No. 9 Lions Drop OT Thriller to No. 12 Loyola, 12-11
Feb. 15, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 9 Penn State men's lacrosse team came back from a four-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but No. 12 Loyola scored on its first shot in the extra frame for a 12-11 victory Saturday at Holuba Hall in front of 1,067 fans.
Penn State (1-1) attackman Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) followed up his seven-point outing last week with a five-point afternoon against Loyola (1-1) by scoring three goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) had a career day with four points on two goals and two assists to aid the Nittany Lion offense. Erik Myers (Del Mar, Cali.) and TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) added two goals each.
Loyola (1-1) opened an 11-7 lead with 12:10 to go in the fourth quarter on a Nikko Pontrello rebound goal. Penn State (1-1) refused to give up as Sanders scored a man-up goal with 9:48 remaining. While Penn State was unable to eat into the lead for the next five-plus minutes, the Nittany Lion defense kept the Greyhounds off the board as well, including a great penalty kill that ended with 4:22 left.
The Nittany Lion charge began with a Myers man-up goal with 3:55 to go as he scored from the left wing with an assist from Sturgis, his second of the day, as Loyola maintained an 11-9 lead.
Penn State's momentum continued when Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) made his sixth save of the game and eventually collected the ground ball 15 yards from net and pushed transition. Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) cleared and fed Sturgis on the fast break as Sturgis beat Loyola's Jack Runkel (12 saves) top left to cut the deficit to one with 1:42 remaining.
Nittany Lion faceoff man Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) won the ensuing draw as PSU entered its offensive set. VanThof found Myers to the right side of the net as the Californian buried his second goal of the year with 63 seconds left on the clock, setting the Holuba Hall crowd into a full roar. Kreinz finished the afternoon with a game-high 12 ground balls, the first Nittany Lion to earn 10 or more pickups in a game since Bogert (10) pulled the feat at Delaware on April 20, 2013.
The Greyhounds countered with a faceoff win of its own, but a Justin Ward (four assists) shot at the buzzer went wide and the two teams went to overtime. There, Loyola won the opening faceoff and Pontrello's fifth goal of the year gave the Greyhounds their fifth straight win in the long-time series that saw its 53rd edition on Saturday. The Lions still lead the series 29-23-1.
Penn State owned many of the major statistical categories such as shots (41-30), ground balls (29-21), faceoff wins (15-12) and extra-man opportunities (2-for-4, 1-for-4). The Greyhounds were buoyed by a superior shot percentage (.400) and never allowing Penn State to hold a lead all game, which was tied on five different occasions. Penn State shot just 26.9 percent.
The Greyhounds opened a 3-1 lead after the opening quarters on goals by Tyler Albrecht, Kevin Ryan and Jeff Chase. Penn State's VanThof made the game 1-1 on an unassisted effort, beating his defender with 3:42 left in the period. LU earned the two-goal advantage despite being out-shot 10-5.
The second and third periods were nearly even with each team scoring twice in the second period and Loyola holding a 5-4 edge in the third period. Sturgis scored back-to-back tallies to open the second period and tie the score at three with 10:51 to go. Loyola pushed back with a pair of its own by Brian Schultz and Albrecht to earn a 5-3 lead at halftime. Albrecht, Pontrello and Chase each scored three goals to pace the Greyhound offense.
Pontrello's goal 50 seconds into the third period briefly allowed Loyola to double up Penn State, 6-3. The Nittany Lions ran off the next three goals from Sanders, Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Kyle Baier (Auburn, N.Y.). Ahern's goal was a great individual effort as he muscled himself past the Loyola defense and Baier turned the corner well to beat Runkel into the left side of the net with 11:03 left in the third for a 6-6 deadlock.
Albrect and VanThof traded goals for a 7-7 game with 7:07 remaining, but Loyola scored the next four goals to cap the third period and into the fourth period for an 11-7 lead. From there, Penn State went on its run to force overtime. The Nittany Lions out-shot Loyola 13-8 in the final frame.
Penn State hits the road for its next three games against top-flight competition beginning with No. 5 Notre Dame Saturday at 3 p.m.