MLAX: Nittany Lions Hold Off No. 5 Johns Hopkins for a 14-12 Victory
Behind an aspiring performance from Gerard Arceri, the Nittany Lions were able to hold off the Blue Jays for the program’s first victory against No. 5 Johns Hopkins.
Penn State overcame a strong second half by the Blue Jays to win 14-12 on Saturday at Panzer Stadium.
The Nittany Lions (8-4) were looking to get back on track after a heartbreaking lost to Maryland last week. This would prove to be a tough task as the Blue Jays (8-3) were looking to extend their winning streak to eight.
The fifteenth-ranked Nittany Lions looked determined to upset John Hopkins early on, as both junior Kevin Hill and sophomore Mac O’Keefe tallied two goals, respectively, to give Penn State a 5-3 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Penn State really stepped on the gas, scoring five goals and only allowed two. This gave the team a 10-5 first half lead; this cushion would prove to be important as Johns Hopkins would not be able to overcome the deficit.
Sophomore faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri’s play at the faceoff x proved to be pivotal as he dominated there. Arceri was playing with a sever limp and toughed it out to dominate Hopkins, winning eight out of nine faceoffs in the first quarter.
“His mental toughness today was just superior,” coach Jeff Tambroni said of Arceri, “That was a special once in a lifetime performance.”
This season, the Blue Jays have proven that no lead is safe against them. They trailed 9-2 at halftime against Virginia early in the season, only to come back and win 15-13. So a run was expected and it looked like the game was slipping away from the Nittany Lions when Hopkins closed the gap to three goals with 10:41 remaining in the third quarter.
But, after the teams traded goals, the Nittany Lions scored two goals in the final seven seconds of the third quarter to give them a 13-8 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
“I thought that [the final seconds of the third] in terms of momentum was huge,” Tambroni said, “I did feel like our guys were starting to have thoughts creep into their head that wasn’t positive, it seemed like we were playing against ourselves… so that was a big boost in terms of momentum.”
In the fourth quarter, Johns Hopkins proved to have one more run in them though as they went on a four goal to one run to pull them within two at the 4:45 mark in the final quarter. But, the Nittany Lions were able to hang on and came out on top when the final buzzer sounded.
“You can’t play the way we played in the first half against a team like this and expect to win,” Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala said, “What a difference in the second but too little too late we were too busy trying to climb a mountain that we couldn’t climb.”
Eight different Nittany Lions found the back of the net in this game as their offense was clicking for the whole game.
“We’re a team offense,” Junior midfielder Kevin Hill said, “We work as a team every single day... we take a lot of pride in that… and that’s why we won this game.”
This was a huge victory for the Nittany Lions who were looking to gain momentum as they continue Big Ten play.
The Nittany Lions will look to continue their winning ways in the Big Ten when they travel to Rutgers to play the Scarlet Knights at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 22.
Jerome Taylor is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email