STATE COLLEGE, PA – Nick Spillane had two goals and a game-high five assists and the 15th-ranked Penn State men’s lacrosse team held off a furious second-half rally by fifth-ranked Johns Hopkins as the Nittany Lions scored a 14-12 victory over the Blue Jays before a crowd of 2,635 at Panzer Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The win snaps a seven-game winning streak for the Blue Jays, who slip to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. Penn State improves to 8-4 overall and 2-1 in the B1G..
The Blue Jays trailed 10-5 at the half before rallying in the second half, but never drew closer than the final margin of 14-12 as Penn State’s big opening half was more than they could overcome..
Johns Hopkins scored the opening two goals of the second half as Patrick Fraser and Cole Williams tallied less than two minutes apart, but Penn State answered with a 3-1 run over the final 8:18 of the third quarter to build the lead back to 13-8..
The Blue Jays trailed just 11-8 as the clock would down in the third quarter, but Spillane got inside on a double-team with six seconds left in the period and Nick McEvoy scored off the ensuring faceoff with 1.1 seconds on the clock to give the Lions the five-goal lead entering the final period..
The Blue Jays needed less than 90 seconds of the fourth quarter to make it 13-9 as senior midfielder Joel Tinney fired home his second of the game and Fraser added his third goal of the second half five minutes later to make it 13-10..
That score held for just 64 seconds as Ryan Keenan used a wing pick to get free and blew home a six-yarder. Still, the Blue Jays pushed against a Penn State zone defense; freshman Connor DeSimone took a nifty cross-crease pass from Tinney and scored into an open net just 36 seconds after Keenan’s goal to give the Blue Jay momentum. When Williams scored from the crease off a quick pass from Forry Smith with 4:45 on the clock, the Blue Jays were within two for the first time since the first quarter..
The Blue Jays had several possessions down the stretch, but Kneese made six of his 14 saves on the day in the final period, including two late in the game and one on a Patrick Foley shot in the final minute to seal the victory..
Early on, the Lions used a 7-1 run to grab a five-goal lead in the second quarter. Sophomore attackman Mac O’Keefe scored three times during the spree for Penn State, which started the spree with an O’Keefe goal from in-tight with 9:01 left in the first quarter and capped the run with a Brian Townsend goal with 11:12 left in the second. The last three goals in the spree were scored in a span of less than three minutes early in the second quarter to make it 8-3..
The teams traded the final four goals of the first half with Brinton Valis and Kyle Marr wrapping strikes around Penn State goals from Kevin Hill and Dylan Foulds to account for a 10-5 Penn State lead at the half..
Spillane’s seven points led the way for Penn State, which also got the three goals from O’Keefe and three from Hill. Kneese led the defense with his 14 saves, while sophomore Gerard Arceri won 16-of-23 faceoffs and added nine ground balls..
Williams (2g, 3a) and Tinney (2g, 3a) led the way for the Blue Jays offensively with five points apiece, while Fraser (3g) and Marr (2g, 1a) added three points on the day..
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, April 21 when the Blue Jays travel to Michigan. Faceoff is set for 12 pm..
Notes: The win is the first for Penn State against Johns Hopkins, which had won the previous nine games in the series • Senior Shack Stanwick left the game early after a collision in front of the goal and did not register a point – that ends his school-record 58-game point-scoring streak • Tinney’s five points push him past 100 for his career (103) and his 17-game point-scoring streak is now the longest on the team • Valis and Williams both pushed their goal-scoring streaks to nine games..