Nittany Lion Men¡¯s Lacrosse Team Downs No. 7 UMass in ECAC Lacrosse League Tilt
State College, Pa. ¨C April 1, 2006 ¨C The Penn State Nittany Lion men¡¯s lacrosse team, under the guidance of veteran head coach Glenn Thiel, got to play its first home game outside at Jeffrey Field today and liked the environs. Senior Nate Whitaker (Great Falls, Va.) scored four goals and freshman goalie Drew Adams (Springfield, Pa.) was once again outstanding as the Nittany Lions upset No. 7 Massachusetts 7-5 in a critical ECAC Lacrosse League tilt.
Penn State dominated the early part of the first quarter, maintaining time of possession for much of the early part of the game, but with no goals to show for it. UMass goalie Doc Schneider and did Penn State freshman keeper Adams collected early saves, keeping the game scoreless. The Minutemen got on the board first with a goal from Jim Connolly taking a Brian Jacovina assist and finding the back of the net at the 4:35 mark of the first quarter. The goal was the lone scoring in the first period.
John Eremus (Rosemont, Pa.) got Penn State on the board early in the second, getting an assist from Greg Gurenlian (Springfield, Pa.) to tie the game before a minute had lapsed in the second. Connolly, however, put UMass up 2-1 with an unassisted goal at the 13:48 mark. The Minuteman nearly scored a third goal with seven-plus minutes left but Adams had made a diving save to keep Penn State within striking distance.
Penn State tied the game with 4:29 left in the first when freshman Ryan McAleenan (Grand Rapids, Mich.) picked up a loose ball in front of the Minuteman net and turned it into an unassisted goal to tie the game at 2-2. The tie was short-lived, however, as Jake Deane scored for UMass at 3:26 to retake the lead, 3-2. As the rain began to fall at Jeffrey Field, senior Whitaker tied the game at 3-3 with 2:35 to go in the half, taking an assist from Penn State assist leader Brian Boyle (Derry, N.H.). Penn State nearly took the lead as the first half wound down with two shots in the final seconds, but neither could find the net. The half ended with the two teams tied 3-3.
Clay Stabert gave UMass a 4-3 lead just four minutes into the third period, taking an assist from Jacovina for the go-ahead goal. Junior Pat Heim (Wayne, Pa.) pulled Penn State even with an unassisted goal at the 8:02 mark, scoring from 15 yards out. But UMass¡¯ Sean Morris scored less than a minute later to give Massachusetts another lead, this time 5-4 with seven minutes left in the period. With just :13 left in the third, Whitaker tied the game with a quick shot off an assist from McAleenan, sending the game to the fourth quarter tied 5-5.
Each team had early scoring chances in the fourth, but no one could take a lead, with the game still tied five minutes into the final period. Penn State took its first lead of the game when Whitaker scored off a Boyle assist with 8:27 to play. UMass had a great scoring opportunity brushed aside with 5:00 left when Adams made another stellar save in front of the net, securing Penn State¡¯s slim lead. Adams turned the trick again, turning back a Connolly shot from within five feet with just 4:00 left to play.
With just 1:24 left in the game, Penn State got a one-minute man-up opportunity when UMass was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty. The man-up chance not only gave Penn State a chance to push its lead to two goals, but it gave it the chance to wind the clock down even more. Whitaker scored a critical goal less than thirty-seconds into the penalty when he took a Gil Pearsall (Carthage, N.Y.) pass and easily found the back of an empty UMass net. Penn State would kill the remainder of the clock with a final possession to claim the critical ECAC win.
Whitaker ended the game with four goals, the only Nittany Lion scoring more than one time. McAleenan, Heim and Eremus tallied Penn State¡¯s other goals while Brian Boyle had two assists. Adams was stellar in the net, collecting 12 goals, four in the fourth period. UMass goalie Doc Schneider had 13 saves as well.
Penn State had 39 shots in the game, but only 20 on goal. UMass, on the other hand, managed only 20 shots, 17 of which were on goal. Gurenlian won ten of the game¡¯s 15 face-offs and collected a team-high seven ground balls.
Penn State improves to 4-3 on the year, 2-1 in the ECAC. No. 7 UMass falls to 6-2 overall, 1-1 in the league. The Nittany Lions will visit Hobart next Saturday in another ECAC Lacrosse League battle. The Nittany Lions will take on Hobart at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.
GAME SUMMARY: Penn State 7, Massachusetts 5 SCORING (Goal-Assist): 1st: UM (Connolly-Jacovina) 2nd: PSU (Eremus-Gurenlian), UM (Connolly), PSU (McAleenan), UM (Deane), PSU (Whitaker-B.Boyle) 3rd: UM (Stabert-Jacovina), PSU (Heim), UM (Morris), PSU (Whitaker-McAleenan) 4th: PSU (Whitaker-B.Boyle), PSU (Whitaker-Pearsall) GROUNDBALLS: PSU 35, UM 29 ¨C EMO: PSU 1-3, UM 0-1 SHOTS (SH-SOG): PSU 39-20, UM 20-17 FACE-OFFS: PSU 10-15, UM 5-15 GOALIE SUMMARY: PSU (Drew Adams 60:00, 5 GA, 12 SV), UM (Doc Schneider 59:58, 13 SV, 7 GA; Nick Sciubba 0:02, 0 SV, 0 GA) SCORE BY QUARTERS: 1 2 3 4 F PENN STATE 0 3 2 2 7 MASSACHUSETTS 1 2 2 0 5 RECORDS: Penn State 4-3, 2-1 ECAC, Massachusetts 6-2, 1-1 ECAC UP NEXT FOR PSU: Penn State at Hobart, Saturday, April 8, 1 p.m.