Nittany Lions Top Villanova in Season Opener
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa -- Penn State Men’s Lacrosse beat the Villanova Wildcats 17-7 for its first win of the season behind Grant Ament’s big day.
After the heartbreaking 17-16 loss in overtime last year, Penn State looked hungry for revenge in this one. The scoring started quickly for the Nittany Lions when they jumped out to an early 3-0 in the first quarter. Dylan Foulds, Ament and TJ Malone scored the first three goals to give the Nittany Lions the cushion they needed.
The Wildcats stopped the bleeding a little bit with back-to-back goals from Joey Froccaro and Keegan Khan, but the Nittany Lions answered right back, scoring five of the next six goals to give them a commanding 8-3 halftime lead.
Penn State’s momentum continued in the second half by scoring nine more goals and completely shutting down the Wildcats attack. Defensively, the Nittany Lions played very physical, and forced the Wildcats into mistakes that turned into turnovers. Penn State capitalized on those turnovers and turned them into great opportunities on offense.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni thought that the game plan on defense was much better this year than last year against Villanova.
“Last year I just don’t think we came in with a great plan and Villanova really exposed us because of it,” Tambroni said. “This year, I thought our plan was a very sound plan that was executed by our guys through the entirety of the game. I thought Colby bailed us out a few times, but you kind of hope that is exactly what a good goalie would do and a defense will complement his play."
Goaltender Colby Kneese played excellent in this game with 19 saves and only allowing four goals. He was a major reason why the Nittany Lions were successful on their own side of the field. Penn State brought the energy on defense all game long and Villanova had no answer for it.
On offense, Penn State got pretty much whatever they wanted. Ament, Malone and Foulds all had a hat trick and it provided a spark for this team. To add to his three goals, Ament had seven assists on the day giving him a 10-point game. Out of Penn State’s 17 goals, 11 of them were assisted, which means they were moving the ball around and putting the Wildcats defense in some very difficult situations.
After missing all of last season with an injury, Ament came into this first game of the season with a chip on his shoulder. He fed his teammates with nice passes, and cashed in on his scoring opportunities. He is just happy to be back out there, and it showed in his game.
With the win, Penn State moves to 1-0 on the season and looks to keep the momentum rolling early in the season. It was a total team win with an array of guys sharing the wealth. The Nittany Lions host Robert Morris next Saturday at 11 a.m. at Panzer Stadium, so it will be interesting to see if this win fuels them moving forward.
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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