#19 UMass Falls In Conference Opener Against #18 Penn State, 7-5
March 16, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - In a contest that came down to the fourth quarter, the No. 19 UMass men's lacrosse squad dropped a 7-5 decision to No. 18 Penn State at Garber Field on Saturday afternoon. Junior midfielder Connor Mooney recorded a hat trick to pace the offense while senior attack Will Manny notched a pair of assists in his return from a thumb injury.
Senior attack Kyle Smith and junior midfielder Matt Whippen each recorded one goal for the Minutemen. Smith also helped out on one goal to secure two points on the day while sophomore attack Grant Whiteway added one assist. Redshirt-freshman Zach Oliveri stopped 14 Nittany Lion shots while junior midfielder Joe Calvello won 9-of-16 faceoffs and scooped up a game-high five groundballs.
The contest also marked the first appearance for senior midfielder Colin Fleming, who earned eight shots against Penn State after sitting out the previous four games due to an ankle injury. Manny had not played since the season-opener against Army, a stretch of five contests.
Entering the fourth quarter tied at 5-5, Penn State (3-3 overall, 1-0 CAA) earned the margin of victory with back-to-back tallies during the final six minutes. Kyle VanThof scored the Nittany Lions' sixth goal of the day with 5:54 remaining before Jack Forster earned the final mark with 3:28 to play. Calvello won the faceoff following Penn State's seventh tally; however, Smith's ensuing shot was blocked in front and the Minutemen (3-4, 0-1) were unable to record another attempt during the final three minutes.
In the early-going, the squads traded goals en route to a 3-3 halftime tie, with a trio of Minutemen combining to notch the three UMass tallies. Mooney put UMass on the board with his first mark of the day 9:23 into the contest, doing so unassisted to knot the contest at 1-1 after Forster recorded the first goal of competition. After Forster added another to push Penn State back into the lead, Smith answered for the Minutemen following a pass from Manny with 2:14 to play in the first.
Penn State went back in front again at the 9:23 mark of the second quarter, with Kyle Zittel netting one unassisted to give the visiting side a 3-2 advantage. However, the lead only held until Whippen recorded his 11th goal of the year. The junior midfielder took a pass from Manny, moved to his left toward the Penn State goal and fired by Nittany Lions goalie Austin Kaut with 5:15 left in the opening half.
Mooney had a pair of tallies in the third quarter, recording the hat trick in the process while pushing UMass in front by one goal on each occasion. The Wilbraham, Mass., native opened scoring in the third with 11:31 remaining on a feed from Whiteway to put the Minutemen ahead, 5-4. After Nick Dolik answered for the Nittany Lions with 7:08 left, Mooney secured the final UMass goal during a man-up situation at the 5:28 mark of the quarter.
The Minutemen led in shots, 40-32 and groundballs, 20-18. UMass finished 13-of-15 on clears while Penn State went 12-for-14. The home side was 1-of-3 during man-up situations while the Nittany Lions were limited to 0-for-3 in the category. Kaut finished the day with 16 saves for Penn State while Forster led all scorers with four points on as many goals.
UMass is back in action in Bethlehem, Pa., at Lehigh University on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN U and available through WatchESPN.com.