EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse team took down No. 6 Loyola (Maryland), 21-14, in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
With the win, PSU (16-1) advances to NCAA Championship Weekend for the first time in program history. Loyola finished at 12-5.
Mac O’Keefe and Grant Ament each recorded nine-point performances to lead the Nittany Lions offense.
O’Keefe tied the NCAA Tournament single-game record with nine goals, setting a new personal best in the process. O’Keefe is now up to 75 goals on the season, moving him to third all-time in NCAA D-I history, trailing Jon Reese (Yale, 1990) and Miles Thompson (UAlbany, 2014) who both have 82 in 18 games.
Ament finished the game with nine points on one goal and eight assists. The eight assists give him 91 for the season, becoming the first D-I player in NCAA history to surpass 90-plus assists, and is just two off the all-division all-time NCAA record of 93 set by Matt Richard (New England College, 2018).
The Nittany Lions also saw Jack Kelly add five points on the afternoon with four goals and an assist, while Nick Spillane finished with one goal and three assists.
In face-offs, after opening the first quarter at a 6-4 deficit at the ‘X,’ junior face-off specialist Gerard Arceri won 18 face-offs to Loyola’s eight in the final three quarters. He finished the game with 22 wins and 13 ground balls.
In cage, junior Colby Kneese finished with 12 saves.
With 25 goals in the first-round game vs. UMBC and 21 in the win over Loyola, Penn State became the first team to score 20-plus goals in back-to-back NCAA games since Syracuse in 1990.
Penn State will play in the NCAA semifinals on Saturday, May 25, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia against No. 2 Yale (13-3), which won its Sunday quarterfinal match over No. 3 Penn (12-3), 19-18 in overtime. Yale handed Penn State its only loss this season, 14-13, on Feb. 23.