NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square) scored the game-winning goal with two seconds remaining in overtime to propel the No. 20 Penn State men’s lacrosse team to a 4-3 win over No. 2/4 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 (0-0 CAA) with the victory against their highest ranked opponent in program history.
With the game knotted at 3-3 in the extra frame, Mackrides took the ball from behind the cage, beat the man coverage and slipped the shot past Notre Dame goalkeeper John Kemp in the waning seconds. The victory marked Penn State’s first over the Fighting Irish since a 10-9 overtime win in 2002.
Freshman Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and junior Drew Roper (Columbus, Ohio) also scored for the Nittany Lions, while sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton) was sensational in net and made 18 saves.
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. In overtime, Mackrides netted his second goal of the game for the game-winner.
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 (Bloomfield Hill, Mich.) found sophomore Shane Sturgis (Downingtown) 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, 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 (Canandaigua, N.Y.) 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.
In overtime, Mackrides registered his second of the game with two seconds remaining to account for the 4-3 overtime final.
The Nittany Lions will return to action on Saturday (March 3) when they visit No. 11/12 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.