O’Keefe Breaks Goal Record, Penn State Beats Michigan in Overtime
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was a cold senior night at Panzer Stadium on Friday evening as Penn State came from behind to beat Michigan, 14-13 in overtime. The Nittany Lions get back in the win column to improve to 3-6 on the year, while the Wolverines drop to 2-7.
Nittany Lions’ attackman Mac O’Keefe was the best player on the field, as he finished the game with a season-high six goals and two assists. It was also a special evening, as O’Keefe broke Duke’s Justin Guterding’s Division One men’s lacrosse goal scoring record.
O’Keefe now has 216 career goals for Penn State.
“I couldn’t think of a more appropriate young man to have that kind of a record,” Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni said.
“I saw all the stuff go up on the big screen, but like I’ve been saying this whole season, I really haven’t tried to let that affect me too much,” O’Keefe said about his mindset after breaking the record. “I knew this one was going to be a special one for us if we could come out with a win and I was willing to do everything I could to make that happen.”
“I’m just incredibly proud of our seniors,” Tambroni said. “It’s been a challenging season to say the least, but to see these young men keep believing in one another, still believing in the system, and maybe a brighter future, it says a lot about their character.”
Offensively, the Nittany Lions got production from other players outside of O’Keefe. Aside from O’Keefe, four different players scored for the blue and white. TJ Malone added four goals and three assists.
At the start of the second half, coach Tambroni opted to pull goalie Colby Kneese and put in Alreic Fyock. “It was more about Alreic Fyock and what he has done over the course of the year, and his confidence throughout the week,” Tambroni said about the decision.
The gamble paid off as Fyock was phenomenal in net. He made eight saves, including two big-time saves in the overtime period. Fyock and the Penn State defense held Michigan to only one goal over the final 19 minutes of the game.
With 38 seconds left to go in the third quarter, Michigan’s Ryan Schriber put the Wolverines up 12-8. Penn State then erupted with five straight goals to take the lead, each goal by a different player. After Jacob Jackson tied it late in the fourth for Michigan, the game went to overtime.
As if tonight couldn’t get any better for O’Keefe, he scored the game-winning goal with three seconds left in overtime. “It was a storybook ending today for both us and him [O’Keefe], to be able to do this at home, on senior night, to score a game-winner,” Tambroni said about O’Keefe played today.
The Nittany Lions will look to finish the season strong as they travel to face No. 12 Ohio State on Saturday, April 24 at 4 p.m. The Nittany bested the Buckeyes earlier in the year 15-13 in State College.
Matthew Scalzo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.