The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Men’s lacrosse dominated by Penn State

The Leopards look to rebound from their loss as they take on Delaware this weekend. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The Lafayette men’s lacrosse team (0-1 overall, 0-0 Patriot League) began its 2023 season with a 21-11 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon. 

Penn State opened the game on a roll, scoring five quick goals before Lafayette could do anything offensively. Junior midfielders John Mathes and Connor Freeman each found the back of the net for the Leopards, but the Nittany Lions added an additional goal to bring them to a 6-2 lead to close out the first quarter.

In the second quarter, junior attacker Charlie Cunniffe and senior defender Sean Rushton each put a point on the board, as Mathes took advantage of a man-up opportunity, bringing the Maroon and White within four points. The score sat at 10-6 at the end of the first half.

The Leopards scored twice in the third quarter, but Penn State continued its barrage, taking a 16-8 lead into the last quarter.

The Nittany Lions began the fourth quarter with four straight goals after Cunniffe scored to close the third, effectively putting the game out of reach. The Leopards threw in three garbage time goals.

“We need to play more connected as a team and work better together,” Cunniffe said. “We learned a lot from film after the game, which can help us in the future.”

The Leopards are confident they can gain momentum and boost their morale for the rest of the season.

“We had bright moments on offense and defense, and good ball movement on offense,” Cunniffe said. “Two of the freshmen had goals which was definitely promising.”

Freshmen attacker Nick Muller and midfielder Jack Irish recorded their first career collegiate goals during the defeat. 

Additionally, freshman goalkeeper Joe Doherty played all 60 minutes between the posts and racked up 15 saves in his first collegiate game. 

Cunniffe and Mathes commanded the Leopards with two goals each, while Cunniffe picked up an additional three assists. 

The Maroon and White scavenged 38 ground balls and 20 total turnovers, 11 of which were caused.

They also recorded 43 total shots and came out victorious on 13 total face-offs. However, the Nittany Lions caused more turnovers and connected on more shots on goal. Lafayette struggled mightily on defense when they lost to Penn State last year, 20-15. 

“I would say we have all the pieces we need to succeed,” Cunniffe said. “We are a team that is going in as the underdog, and see ourselves as a team that has a lot to prove and are on the hunt to accomplish that.”

A lot of starters from last year return to the team and look to build on its experience as it enters one of the most competitive conferences. Lafayette has four more non-conference games – none of which should be as challenging as Penn State – before it enters Patriot League play.

The Maroon and White hope to bring their record to .500 as they prepare for their matchup against the University of Delaware at Fisher Stadium on Saturday. 

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Luke Gutleber
Luke Gutleber, Staff Sports Writer

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