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College Crosse NCAA Tournament Recap: Penn State Defeats Loyola 21-14

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The Penn State Nittany Lions are going to Philadelphia.

NCAA Football: Penn State Blue-White Game Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State’s powerful offense was on full display today as the Nittany Lions withstood a herculean effort from Pat Spencer to defeat the Greyhounds 21-14. Penn State’s Mac O’Keefe was electric this afternoon, as he finished with nine goals & was virtually unstoppable at times The nine tallies for O’Keefe tied the NCAA Tournament single-game record for goals in a game.

Penn State scored its 20th goal with a little over 10:00 minutes left in the fourth quarter. That point tied Syracuse’s 1990* team as the only other squad to score back-to-back 20+ goal games in the NCAA Tournament. That Syracuse team had three 20+ goal games during the 1990 NCAA Tournament, their third being their 21-9 title game victory over Loyola.

Penn State’s offense was on fire today. Indeed, the Nittany Lions were too hot even for ESPNU, as the live feed was was cut for a significant portion of the third quarter. Honestly, I think ESPN was making sure that people with heart conditions had a break from watching Penn State & their ferocious offense.

Mac O’Keefe lit up the scoreboard today, but he had plenty of help. Grant Ament also finished with nine points this afternoon (1G, 8As) and demonstrated why he should be in the conversation for best player in the country alongside Spencer. Additionally, Jack Kelly chipped in with five points of his own (4Gs, 1A). While Loyola was able to get to him in the third quarter for seven goals, Penn State’s Colby Kneese had fourteen saves on the afternoon, including six in the first quarter when Loyola came out hot.

This was Pat Spencer’s last game in college (as a lacrosse player) but he went out with a bang. When he scored his 6th goal to cut Penn State’s lead to two (16-14) with two minutes left to play in the third quarter, I started to believe that he might be able to pull it off and drag his team to victory over college lacrosse’s Thanos. However, it was not to be as Penn State went on a 5-0 run after his final goal of the game to snuff out any hopes of a comeback victory for the Greyhounds. Moreover, a costly penalty by Loyola at the end of the third quarter stunted the momentum the Greyhounds built during the previous 14 minutes.

Penn State advances to their first Final Four in program history. They will play the winner of Penn vs. Yale. Given how the Nittany Lions have been playing on offense, stopping Penn State from getting its first national title in men’s lacrosse will be a very difficult task.