Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/17/17
From Press Releases
Mike Sutton (St. Augustine Prep, Duke’s LC) scored with 3:07 to play to lift host and No. 2 ranked Penn State to a 9-8 thriller over pesky Fairfield today, keeping the Nittany Lions undefeated mark (8-0) on ESPNU.
Fairfield (2-5) took an 8-7 lead when Dave Fleming rifled one home from distance with 8:07 to play to cap a 3-0 run. The lead lasted just nine seconds, however, as Penn State’s Gerard Arceri (10 of 17 FO) won the ensuing faceoff and went coast-to-coast to tie the game at 8-8 with 7:58 to play.
After winning the following faceoff, the Stags turned the ball over when a clear gave Penn State the chance to take the lead. After a pair of wide shots, senior midfielder Sutton ran from behind the goal out to the left wing where he fired home the game-winning goal.
Fairfield (2-5) is the first team to limit Penn State to less than 10 goals this season. Tyler Behring headed that effort in the cage with 14 saves, while Andrew Eidenshink (La Salle) had two groundballs and a caused turnover and helped a defense that forced the Nittany Lions into 14 turnovers.
With the 8-0 start, the 2017 team has had the best start in program history, topping that of the 1992 team (7-0). The eight wins mark tie the 2016 team’s output and mark the most since the 2013 season in which Penn State went 12-5 while going undefeated in Colonial Athletic Association play for Penn State’s third ever NCAA tournament appearance.
The Nittany Lions were led by two goals and an assist from Nick Aponte and two Matt Florence goals. Mac O’Keefe added a goal and an assist while Grant Ament (Haverford School) scored once, Tripp Traynor (Malvern Prep) had four groundballs and defenseman Chris Sabia (Haverford School) had a groundball and a caused turnover for the Lions.
“I’m incredibly proud of our performance and effort today,” said Head Coach Andy Copelan. “We’re not happy to be 2-5, but I think the silver lining is how much we’ve improved since the season began. When conference play rolls around, I’m not sure if there is another team in the country that will be as battle-tested as us with the schedule we’ve played so far. We just need to take that glass half-full mentality and get back to work next week.”