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No. 2 Penn State Lacrosse Opens 2020 Season with 16-9 Win over Lafayette

by on February 01, 2020 2:34 PM

No. 2 Penn State men’s lacrosse (1-0) rode a strong second quarter to defeat Lafayette (0-1) 16-9 on Saturday at Panzer Stadium to open the 2020 season.

Grant Ament led the Nittany Lions with four goals and six assists, while Mac O’Keefe notched six goals and an assist.

After the opening 10 minutes, the match was never really in doubt for the home side. Lafayette’s late surge came far too short for the Leopards, and Penn State’s starters got a breather for the last quarter of the game to close out a comfortable opener.

How It Happened

Penn State weathered an early storm from the Leopards, conceding once on a close shot. Grant Ament got off the mark in 2020 early by equalizing within the first five minutes.

The first quarter was highlighted by good goalkeeping on both ends, but sniper Mac O’Keefe capitalized on a man advantage to give the Nittany Lions their first lead late in the first quarter. By the end of the opening period, Penn State led 3-1.

The Nittany Lions came out firing in the second quarter, scoring five times in quick succession to balloon the lead.

The visitors couldn’t get the ball out of their own half for most of the second quarter. Led by Ament, Penn State kept pressuring the Patriot League side. Bryan Hess finally broke through for Lafayette midway through the second quarter after eight unanswered goals from the Nittany Lions.

Jeff Tambroni’s team went into the locker room holding onto a comfortable 8-2 lead. Goalscorer Kevin Hill came off injured at the end of the first half, and he didn’t return to the game.

The Leopards trimmed the lead to 9-4 with 10 minutes remaining in the third. Brayden Peck got removed for 60 seconds on Lafayette’s fourth goal, but the Nittany Lions retained possession and drowned the penalty. Moments later, 2019 leading scorer O’Keefe fired a bullet from midrange and Jack Traynor scored to widen the gap to seven.

O’Keefe completed his double-hat trick with 3:30 left in the third, and his strike partner Ament recorded his fourth goal soon after. At 10 points in the game, Ament inched to within two of tying Gary Martin for the all-time points record at Penn State. However, soon after tallying his goal, Tambroni gave Ament a breather with the Nittany Lions owning an 11 point cushion.

With most stars out for the rest of the game, Lafayette cut the deficit with four unanswered goals to 15-8, but the result of the match was never in doubt. After trading goals, Penn State capped off its season opener with a 16-9 victory.

Takeaways

  • Penn State took a little while to get into the game, not seeing the lead for the vast majority of the first quarter. However, once the nerves settled for the new season, the stars came out and the home side showed why they are a national title contender.
  • Penn State scored on three man-up scenarios, after scoring just 12 all of last year. Meanwhile, when the Nittany Lions were the ones committing the penalty, they were able to milk the clock and welcome the full squad back onto the field. Lafayette failed to score with a man advantage until the beginning of the fourth quarter.
  • Lafayette had trouble getting the ball in the offensive half for significant portions of the game, and that was in large part thanks to Penn State dominating the face-offs. The Nittany Lions won 22 of the 27 total face-offs.

What’s Next

Penn State will go on the road for the first time in 2020 next Saturday when the Nittany Lions travel to Villanova for a 1 p.m. face-off scheduled.



Otis Lyons is a Penn State student and writer for Onward State.
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