February 26, 2012

Penn State Upsets No. 2 Notre Dame in Overtime

from staff reports

Penn State sophomore goalie Austin Kaut made 18 saves, including one in overtime to set up the winning score, in a low-scoring battle in South Bend on Sunday.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Penn State senior attackman Matthew Mackrides scored the game-winning goal with two seconds remaining in overtime to propel the Penn State men's lacrosse team to a 4-3 win over No. 2 Notre Dame at Arlotta Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions, who broke Notre Dame's 15-game February win streak, improved to 2-1 with the victory in a game played against their highest-ranked opponent in program history, making the win the biggest for the Lions since coach Jeff Tambroni took over before the 2011 season.

With the game knotted at 3-3 and 10 seconds left in the first overtime, Mackrides began with the ball off a restart around goal-line extended near the sideline to the left of Notre Dame goalkeeper John Kemp. On the whistle, Mackrides sprinted behind the cage, came around the back-right side, and with a defender on him, slipped a shot past Kemp on the crease. The victory marked Penn State's first over the Fighting Irish since a 10-9 overtime win in 2002.

Kemp, who made a career-high 18 saves in the game, had stopped a Mackrides shot on the Lions' first possesion of OT. The Irish called time out after gaining possession following that stop with 2:22 left. Penn State sophomore goaltender Austin Kaut made a save on Max Pfeifer with 1:35 left -- Kaut's 18th save of the game -- to give the ball back to the Lions and set up Mackrides' winner.

Mackrides scored two goals in the low-scoring affair. He also gave PSU a 3-2 in the fourth quarter. Freshman Michael Richards and junior Drew Roper also scored for Penn State.

Penn State outshot Notre Dame by a 33-32 margin and collected 27 ground balls to the Fighting Irish's 20. Both team committed 18 turnovers as Notre Dame fell to 1-1.

Strong defensive play by both teams dominated the game as neither team generated consistent inside pressure. Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead with early goals in the first and second quarters before Penn State answered twice in the second stanza to make it a 2-2 game. After a scoreless third, the Nittany Lions ended a 25:30 scoreless drought to take a 3-2 lead before Notre Dame answered 4:19 later.

Notre Dame scored the only goal in the first frame with 11:57 left in the quarter. Following a Penn State turnover, Westy Hopkins found Quinn Cully outside the crease, where his shot beat Kaut between his legs.

Penn State nearly tied the game in the closing seconds of the frame, when junior Nick Dolik found sophomore Shane Sturgis just outside the crease, where he fired a lot shot that Kemp was able to corral.

The Fighting Irish extended their lead to 2-0 early in the second quarter, when Ryan Foley scored on a high shot with 11:22 left in the half.

The Nittany Lions fought back to make a 2-1 contest with 9:01 left in the second. Following an errant Notre Dame pass through the Penn State crease, Dolik found Richards, who raced down the field on a fast break. After making his way toward the middle of the box, Richards fired a shot low to the left side for the goal.

Penn State evened the game at 2-2 with 2:40 left in the half. Following a save by Kaut, the Nittany Lions brought the ball down the field, where Roper, who was to the left of Kemp, scored with a low shot to the bottom right corner. In the closing seconds of the stanza, it appeared Notre Dame took a 3-2 lead, but the goal was disallowed following a Fighting Irish crease violation.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Mackrides gave Penn State a 3-2 advantage with 7:50 remaining. Sophomore midfielder Tom LaCrosse found Mackrides, who rocketed a high shot past Kemp to break the game's 25:30 scoreless drought.

Notre Dame answered 4:19 later to tie the game at 3-3. Foley secured the ball at the top of the crease, where his shot hit the net just inside the left post.

Both teams won five faceoffs. Freshman Nick Ossello took all 10 attempts for the Irish. Penn State was0-for-4 in extra-man opportunities and Notre Dame was 0-for-2.

Notre Dame had won its last seven home games heading into Sunday.

"I think we left a lot of plays on the board today," said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan. "We simply didn't make plays. You have to play well and you have to make plays and we made zero plays today.

"We have to get back to work on Monday and make ourselves better. I don't think we had a great week of practice. I don't think our concentration was great. We were so sharp mentally coming into the Duke game and I don't think we prepared ourselves in the same way and that's my responsibility."

The Nittany Lions will return to action on Saturday when they visit Ohio State at 1 p.m. The matchup will serve as Penn State's final Creator's Trophy matchup of the season. If the Nittany Lions win, they will claim the inaugural trophy, given to the champion among Big Ten programs with men's lacrosse teams. Penn State has also beaten Michigan this sesaon.



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