Penn State Falls Short in Comeback Effort Against No. 3 Yale

Story posted February 23, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McClure

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Despite a second half comeback, the top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions dropped their first game of the season to the No. 3 Yale Bulldogs, 12-10, Saturday afternoon. Yale midfielder Sean Kuttin’s goal halfway through the fourth quarter was the difference for the Bulldogs in this one.

With the score at 8-7 and a little over seven minutes to go, Penn State looked to even the score for the first time since 11:17 in the first quarter. However, Kuttin made a brilliant move and scored a goal to stop the Nittany Lions momentum to make it 9-7. From that point on, Yale was in control and beat the number one team in the nation.

Penn State goalie Colby Kneese was incredible in between the pipes. The senior from Dallas, Texas, stopped 16 shots, nine of them in the first half, to keep the Nittany Lions in the game.

“I saw the ball really well out there,” said Kneese. “The defense was locked in and let us all get really comfortable with some early stops and turnovers, so after that, it let me get into a rhythm.

Penn State needed to make a comeback in the second half because, in the first, they were completely shut down offensively. Star attackmen Grant Ament didn’t record a point, and the only real offense came off the stick of Mac O’Keefe, who had two out of the three goals when the Nittany Lions went into the locker room down 6-3. Yale was the more physical team from the jump, and it took too long for Penn State to match the intensity.

Ament took it upon himself to play better in the second half. The redshirt senior attackmen racked up five points with a goal and four assists to ignite the Penn State offense.

“I didn’t play well in the first half, and I knew that,” said Ament. “The competitor in me started to come out, so the biggest thing is to stay the course and understand that shots are eventually going to fall.”

Coming into the game, Penn State’s offense was one of the best in the country. Through the first three games of the season, the Nittany Lions averaged 18 goals a game. Yale forced 25 Penn State turnovers and won the faceoff battle 16-10.

Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni thought he would learn a lot about his team after trailing at the half and believes they took a step in the right direction, even with the loss.

“I thought that our guys cared,” said Tambroni. “I don’t think there was any guy that went out in a Penn State uniform today that didn’t compete or work hard, and I am proud of that.”

Nine different players scored for Yale, including three with multi-goal games. Attackmen Matt Brandau’s second goal of the game with 3:21 to go in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for the Bulldogs. Attackmen TJ Malone and midfielder Jack Kelly both scored goals in the final minutes, and both had multi-goal games, but it wasn’t enough for Penn State to come out on top.

Penn State falls to 3-1 on the season, while Yale improves to 2-0.

Yale will travel to Amherst, Massachusetts, to battle with UMass next Saturday. As for Penn State, the schedule doesn’t get much easier. The Nittany Lions will travel to Philadelphia to face off with the No. 8 ranked Penn Quakers next Saturday.

Matthew McClure is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mcm5964@psu.edu.