Loyola traveled to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions and this early season match up did not disappoint in any way, shape, or form. Loyola had just lost to Virginia 14-13 in OT, and Penn State was entering the season ranked in the Top 10 and coming off of a 22-7 dismantling of Michigan. This was going to be an epic struggle, with an epic ending.
Photo Credit: Craig Chase
Before we get into the game, I want to mention the intimate setting for this game. It was played indoors, at Penn State, and the fans are right on top of (or next to) the action. It has to be cool to be this close to a D1 lacrosse game as a parent or fan.
Ok, on to the game…
Loyola went up 3-1 after 1 quarter, and each team notched two goals in the second frame for a 5-3 Loyola lead at the half. Loyola extended their lead by a goal with a high-scoring 3rd quarter (the teams combined for 9 goals) which saw them enter the 4th leading 10-7. Penn State kept the scoring going in the 4th, and put up 4 goals to Loyola’s 1 to tie the game at 11.
Nikko Pontrello scored his third goal of the game only 19 seconds into OT to win the game for Loyola on an unassisted low dodge from behind. 12-11 win for Loyola in OT. We’ve got a GIF!
Penn State was led by Shane Sturgis who continues to impress. Sturgis had three goals and two assists in the game to lead PSU. TJ Sanders had two goals, Kyle Baier had a goal, and Erik Myers had two goals. Kyle Van Thof was also impressive with 2 goals and 2 assists from the midfield. Austin Kaut only made 6 saves in net, and this speaks to the excellent shot selection Loyola employed all day. Penn State was 2 for 4 on man up chances.
Along with Pontrello, Jeff Chase and Tyler Albrecht also had hat tricks for the Hounds. Justin Ward had 4 big assists, and Bryan Schultz and Kevin Ryan each added two points on a goal and a helper. Jack Runkel was solid in cage, making 12 big saves of 60+ minutes of time. Loyola did ok on face offs, but Penn State player Drake Kreinz won 15 of the day’s 27 face offs.
Penn State plays Notre Dame on the road on February 22nd. Loyola hosts Towson on February 19th.