Saturday was a confusing day for scorekeepers, as Penn men’s lacrosse traveled to State College, Pa. to play in-state rival No. 5 Penn State.
Despite sticking with the Nittany Lions for the entire game, the Red and Blue let in two last minute goals to go down 15-14 in a dramatic finish.
After dropping their two opening games to then-No.3 Maryland and No. 5 Duke by scores of 13-12 and 17-7, respectively, the Quakers (0-3) looked to break their losing streak in their 38th meeting with Penn State (4-1).
As the whistle blew, Penn got off to a quick start, scoring two goals in the span of two minutes at the hands of junior attack Adam Goldner and freshman attack Sam Handley, who netted his unassisted. The Quakers went up 3-1 via a goal scored by senior attack Simon Mathias, who was recently named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list, before Penn State wrapped up the first quarter with a three-goal run to go up 4-3.
The Nittany Lions entered the books again to go up 5-3 roughly a minute after play resumed. The Red and Blue clawed their way back in the second quarter with a three-goal run of their own, which consisted of senior attack Tyler Dunn’s first and only goal of the day in addition to second goals from both Goldner and Mathias, to go up 6-5.
Both teams traded goals back and forth and entered halftime tied at 7-7, after Goldner, assisted by sophomore attack Sean Lulley, equalized with 56 seconds to go for his third goal of the day.
Penn made the first mark of the second quarter through Handley’s second goal to go up 8-7, and traded a slim one-goal lead with Penn State for most of the quarter. Handley scored his third and last goal of the game to help the Red and Blue go up 9-8. The Nittany Lions hit back with two goals, but Goldner came in clutch with his fourth goal of the day to end third quarter play at 10-10.
The final 15 minutes of the game were the most nail-biting.
The proceedings started with Penn goals scored by sophomore midfielder Mitch Bartolo and Lulley within 30 seconds of each other, but Penn State would score two goals to tie the score back up at 12-12 with nine minutes of play to go. Goldner continued his dominating performance by adding his fifth of the day, with the help of a Bartolo assist, to give the Quakers a one-goal lead.
The Nittany Lions equalized roughly a minute after that, and Lulley added his second goal of the day through another Bartolo assist, to give Penn its final lead of the day. In the minute that followed, the Quakers squandered their lead by letting in two quickfire goals at the hands of Penn State junior attack Nick Spillane, going down 14-15 in heartbreaking fashion.
Next up for the Quakers is Villanova. Penn will look to score its first win of the season when it plays the Wildcats as part of the Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic, as Ivy League play looms on the horizon in the second week of March.