UMBC struck first today, but after that it was all Penn State, as the Nittany Lions demonstrated why they are the #1 seed this year by storming past the Retrievers 25-10 on a rainy day in Happy Valley. 10 different Penn State players scored at least one goal today, helping the program win its first NCAA Tournament game in school history. The victory was also the 12th win in a row for Penn State, a school record, and moved the team into a tie with the Penn Quakers for the longest active streak in the nation.
Penn State’s Grant Ament was magnificent this game, as he finished with 8 points on the day (3Gs, 5As). The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year had no issue with the rain, as he sliced and diced his way through the UMBC defense.
Ament’s teammate Mac O’Keefe also had fantastic afternoon, as he finished with six goals and one assist. O’Keefe’s second goal of the game gave him 62 on the year, which broke the Big Ten record for goals in a season previously held by former Johns Hopkins great, Ryan Brown.
While O’Keefe and Ament had great games this afternoon, Penn State had plenty of firepower from others as well. Indeed, Jack Kelly poured in six goals of his own today, while Dylan Foulds had four goals and three assists on the afternoon. Gerard Arceri had a strong game at the face-off, going 25 of 27 at the dot.
UMBC’s Ryan Frawley played well today in a losing effort. He scored six goals and was the main source of offense for the team. UMBC’s 2019 ended unceremoniously, but they should be commended for how they turned their season around, won the American East Tournament, and went on the road to defeat Marist in the play-in game earlier this week.
Penn State now goes on to play Loyola next Sunday in East Hartford, Connecticut. Which means we’ll have Grant Ament & Pat Spencer, the two best players in the sport, going up against each other with a Final Four spot on the line. It doesn’t get any better than that if your a college lacrosse fan.