Both Nittany Lion lacrosse teams hosted their opponents in the first round of the NCAA tournament this past weekend. While only the No. 4 Women’s team will advance to the elite eight, both teams demonstrated incredible heart and determination in their fights for a win.
The first quarter for the No. 8 men (12-4, 3-2) demonstrated that Towson would not go down without a fight. Mac O’Keefe (Syosset, N.Y.) struck first, and his goal was quickly returned by a Towson offensive player to tie up the game 1-1 at the end of the first.
Senior Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.) turned up the heat by scoring two goals in a row to open up the second quarter. The Tigers quickly responded by adding two goals of their own, but Grant Ament (Doylestown, Pa.) edged out Towson and sent the teams into halftime with Penn State leading 4-3.
Towson came out firing on all cylinders, scoring three goals to open up the third quarter, giving Towson a 6-4 lead right away. O’Keefe kept the dream alive with a Penn State goal, but not before Towson finished up the third quarter with a fourth and final goal (5-7, in Towson’s favor).
Ament came in clutch right away in the fourth quarter with two goals. Towson proceeded to obtain a 4-0 scoring streak, ended by O’Keefe to keep the Lions alive. With just seconds to go, Towson scored an open-net goal to secure a Tigers victory and eliminate Penn State from the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the loss, this was the first time since 2013 the men’s team competed in the NCAA Tournament, and they look to return even stronger as a program next season. Congrats, Lions!
The No. 4 seeded women (16-3, 5-1) found great success against James Madison University this past Thursday. The Lady Lions hosted the Dukes and put on scoring show, defeating the Dukes 19-14.
It was yet again the duo of Katie O’Donnell (West Chester, Pa.) and Madison Carter (Davidsonville, Md.) that propelled the Lions to victory. Carter posted a career-high eight points (six goals) and 12 draw controls while O’Donnell contributed four goals.
Freshman and late-season standout Maria Auth (Street, Md.), added her second hat-trick of the season while senior Steph Lazo (Stevensville, Md.) added five points (three goals, two assists). Sophomore anchor Kayla Brisolari (Crofton, Md.) cinched two goals for the Lions.
The game was a back-and-forth of scoring, with Penn State notching eight goals and JMU six in the first half, and then the Lions clinching 10 and JMU eight goals in the second.
Senior goalie Cat Rainone (Newtown Square, Pa.) made eight saves for the Blue and White, coming up clutch multiple times to keep the Lions in the lead.
The Lions will take on No.5-ranked Princeton this Sunday at 1 p.m. here in University Park. Be sure to stop by the lacrosse field to cheer on the Lions!