Penn State Men's Lacrosse vs Rutgers, O'Keefe

Attackman Mack O'Keefe (3) attempts to pass the ball around Rutgers' Tommy Coyne during the Penn State men's lacrosse game against Rutgers on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at Panzer Stadium in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions lost to the Scarlet Knights 22-10.

A week after a historic overtime victory against Michigan, Penn State’s regular-season finale against Ohio State came down to the wire.

The Nittany Lions defeated Ohio State 10-9 Saturday on the back of two clutch goals from Dylan Foulds to retain the Creator Trophy.

In his first game as the all-time leading goal scorer in Division I history, fifth-year attackman Mac O’Keefe secured two goals against the Buckeyes.

In a highly defensive game on both sides, the Nittany Lion offense held the blue and white back for the majority of the game, continuing their 2021 turnover issues.

Aside from turnovers, there was not just one man to carry the load in goal scoring, as Penn State has become accustomed to in 2021.

Against Ohio State, four players tallied two or more goals, with Foulds leading the charge with four.

The Canada native delivered a game-tying goal with one minute left in regulation and then followed up with a game-winning goal, en route to the Nittany Lions 10-9 win over the Buckeyes.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Penn State’s regular-season finale.

Fyock delivers in first game as starting goalkeeper

Maybe the biggest storyline entering Saturday's game against Ohio State was coach Jeff Tambroni’s decision to bench five-year starting goalkeeper Colby Kneese for redshirt sophomore Aleric Fyock.

In two games played this season, Fyock has saved more goals than allowed, challenging Kneese — who hasn’t done so in four weeks.

While Kneese has been a staple of Penn State’s team for five years, Kneese had one of the worst outings of his career the last time Ohio State faced off against the Nittany Lions.

Although Penn State did get the win in their first 2021 matchup, Kneese allowed 13 goals while only saving three.

The poor performance of Kneese over the past few weeks tells the story for why Fyock is now the starting Nittany Lion goalkeeper — and Fyock didn’t disappoint either.

Defense gives one of its best performances of 2021

The first half of Penn State’s regular-season finale showcased some of the best defense the Nittany Lions have demonstrated this season.

For only the third time in 2021, the blue and white was able to hold its opponent to just four goals in a half. The first two came in both halves of the Nittany Lions 11-8 win over Johns Hopkins in March.

In their second matchup against Ohio State this season, the Nittany Lions were to hold the Buckeyes to only nine goals.

Behind the brilliant play of Nick Cardile and Sutton Boland, Penn State was able to cause six turnovers and scoop up 32 ground balls

Turnovers continue to plague Penn State’s offense

While Penn State’s defense delivered one of its best performances of 2021, the Nittany Lion offense was relatively quiet after an electric 14-goal showing against Michigan a week prior.

Sure, shots weren’t falling, as Mac O’Keefe and the Penn State offense shot a lackluster 10 for 43.

However, it was turnovers that truly hurt the Nittany Lions.

It seemed every possession the defense would provide the offense with good opportunities, only to have the ball turned over.

The second quarter told the story for the offense’s turnover struggles, as Penn State’s defense was able to hold Ohio State scoreless for nearly 14 minutes, only to still be tied with the Buckeyes at halftime.

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