The 2020 men’s lacrosse campaign began yesterday afternoon with a rare outdoor February game at Panzer Stadium against a Lafayette team that was hoping to shock the lacrosse world. For a brief moment, it appeared maybe the Leopards would do such a thing, scoring the game’s first goal less than two minutes in. A few minutes later, Grant Ament would finally get the Nittany Lions on board to tie the game up, 1-1.
While the defense would hold Lafayette scoreless the remainder of the first quarter, PSU struggled to find the back of the net, as it took another six minutes after Ament’s goal before Mac O’Keefe, last year’s goal leader, put PSU up 2-1 on the power play. Kevin Hill would add another PSU goal in the final minute of the first quarter, as PSU would take a 3-1 lead heading into the second quarter.
It was then however, that the PSU quick-strike offense we all have come to know and love emerged, with the Nittany Lions scoring five goals in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the quarter, with Ament and O’Keefe accounting for all but one of the goals (Jack Traynor had the one non-Ament/O’Keefe goal). Before anyone could blink, PSU was up 8-1 and the rout was on, as the team took an 8-2 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third quarter saw PSU’s TJ Malone score in the first minute, but Lafayette would score the next two goals to keep things semi-interesting. PSU would go on a 6-0 run however, to put away any upset hopes, giving the Lions a 15-4 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Leopards to their credit, did not mail it in, outscoring PSU 5-1 to make the final score look more respectable.
O’Keefe to nobody’s surprise, led the way in scoring with six goals, with Ament also racking up four goals himself, to go along with his team-leading six assists. Face-off ace Gerard Arceri won all but two of his 21 face-offs, and the team as a whole was 22-for-27 on face-offs. Goalkeeper Colby Kneese also totaled eight saves.
Next up on the docket is a road trip to Villanova next Saturday, February 8th. The game will be Villanova’s season opener.