Umass vs. Penn State
March 28, 2009
The Game Story:
AMHERST, Mass. - Jim Connolly's wraparound goal with 55.2 seconds remaining in regulation gave the UMass men's lacrosse team a thrilling 9-8 win over Penn State in an ECAC classic on Saturday afternoon at Garber Field. Connolly and fellow senior Tim Balise each netted hat tricks while Doc Schneider stood tall with 12 of his 15 saves coming in the second half, stopping a Nittany Lion onslaught dead in its tracks. The Minutemen improve their record to 5-3, 3-0 in conference play while Penn State is 3-5, 0-3 in the ECAC.

The Nittany Lions battled back from a 6-4 halftime deficit to tie the score at six, seven, and eight, but were never able to take the lead. Freshman Art Kell broke a 7-7 deadlock with a wraparound on the left side to beat Penn State goalie Drew Adams, who finished the afternoon with 13 saves. Matthew Mackrides scored only 13 seconds later to tie the score once again, 8-8.

Connolly's sensational individual effort on the right side stood as the difference and Schneider stopped one last desperation shot from Chris Hogan with 30 seconds remaining to preserve the victory.

The Minutemen took a 1-0 lead barely over a minute into the game as Mike Fetterly netted his first-career goal, a man-up tally at 13:48. Balise scored his first of the day at 8:43, taking a Bobby Hayes pass before dodging a defender and releasing a bullet.

Penn State answered with three straight goals bridging the first and second quarters, but Connolly answered on an unsettled situation to make it 3-3. The Nittany Lions took a 4-3 lead at 9:41 off Jack Forster's second of the game, but the Minutemen scored three consecutive spanning the final 7:49 of the first half for a 6-4 halftime advantage.

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The Nittany Lions dominated the early stages of the third quarter, but were never able to take a lead. Balise scored UMass' first goal of the quarter coming with only 19 seconds remaining to give the Minutemen a 7-7 advantage, setting up the thrilling fourth quarter finish.

The UMass defense was stout once again, as Diogo Godoi (career-high 5 GB) and Brennan Mack (4 GB) headed up a defense that held its opponent in single digits for the sixth time this season.

Final shots were 48-39 in favor of Penn State while the Nittany Lions won the faceoff battle, 11-10. Penn State was 2-for-2 on the extra man and UMass was 1-for-5. UMass was 21-for-24 on clears while Penn State was 21-for-28.

The Minutemen return to action in one week as they host former assistant coach Jason Miller and his St. John's Red Storm at 1 p.m. on Garber Field. Follow all the action on live streaming video and WMUA 91.1 FM Radio