MLAX: Nittany Lions Escape With Win Over Penn
UNIVERSITY PARK , Pa. – 21 seconds remained and the visiting No. 8 Pennsylvania Quakers had possession, down 14-13. Penn State men’s lacrosse was ready on defense after using its final timeout to draw up the game plan.
The Quakers were threatening deep in Penn State territory before a crushing crease violation sealed the deal for the Nittany Lions in the final seconds of the contest.
Don’t call it a comeback. After trailing at halftime by a score of 7-4 to the Quakers, No. 5 Penn State resurged in the second half to win a nail-biter, 14-13, at Holuba Hall.
The Nittany Lions improved to 5-0 overall on the year, while the Quakers fell to 2-1 overall.
Penn State midfielder Nick Spillane led both teams with five total goals, while Penn’s attacker Tyler Dunn was a close second with four of his own.
Penn State was sluggish early on as they trailed the Quakers 4-1 at the end of the first quarter. Penn midfielder Reilly Hupfeldt found the back of the net twice in the first to put his team out in front.
Spillane and company answered immediately to start the second and cut the deficit to 4-2. Falling behind 6-2 later on, Penn State midfielder Ryan Keenan set up attacker Nick Aponte for a clear shot in front of the crease to add another goal.
Looking to extend its lead, Penn marched down the field with the clock winding in the first half. Penn State goalie Colby Kneese shut the door and denied the Quakers of a last second goal with an impressive save.
The Nittany Lions were red hot to begin the second half, netting three consecutive goals to tie the game at seven apiece. Penn quickly responded with back-to-back goals of its own.
With less than three minutes remaining in the third, the Nittany Lions took their first lead of the game behind Spillane’s hat trick, assisted by attacker Grant Ament.
The Quakers were battling hard and a nice cross-crease pass from midfielder Kevin McGeary to attacker Simon Matthias to stop the bleeding at 11-9 heading into the fourth.
Spillane netted his fourth tally of the afternoon to open the final 15 minutes of action and give the Nittany Lions a 12-9 lead.
With just over nine minutes left to play, Spillane did what he does best and snuck another shot past Penn goalie Reed Junkin to put Penn State up 14-11.
The Quakers wanted a comeback of their own, as Dunn scored his fourth goal of the game to pull his team within one, setting up Holuba Hall for a thrilling finish.
Twenty-one seconds remained on the clock after Penn State turned the ball over. The Quakers had control of it in Blue & White territory as each second slowly ticked off the scoreboard.
Before the Quakers could attempt one last-second shot, the referees called a crease violation, which Penn State possession and the victory.
The Nittany Lions host Furman University at home next Tuesday, March 4, looking to remain undefeated.
Zach Seyko is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in communication arts & sciences. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.