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Men’s Lacrosse:Hicks has seven points as No. 8 Irish defeat Penn State

Mike Gotimer | Monday, February 23, 2009

No. 8 Notre Dame improved to 2-0 on the season with its 13-8 win over Penn State on Sunday in University Park, largely in part to junior attackman Neal Hicks’ seven point performance.

Hicks followed up a career day Feb. 14, in which he scored three goals against Loyola, with another scoring barrage against the Nittany Lions. He finished the game with four goals and three assists.

The Irish jumped out to an early lead over Penn State, scoring two man-up goals by senior Ryan Hoff and junior Grant Krebs by the 8:37 mark of the first quarter.

Then Hicks got started. The junior picked up his first goal of the day off an assist by junior Mike Creighton to give the Irish a 3-0 lead, where it stayed for the rest of the first period.

With 10:41 remaining in the first half, the Nittany Lions notched their first goal of the game to make it 3-1, but the Irish responded with a goal by senior Duncan Swezey with 5:24 remaining in the second period to make the score 4-1. Following Penn State’s second goal near the end of the first half, Hicks notched his second goal of the game off a feed from Krebs with 1:56 left in the first half to send the Irish into the half with a 5-2 lead.

The second half started with a scoring frenzy as the two teams combined for five goals in just over four minutes of play. Penn State cut the Irish lead to 5-4 with goals from Conrad Ridgway and Jack Forster. However, the Irish responded with five unanswered goals to take control of the game. The Irish run began with Hoff’s second goal of the game, which came with three minutes elapsed in the second half. Sophomore David Earl scored 35 seconds later and Hicks put his third goal in the net off an assist from senior Dan Gibson with 10:55 left in the third period to give the Irish an 8-4 lead.

The Irish opened up a five goal lead off a man-up goal from junior Matt Ciambella, assisted by Hicks, to give Notre Dame a 9-4 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Sophomore Jake Marmul got the Irish to 10 goals for the second time in as many games with his first career goal early in the fourth quarter. Penn State then responded with two goals of their own to close the Irish lead to four. Krebs put the Irish back up by five with his second goal of the game with 5:44 left in the game, but Penn State rallied once more to make the score 11-8 with just under three minutes to play. However, the Irish defense held the Nittany Lions scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Hicks scored his final goal of the game with 1:46 left in the game and then assisted senior Davey Melera with 19 seconds left to arrive at the final score.

Senior goalie Scott Rodgers was outstanding in the goal with a career-high 20 saves to collect his second win of the season.

The Irish will kick off their home season when they host Dartmouth Saturday at the Loftus Sports Center.