MLAX: Penn State Dominant Across Field in Win Over Cornell
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – With six minutes left in the second quarter, tied 3-3, it looked like the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Cornell Big Red were in for a low-scoring and tightly contested game. It is safe to say nobody expected the game to end quite the way it did with Penn State pulling away and winning 20-10. After the impressive play on an unseasonably beautiful day, the Nittany Lions are now 3-0 on the season and the Big Red start their season 0-1.
After starting slow in the first quarter the Nittany Lion attackers found their groove and scored four in a row to end the first half 7-3.
Penn State came out in the second half on fire as they scored seven goals in the third quarter while only giving up two. Mac O’Keefe had the highlight of the day as he scored from his knees directly in front of the crease after twirling to catch a late pass.
“At this point nothing surprises us [about O’Keefe],” Tambroni said. “That young man does stuff in practice that you just don’t coach. He plays with a lot of poise and he’s got a lot of courage.”
At the start of the second half it was obvious that the Big Red were tiring out and Penn State took advantage. Cornell had started the game going 3-3 in face-offs and steadily fell apart as the game continued. Penn State took 8-9 face-offs in the second quarter and then went 17-22 in the second half. The huge margin of victory on face-offs is thanks to freshman Gerard Arceri according to Coach Tambroni.
“We keep saying the same thing about Gerard mentally, he’s just so tough,” Tambroni said. “To say he has that kind of mental resilience and toughness as a freshman just says so much about his preparation.”
The Nittany Lions wouldn’t be slowed down and their consistent high-energy possessions kept Cornell from doing much of anything as the Big Red were held to five goals until they doubled their score in the fourth quarter. Cornell’s freshman attacker Jeff Teat was expected to have a good game after being rated the number one recruit of the year, yet Penn State’s defense kept him scoreless until near the end of the fourth quarter on seven shots.
Penn State led nearly every stat at the end of the game after putting on a clinic on each side of the ball. Continuing to push the score difference higher as the game went on allowed players who don’t usually get many chances to play to see some action.
“The one thing I take away from today is the top to bottom,” Tambroni said. “ Just about everybody had a chance to compete today and when their number was called, and it might not show up on the scoreboard, but a lot of stuff that they did put them in a chance to win the game the way they did. It was a real team effort, a team win.”
Cornell’s goalie, senior Christian Knight had a great game in goal, saving 14 shots even though he let in 19 goals. The goals can’t all be blamed on him, however, as the Big Red defense had a poor performance, looking sluggish and uninterested at times, especially later in the game.
Eight different players scored for Penn State including Grant Ament and Mac O’Keefe who have both been dominant so far early this season. Ament had a career game, leading scoring with six goals followed by O’Keefe with five. It’s the second week in a row that both Ament and O’Keefe have scored at least four goals, third in a row for O’Keefe. O’Keefe now has 16 goals on the season across three games.
“I thought we were just playing as a team, I was lucky on a couple of the ends of the plays,” said Grant Ament on his team’s performance after the game. “The offense was just clicking and it’s very fun to play with an offense that’s clicking.”
Up next the Nittany Lions will head to Villanova to take on the Wildcats on Saturday, February 25th.
Tommy Butler is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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