Penn State vs. Umass
March 29, 2008
The Game Story:
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lion lacrosse team dropped a heart-breaking 7-5 ECAC Lacrosse League decision to Massachusetts on Saturday at Penn State's Bigler Field. The Nittany Lions out shot UMass 34-21, but the Minutemen managed to shut Penn State down late in the game with solid ball control offense to grab the win.

Senior Andrew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) led Penn State with two goals while freshman Colby Rhodes (La Jolla, Calif.) had a goal and two assists, but it was not enough to offset the Minutemen, who got two goals and an assist from Peter McNichols.

The Minutemen got the game's first goal more than five minutes into the game. Peter McNichols took a nice pass from Bobby Hayes and tossed the ball quickly past Penn State goalie Drew Adams (Springfield, Pa.) at the 9:17 mark. UMass then took advantage of a Nittany Lion turnover less than a minute later when Tim Balise scored off a Zach Rodgers assist with 8:15 left to give the Minutemen an early 2-0 lead. Sophomore Brian Shea (Gaithersburg, Md.) got Penn State on the board with 3:43 left in the period, scoring unassisted with a nice shot past UMass keeper Doc Schneider. Nittany Lion Mackrides tied the game for Penn State with just 0:16 left in the period, taking an assist from Rhodes in a man-up situation.

But UMass took the lead quickly in the second period, with McNichols scoring unassisted less than two minutes in to give the Minutemen a 3-2 lead. No one scored for nearly ten minutes until Rodgers put UMass up 4-2 with a nifty goal, moving in from behind the goal, and scoring with 4:23 left in the half. A minute later, Hayes got his first goal of the game for UMass, taking an assist from Evan Blum with 3:36 left to give the Minutemen a 5-2 lead. But Penn State quickly answered UM's third straight goal when Mackrides took a Bubba Scott (Rockville, Md.) pass and scored with 2:51 left, cutting the lead to 5-3.

Penn State got the first goal of the second half when Rhodes scored unassisted at the 13:32 mark, cutting UMass' lead to 5-4 early in the third period. But Balise answered quickly for the Minutemen, taking an assist from Rodgers at the 10:16 mark to put the visitors back up by two, 6-4. The Minutemen then stretched their lead to 7-4 with just :09 left as Fred Frederico scored off a McNichols assist after a long UM possession.

Junior Max VanArsdale (Rochester, N.Y.) got Penn State back in the mix just :37 seconds into the fourth quarter, scoring off a Rhodes assist to inch Penn State to within two, 7-5. But the Minutemen used ball control offense to effectively kill the clock, keeping Penn State from scoring and action on their side of the field for much of fourth period. The Minutemen kept Penn State off the board after VanArsdale's early score and posted the hard-fought 7-5 win.

Adams had six saves for Penn State while Schneider notched 12 saves in goal for UMass. Penn State took 34 shots, 17 of which were on goal, while UMass had a tighter 21-13 ratio. The Nittany Lions won nine of the game's 14 face-offs and had a 39-19 edge in ground balls.

Penn State is now 4-4, 1-2 ECAC. UMass is now 3-5, 1-1 ECAC). The Nittany Lions continue conference play next Saturday when they visit Hobart for a 1 p.m. game with the Statesmen.