Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/4/17
From Press Release
The fifth-ranked Penn State men’s lacrosse team earned a sizzling come-from-behind win on Saturday afternoon, taking down in-state rival No. 8 Penn, 14-13, inside a packed Holuba Hall.
For the first time in 2017 the Nittany Lions faced a daunting task, having to overcome a four-goal deficit in the first half. A relentless effort from the group resulted in a seven-goal output in the third quarter to help Penn State advance to 5-0 on the season. The Quakers dropped to 2-1. The teams’ rosters featured numerous players from the Philly region, including seven each from Haverford School and Malvern Prep and 33 that have played for the Duke’s Lacrosse and Mesa Lacrosse programs.
Penn State’s scoring came by committee against the Quakers, with nine different players finding the back of the net. The Nittany Lions were led by sophomore midfielder Nick Spillane, who put together a career day against Penn with a game-high five goals, one coming in an extra-man opportunity.
“I thought in the second half we shared the ball more,” seventh-season head coach Jeff Tambroni said following the Nittany Lions’ one-goal victory. “We made our shots a little more difficult for the goalie to locate and took advantage. Obviously, the momentum at the faceoff ‘x’ was just monumental. We had enough opportunities to get our offense in rhythm, and without that it may have been a totally different outcome.”
Freshman midfielder Gerard Arceri continued to impress at the faceoff dot, going 24-for-31 to create chances for the Penn State attack.
Attackmen senior Nick Aponte and Grant Ament (Haverford School) kept their point streaks alive, both tallying three points in the contest. Aponte logged a goal and a pair of assists in the outing, while Ament posted three helpers, quarterbacking the offense at the X. Freshman attackman Mac O’Keefe added a score.
The midfield handled the majority of the Penn State scoring. In addition to Spillane’s output, classmate Kevin Hill logged a pair of goals, one being man-up. Arceri, Dan Craig, Matt Florence and Mike Sutton (St. Augustine Prep) each posted a goal as well. Sophomore long stick midfielder Tommy Wright scored the first goal of his career to open the Penn State scoring, while classmate Ryan Keenan added an assist.
On the defensive end freshman goaltender Colby Kneese logged his fifth win of the season with six saves, while sophomore defender Chris Sabia (Haverford School) logged a team-best pair of caused turnovers.
The Nittany Lions have little turnaround time, as the team hosts the Furman Paladins on Tuesday, March 7, at 3 p.m. The game is set to air on the Big Ten Network, with Pete Medhurst and Mark Dixon on the call.
The Turning Point
The Nittany Lions held a 14-13 lead with just over a minute and a half remaining, when Penn’s Kevin McGeary (Malvern Prep) looked to move the ball into a scoring position. Senior midfielder Tyler Chambers (Episcopal Academy) jarred the ball loose, and while McGeary recovered the loose ball, a pair of Nittany Lions forced McGeary over the midfield line to gain possession. The possession gave Penn just 30 seconds at the end of the game to try to equalize, but the Nittany Lion defense answered the call.
Gerard Arceri – Despite facing three different faceoff specialists, Arceri remained consistent at the faceoff ‘x’, going 24-of-31 while collecting a game-high 15 groundballs. Both his faceoff wins and groundballs marked season highs.
Nick Spillane – Spillane set a new career high with five goals on six shots to lead all players in the scoring column. The five goals were one shy of his season output entering the game.
Midfield scoring – Entering the game, Penn State saw 63 percent of its season scoring coming from the attack position. The attack line served as facilitators in the top-10 showdown, scoring just two goals, while seven midfielders accounted for the remaining 12 goals.
Transition opportunities – The Nittany Lions made the most of their chances moving the ball from defense to offence, going a perfect 12-of-12 in clearing opportunities. Additionally, both Arceri and Wright found chances to score thanks to efficient play in the fast break.
Tyler Dunn – The sophomore attackman proved tough to cover for the Nittany Lions, finishing the game with a team-high four goals.
Stout defense – The Penn defense was relentless, limiting Penn State to its lowest number of shots (39) and shooting percentage (.359) of the season.
Reilly Hupfeldt (Haverford School) – The junior midfielder had two goals and an assist.
Connor Keating (Haverford School) – The junior LSM had five groundballs and a caused turnover.