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Postscript from Penn State-Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse

The Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse team likes to pepper opposing goalkeepers with shots. But the offense prefers to have a little production to show for its effort.

The No. 7 Greyhounds needed every one of their 50 shots to outlast No. 17 Penn State, 8-6, at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon. The outcome wasn't cemented until sophomore midfielder Romar Dennis scored on his 12th shot of the game with 96 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

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It was the first time since at least 2004 that Loyola had taken at least 50 shots and failed to score double-digit goals. In their five previous games with at least 50 attempts, the Greyhounds had scored 19, 15, 16, 21 and 15 goals.

"We felt there were some areas we wanted to try and attack, and we just weren't able to get it on," coach Charley Toomey said. "We were close, but close doesn't ring them up on the scoreboard. Fifty shots is a lot of shots to take in a game."

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Penn State redshirt sophomore Connor Darcey made a game-high 14 saves. But Toomey wondered whether the Greyhounds made the Nittany Lions goalie's job somewhat easier by not following the coaching staff's scouting report.

"The one thing we're going to go back and talk about is, 'Did we shoot the scout?' " Toomey said. "We felt like there were definite areas that we wanted to try and put the ball to give ourselves some success, and I don't know that we shot the scout as well as we're going to point out on Monday, and I think, to a man, the guys will tell you that. But we liked the way we got up and down. We got some good looks at the cage. If we can be a little more efficient, I think we can be a team that gets to double digits week in and week out."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Assisting Pontrello. The struggles continue for senior attackman Nikko Pontrello, who returned as Loyola's leader in goals (51) and points (63). After recording one goal and two assists in a 13-12 loss to No. 9 Virginia on Feb. 7, Pontrello did not have a point for the first time since getting shut out against Navy on April 5. Pontrello's 10 shots were the second most by any player, but Toomey said he had no worries about his play.

"I didn't think he was pressing," Toomey said. "I just felt like he was getting to areas of the field that we've seen him get to in practice, and he sticks them. I don't know if it's about not shooting the scout or not. I think we'll go back and watch the film. We need Nikko getting those shots, and they're going to drop. I have no doubt in my mind those shots are going to start dropping for him because he just plays with such energy."

2) Helping McEnerney. Greyhounds senior goalie Pat McEnerney made just eight saves, but he was stellar in killing off Penn State's extra-man opportunity with less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. McEnenery, who allowed 13 goals against the Cavaliers, acknowledged that he's gaining more confidence with each start.

"Today, I felt a lot more comfortable," he said. "The butterflies are still there, but it wasn't as intense. I felt pretty comfortable today and at ease. The defense and I were communicating a lot better and getting into much more of a cohesive unit."

3) Aiding the short sticks. Nittany Lions midfielders combined for four goals and two assists, but that's a far cry from the eight goals and four assists the Greyhounds gave up to the Cavaliers' first line. The short-stick defensive-midfield trio of senior Mike Kutzer, freshman Jared Mintzlaff and sophomore Dan Simonetti were much better at staying with their assignments Saturday.

"We did a terrific job against their 1-4 [offensive alignment]," Toomey said. "We knew they were going to be wing-dodging and trying to expose our short sticks out on those corners, and I really felt like our guys sat down and played really good, solid defense. And when they got the ball to the inside, we collapsed and were able to be there for either that trail check or just that collapse, double-team check and put the ball on the ground."

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