No. 16 Nittany Lion Lacrosse Team Drops Close 11-8 Decision to No. 17 Notre Dame
State College, Pa. ¨C March 25, 2007¨C The No. 16 Penn State Nittany Lion men¡¯s lacrosse team lost a heart-breaking 11-8 contest to No. 17 Notre Dame today in non-conference action. Penn State scored the game¡¯s first two goals and five of the last six but could not complete what was a furious fourth-quarter comeback.
Senior Pat Heim (Wayne, Pa.) got Penn State on the board first with an unassisted goal at the 12:09 mark of the first period, breaking quick to the right side of the goal and sending the ball past the right shoulder of Notre Dame goalie Joey Kemp. Just over a minute later, senior Gil Pearsall (Carthage, N.Y.) scored on assist from sophomore Max VanArsdale (Rochester, N.Y.) to give the Lions an 2-0 lead.
The Irish answered back with a short shot from the left side of the Penn State net. Irish middie Michael Podgajny scored off an assist from Ryan Hoff at the 7:31 mark, pulling Notre Dame to within one. In a game that appeared to be off to a hot offensive start, both defenses then stepped up to keep each team scoreless for the remainder of the opening stanza.
Notre Dame¡¯s Will Yeatman tied the score just over a minute into the second period, getting an unassisted goal from just 15 feet out in front of Nittany Lion goalie Drew Adams (Springfield, Pa.). The Irish freshman then gave Notre Dame its first lead of the game less a minute later with another solo shot at the 13:38 mark, putting Notre Dame up 3-2 with a flurry of activity early in the second period. The Penn State defense, however, began to turn the tide, led by seniors Matt Mulqueen (Downingtown, Pa.) and Dan Saltsman (Concord, N.H.). Stiffening against an energized Notre Dame attack, the Penn State defense kept Notre Dame out of the net for the next six minutes.
But Notre Dame¡¯s Alex Wharton took a pass from Podgajny in front of the Penn State net and gave the Irish a 4-2 lead with 8:01 to play in the half. Lucius Polk scored off a Wharton pass at the 6:40 mark and the Irish opened up a three goal lead. Penn State sophomore Rob Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) helped stem the tide with a solo goal from the left side of the Irish goal to cut the lead to 5-3 at the 5:07 mark, but Notre Dame¡¯s Brian Hubschmann scored quickly afterwards and Notre Dame was back up by three, 6-3, with 4:33 left in the half. Both goalies then took over for the rest of the half to send the game to intermission with Notre Dame leading 6-3.
Notre Dame out shot Penn State 22-12 in the first half and won nine of the half¡¯s 11 face-offs. The Irish were also perfect on their clear attempts, getting all nine into their offensive zone. Nittany Lion goalie Drew Adams had seven saves while Notre Dame¡¯s Kemp had three.
Like Penn State in the first period, Notre Dame wasted no time scoring to start the second half. Podgajny scored unassisted just :36 seconds into the third period to give Notre Dame its biggest lead of the game, 7-3. Penn State controlled the action for the next six minutes, however, keeping the ball in front of the Irish net for more than six minutes. But Notre Dame¡¯s defense held firm to maintain its four goal lead. Hubschmann then put the Irish up by five, stealing the ball near Penn State¡¯s goal on a clear attempt and sending it past Adams¡¯ right shoulder for an unassisted goal with 5:03 left in the third.
Podgajny piled on another goal at the 3:20 mark, taking a pass from Yeatman who was stationed behind the net and converting from 20 yards out. The goal gave Notre Dame a 9-3 lead. A Penn State penalty and a man-up goal from Notre Dame¡¯s Ryan Hoff and the Nittany Lions were down 10-3 with just 2:21 left in the third period. Heim, however, gave Penn State life with an unassisted goal just one minute later, cutting ND¡¯s lead to 10-4 with 1:21 left in the stanza. Heim¡¯s second goal of the game kept Penn State within six heading into the final period.
With the game seemingly out of reach, Penn State played a blistering fourth period. The Nittany Lions scored four straight goals to start the period and closed the gap to two goals before the Irish would answer. Heim got the fourth period¡¯s first goal with an unassisted goal at the 10:00 mark, sliding right down the sideline after a long clear and finding the back of the net to cut Notre Dame¡¯s lead to 10-5. Gil Pearsall (Carthage, N.Y.) scored another unassisted goal less than two minutes later, pulling Penn State to within four with 8:18 to play in the game. Freshman Matt Loy (Somerset, N.J.) took an assist from Adam Kenney (Royal Oak, Mich.) in front to the net and scored a man-up goal at the 6:47 mark and the Irish lead was three. Another Penn State freshman scored just :27 later as Chris Hogan (Wyckoff, N.J.) nailed an unassisted goal at the 6:23 mark to cut the Irish lead to just two, 10-8.
Penn State had an excellent chance to cut the lead to one with just over two minutes left, getting off a long shot from 20 yards out only to see Notre Dame¡¯s Kemp make a nice save to keep the Irish up by two and help cool the Nittany Lion rally. A Penn State penalty shortly thereafter gave the Irish a one minute man-up opportunity. While the Irish did not score, they did work the game clock down to just 1:00 left. Podgajny then iced the game with an unassisted goal with :47 left, giving Notre Dame an 11-8 lead. Notre Dame would close out the game with the three goal lead.
Heim ended the game a team-best three goals while Pearsall added two. Podgajny led Notre Dame with four goals and two assists while Yeatman and Hubschmann each added two. Notre Dame out-shot Penn State by a slim 37-35 margin with the Lions out-doing ND 23-15 in the second half. Penn State split second half face-offs with the Irish but Notre Dame still won 14 of the game¡¯s 21 restarts. Nittany Lion goalie Adams had had 12 saves while Kemp had 11 of Notre Dame¡¯s 12. Kemp led Notre Dame with eight ground balls while Adams had 11 to lead Penn State.
The Nittany Lions fell to 0-2 with the loss and will host Loyola in the ECAC Lacrosse League opener for both teams next Saturday. Action begins at 1 p.m. in Holuba Hall. Notre Dame, which beat Loyola 11-9 last weekend, is now 2-0.
GAME SUMMARY: Penn State 8, Notre Dame 11
SCORING / TIME / TEAM (Goal-Assist):
SCORE BY QUARTERS: 1 2 3 4 F PENN STATE 1 5 4 1 11 NOTRE DAME 2 1 1 4 8RECORDS: Penn State 0-2, 0-0 ECAC LL; Notre Dame 2-0, 0-0 GWLL
UP NEXT FOR PSU: Penn State hosts Loyola, Saturday, March 3, 1 p.m., Holuba Hall