. Junior Mike Sutton put Penn State on the board first and continued to create a formidable offensive attack, completing the hat trick with 2:09 left in the first quarter as the Nittany Lions opened up a 4-2 lead. Star freshman Grant Ament and Sutton were Penn State’s only bright spots Saturday. The University of Massachusetts managed to steal and maintain the lead for the remainder of the game at the end of the first half with Dan Muller’s rip into the net to put the Minutemen up 6-5 at the break.
At the onset of the second half, fans, players and coaches could feel the momentum shift in favor of the UMass. Buddy Carr opened up the second half scoring on a beautiful no-look, behind the back goal to put the Minutemen up 7-5. After a goal from Kevin Hill to cut the deficit back down to one, Carr responded for his second goal of the afternoon and capped a two-goal run by the Minutemen that made the score 9-6. With just under a minute left in the third, Brian Prestreau buried one past Dan Dolan to cut the lead to two heading to the fourth quarter.
“We just seemed a little tired this week. We lacked a little bit of focus and I think that’s exactly how we played last week going into Harvard; there was a lot of energy and a lot of spirit going into that game and I felt like there was an extremely sharp focus on the task at hand and they played accordingly and sometimes your opponent just does a good job of opposing your will and game plan…we had our chances…and didn’t really have any rhythm or momentum on the offensive end,” said Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni.
Carr finished the hat trick three minutes into the fourth and just a minute later, Paul Spinney opened up the largest lead of the game for UMass as the Minutemen went up 11-7. Two late goals closed the gap to two, but the Nittany Lions were unable to claw any closer.
The Minutemen dominated the faceoff “x” as Tom Meyers went 16 for 24 on the day. Will Schreiner, sophomore goalkeeper for the Nittany Lions, proved resilient with five saves and great positioning to keep the Blue and White within reach of a comeback.
“You gotta give credit to Will. He has gotten better each and every game and the situation he is in is not easy and he’s done an unbelievable job and I have just gotta give him a lot of credit for what he’s done,” said O’Neill, who seemingly had immense respect for his budding goalkeeper.
Penn State’s next game is Mar. 26 at 1 p.m. on the road in Dallas, Texas against the No. 1 Denver Pioneers (6-0).
Madeleine Balestrier is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.