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Penn State Men's Lacrosse Headed To Final Four Following 21-14 Win Over Loyola

by on May 19, 2019 3:30 PM

No.1 Penn State men's lacrosse is headed to the Final Four for the first time in program history following a 21-14 win over No.8 Loyola (MD) on Sunday afternoon in East Hartford, Connecticut.

If a round one 25-10 victory over UMBC proved that the Nittany Lions could win with ease, Sunday's victory was proof that they were capable of coming from behind, erasing a 6-3 first quarter deficit to go ahead 14-7 by the half.

Penn State opened the afternoon with a 2-0 lead before Loyola responded in kind with a 6-1 run, the Nittany Lions' own response was thanks in large part to five first half goals by attacker Mac O'Keefe who would tack on four more in the second half.

The Nittany Lions also got solid goaltending from netminder Colby Kneese who made 12 saves on the afternoon including a handful of key stops in the opening half of play.

Loyola came out firing in the second half, outscoring Penn State 7-3 in the third quarter and cutting the lead to as few as two goals as the teams battled for a place in the Final Four. Heading into the final 15 minutes of play, Penn State found itself leading 17-14, a far less comfortable margin than just a week prior.

But Penn State's offense, O'Keefe and a tenacious defense were simply too much and a 4-0 fourth quarter jumpstarted by a two-minute man advantage made the margin too wide for the Hounds to erase. Grant Ament added nine points to his season total while Jack Kelly contributed four goals.

With 20 goals, Penn State becomes just the second team to score 20 or more in back-to-back postseason games. The last team to do it was the 1990 Syracuse squad and eventual national champions.

The Nittany Lions will face the winner of Yale/Penn next Saturday in Philadelphia. Yale defeated Penn State 14-13 in February and is the only team to have beaten the Nittany Lions so far this season. Penn would join Penn State with the familiar and friendly confines of playing in Philadelphia.

Game times have not been announced for Saturday's semifinal meetings. Virginia will face Duke on the other side of the bracket either before or after Penn State's own game on the 25th. The national title game is May 27th at 1 p.m.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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