No. 1 Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Defeats Villanova 19-10
No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse improved to 2-0 after beating Villanova (0-1) 19-10 on Saturday in the Nittany Lions' first road game of the season.
Mac O’Keefe and Jack Kelly led the Nittany Lions with four goals each. Grant Ament scored three and assisted five times, breaking the record for total points as a Penn State player.
How It Happened
An early behind-the-back goal by Jack Kelly got things going for the Nittany Lions, but Eric Overbay leveled the score at 1-1 with 10 minutes to go in the first quarter.
Mac O’Keefe was stifled early on. The Penn State goalscorer couldn’t find the net past Will Vitton on two shot attempts, however the senior became provider to TJ Malone for Penn State’s second of the game.
After an even first quarter, neither side could pull ahead and the score remained knotted at 4-4.
Penn State’s main men, O’Keefe and Grant Ament, began finding the action in the second quarter. O’Keefe got off the mark, before Ament assisted Nate Buller for a 6-4 Nittany Lion lead. A minute later, Dylan Fould’s second of the afternoon caused Villanova to call timeout.
The Nittany Lions continued to make a run during the second quarter. Gerard Arceri won the face-off and scored within 10 seconds. Ament then scored twice for his 253rd point, a Penn State record.
Ament assisted O’Keefe with three seconds left in the half to add insult to injury for Villanova. The Nittany Lions took a 12-5 lead into the break following a breakout second quarter, reminiscent of last weekend’s opening day matchup against Lafayette.
Villanova trimmed the gap to five with two goals to begin the third quarter, but O’Keefe answered for his third of the contest. Penn State had cooled off after a torrid second quarter, but clutch defensive plays kept the daylight between the two sides.
With 15 minutes remaining, Penn State led the Wildcats 13-7.
The Wildcats scored first in the closing quarter, but Penn State was quick to respond. Goals from Kelly, Ament, O’Keefe, and Kelly again stretched the scoreline to 17-8 with nine minutes left on the clock.
Despite the match being all but locked up, the goals kept coming. Penn State scored twice despite a man disadvantage. Two Villanova goals got the Wildcats to double digits, but they never got close enough to threaten the top-ranked Nittany Lions toward the end of the game.
A subdued final five minutes saw the Nittany Lions cruise across the line, winning 19-10.
- For the second consecutive weekend, Penn State came out slow in the first quarter. It didn’t matter in the end, but it will be interesting to see if this pattern continues in the coming weeks.
- With Yale coming to town in a few weeks, Penn State must be playing at a high level if they are to contend with the Bulldogs. After playing two lesser opponents, it is clear that Penn State lacrosse is an elite national team, though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing just yet.
- Grant Ament surpassed Gary Martin with the most points as a Nittany Lion. Ament has been a key to the rise of lacrosse in Happy Valley over the past five seasons, and he will get to absolutely smash the record by the end of the year, should he stay healthy.
Penn State will return home next Saturday to face Saint Joseph’s. The game is scheduled for noon at Panzer Stadium, and will be streamed on BTN+.