Penn State used a strong fourth quarter to open its conference season on the right foot.
The No. 18 Penn State (3-3, 1-0 CAA) men’s lacrosse team ended its three game losing streak by defeating No. 19 Massachusetts (3-4, 0-1 CAA) on the road 7-5 in its first Colonial Athletic Association game of the season on Saturday.
With just more than three minutes left in the third quarter, the Minutemen had just responded to the fourth tie of the game, to take a 5-4 lead. With a Penn State clear, the ball landed in possession of attacker Jack Forster who was looking for his third hat trick of the season. Forster was knocked to the ground and scored from his knees to notch his third goal of the contest, which tied the score at five.
The third quarter ended in a 5-5 draw and in a competitive game that saw five ties and six lead changes, the Lions managed to hold the Minutemen scoreless in the fourth period after scoring in each of the previous periods.
“The zone gave us trouble again, they zoned us pretty much the whole game it seemed like from the first quarter on,” Massachusetts coach Greg Cannella told UMassathletics.com after the game.
Penn State holds its opponents to just 34.4 shots per game, but UMass was able to find openings to attack, outshooting the Lions 40-32.
Despite letting up a season-high in shots, goalie Austin Kaut had 16 saves while letting in just five goals, a season best.
“The execution is there just the finishing is not. [Austin] Kaut has a lot to do with it, he is an excellent goalie,” Cannella told the website. “So he has a lot to do with it, making some really good saves and making the shooters thinking about it a little bit.”
With just nine giveaways, the Lions had single-digit turnovers for the second time this season, the first time since the squads three-game losing streak.
Penalties plagued both squads as UMass had three two-minute penalties and Penn State had two. The extra-man opportunities resulted in a goal for the Minutemen, while the Lions went 0-3.
“Penn State is a very athletic, well-coached team,” Cannella said to UMassathletics.com. “I thought both teams played with a lot of intensity, it was a nip and tuck.”
With their first conference game and win under their belt, the Lions will attempt to stay undefeated on the road as they take on Binghamton on Tuesday. Penn State will return home on Saturday for another conference matchup with St. Joseph’s, looking for its first win in Happy Valley this season.
“Our staff is very proud of our team's effort,” coach Jeff Tambroni told GoPSUSports.com. “As it was a hard fought win over a very tough UMass team. Any win in the CAA is a big win, but we can't afford to celebrate for long with a quick turnaround and our second road game just three days away.”