Penn State men’s lacrosse is in the Final Four for the first time since 2019 and the second time overall.
The team (11-4) will take on top-seeded Duke (15-2) with a chace to move on to the national title game for the first time in school history on the line.
Here are five things to know before Penn State takes in Duke in one of two NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals in Philly.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Penn State is in the Final Four after consecutive wins against an Ivy League School and a service academy. The team beat Princeton 13-12 two Sunday’s ago and Army 10-9 last Sunday. Against Army, Kevin Winkoff scored with 7:38 left to push Penn State’s lead to 10-7. Army scored twice to cut the deficit to one, but Penn State held on to advance to its second Final Four since 2019.
Top-seeded Duke got to the Final Four by beating Delaware (12-11) and Michigan (15-8).
BACK IN PHILLY
The last time Penn State was in the Final Four, it also played in Philadelphia. Penn State came in as the top-seed against fifth-seeded Yale. The team was behind 10-2 at the end of the first quarter and never recovered, falling 21-17.
Now, Penn State’s in the underdog role. Duke comes in with a 15-2 record with it’s only losses coming to Jacksonville— which was ranked No. 17– back in February,— and at Notre Dame, which was ranked second. Of Duke’s 15 wins, seven came against teams that were ranked in the top 25 at the time. Highlights include two wins over ACC foe Virginia, the first of which coming when the Wahoos were ranked No. 1.
Duke’s a combined 2-1 against Virginia and Notre Dame, and those are the teams that are playing in the other semifinal, which is scheduled for 2:30 after Duke takes on Penn State.
THE DEAL WITH DUKE
Duke is fifth in the country in goals per game, averaging 15.12. Virginia ranks No. 1 in the country in that category, and Notre Take ranks No. 3. Penn State’s offense has been solid as well, ranking No. 21 in scoring. Duke isn’t quite as strong defensively, but is still respectable, ranking No. 13.
Penn State isn’t far behind at No. 15.
Historically, Duke’s had great success, winning national championships in 2010, ‘13 and ‘14.
Duke’s last trip to the Final Four took place in 2021, when it fell 14-5 to perennial powerhouse and ACC for Maryland. Duke also played in the same Final Four as Penn State in 2019. But like Penn State, Duke fell in the semifinal, losing to Virginia in double overtime.
IF PENN STATE WINS
Penn State’s one win away from going to a place its never been: The national championship game.
Before 2019, Penn State had never won an NCAA tournament game despite making it to “the dance” five times. Now, the programs is two solid performances away from its first national title.
HOW TO WATCH
Penn State and Duke are scheduled to start at noon on ESPN2 at Lincoln Financial Field. Here’s more information on how to watch.
TV Announcers: Anish Shroff (PXP), Quint Kessenich (color), Paul Carcaterra (color)