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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 8 Penn State men’s lacrosse team (12-4) exited the NCAA tournament earlier than anticipated on Saturday afternoon, falling to CAA champions Towson (11-4), 12-8, at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.
The Nittany Lions’ season ends at 12-4, tying the program record for most wins in a single season. Penn State’s game against Towson marked the program’s fourth-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Freshman Mac O’Keefe and sophomore Grant Ament led Penn State’s goal-scoring efforts, each logging three goals on the day. O’Keefe’s hat trick gave him 51 goals on the season, marking a new program record. Bill Hess held the previous mark, setting the record 60 years prior.
Ament added an assist for four points. With his four points, Ament logged 59 points on the season, tied for the seventh-most in a single Penn State season.
In his final game in the Blue and White, senior attackman Nick Aponte logged a pair of goals. The West Islip, New York native concludes his career with 140 points (70g, 70a), good for the 11th most in program history.
Freshman goalkeeper Colby
With its win, Towson will advance to the quarterfinal round, facing the winner of Syracuse and Yale in Newark, Delaware on Sunday.
The Turning Point
Trailing by two heading into the fourth quarter, Ament strung together a pair of goals early to tie the game at 7-7. With 9:10 on the clock, Towson’s Tyler Konen skipped the ball to Mike Lynch, who scored the go-ahead man-up goal. The Tigers would go on a 4-0 run over the next seven minutes to effectively put the game out of reach.
- Mac O’Keefe – O’Keefe logged another three-goal performance, breaking the single-season record for goals in a season with 51.
- Grant Ament – The sophomore standout logged three goals and a hat trick while adding an assist. He gave Penn State a swing in momentum with a pair of goals over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Nittany Lions a shot to equalize.
- Joe Seider – Seider proved problematic for the Nittany Lions’ defense, racking up a game-high six points on four goals and two assists.
- Alex Woodall – Woodall went 7-13 on faceoffs and scored a goal before sustaining an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game.
Both defenses stifled the opposition in the early going, with just two combined goals in the first 15 minutes. Penn State struck first, as a fast break led to a pass from Fox to O’Keefe to put Penn State on the board. Towson responded three minutes later, scoring an unassisted goal to wrap up scoring in the first.
Penn State 1, Towson 1
Aponte scored back-to-back goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter. The senior lost his man in the net, dodging from behind the goal for his first score before earning a man-up score on a rebounded shot for the 3-1 lead. Towson responded with two scores of their own. McEvoy scooped up the ball after the following faceoff, kicking it down to Ament who fired a laser at goal for a one-score advantage heading into the locker room.
Penn State 4, Towson 3
Towson was dominant in the first 10 minutes of the third, scoring three goals against the Nittany Lions defense. Sabia took a ball coast to coast before tossing it to O’Keefe. The freshman got knocked down and finished from the ground for his record-breaking 50th goal of the season. Towson added one more before the ends of the quarter.
Penn State 5, Towson 7
Ament strung together a pair of goals, scoring the first from of snappy passing. Ament’s second came as the result of an impressive dodge from behind the net. Towson then opened up a 4-0 run to take control. O’Keefe pulled the game to a three-point deficit at the 1:47 mark before Towson scored an open-net goal with 28 seconds left to seal the game.
Penn State 8, Towson 12