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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 12 Penn State men’s lacrosse team battled with in-state foe Villanova in Holuba Hall, but ultimately fell, 17-16, in overtime to the Wildcats in the Nittany Lions’ season opener on Saturday afternoon.
The Nittany Lions saw nine players contribute offensively, including seven different goal scorers.
Penn State senior Ryan Keenan had a career day offensively, totaling a personal best seven points as the middie tallied a career-best five goals while adding two assists. He also added five ground balls.
Junior Matt Donnelly, who made the move to attack this season, dished out one assist and added one goal, while junior middie Robby Black added a goal of his own. Freshman Brian Townsend dished out his first career assist, and junior Dylan Foulds tacked on a dime of his own.
1Q | The two Keystone State teams battled and played to a 3-3 tie following the first quarter of action. Foreshadowing the game. Ryan Keenan put in two for the Nittany Lions, while Villanova’s Christian Cuccinello added two of his own. Matt Donnelly tacked on his first goal of the season, and Jared Nugent added one for the Wildcats. Villanova lost keeper Matt Barrett at the 8:07 mark after the goalie took a big hit when he was out of the crease. || 3-3
2Q | Keenan recorded his third goal just two minutes into the second quarter of action, but the Wildcats were quick to tie it back at 4-all just 30-seconds later. Villanova would grab their first lead of the game when Christian Cuccinello tagged the back of the net with his third goal. Jack Kelly of Penn State put in his first career goal just seconds later,
3Q | Out of halftime, the game continued to see-saw as the two teams traded goals to an 8-8 tie. From there, Penn State would go on a 6-1 run, including a 4-0 run that followed a big hit on PSU goalie Colby Kneese. Hill and O’Keefe tacked on two during the run, while Keenan dished out both of his dimes. || PSU 14-9
4Q | A big swing in momentum took place in the fourth as the Wildcats scored two goals in the first two minutes of action. A Nick Spillane goal looked to silence Villanova, but the visitors had other plans. Villanova would score four unanswered to take a 16-15 lead with 4:07 left in the game. With as 1:18 on the clock, Villanova had the ball up against Penn State’s defense. Chris Sabia caused a turnover, giving possession back to the Nittany Lions, and Penn State called a timeout. Just 10-seconds back from the stoppage, Kevin Hill found the back of the net to set the game into overtime. | 16-16
OT | The Wildcats won the first faceoff of the overtime period, and just 50-seconds into play, John Kluh found the back of the cage for Villanova to take the game. | VU 17-16
Penn State drops its first season opener since 2012 (2/11/12 – L, 14-10 to #6 UNC).
Penn State is now 17-7 all-time against Villanova, but are now 5-6 against them since 2008.
Ryan Keenan set a career mark in goals (5) and points (2). This was also his third career hat-trick.
Kevin Hill recorded his fourth career hat-trick.
Sophomore Gerard Arceri went 18-34 on the faceoff, while Freshman Jake Glatz went 2-3.
Arceri added team-best 10 ground balls, while Keenan followed with five.
Chris Sabia led the team with four caused turnovers.
Colby Kneese played 49:22, while Will Schreiner played 11:28. Kneese made 8 saves while allowing 13 goals. Schreiner (0-1) allowed four goals and made five saves.