Junior attackman Neal Hicks produced career-high totals in goals (4), assists (4) and points (8) against Penn State on Sunday.

Eight-Point Effort From Hicks Leads Irish Past Penn State, 13-8

Feb. 22, 2009

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Junior attackman Neal Hicks (Atlanta, Ga./The Lovett School) notched a career-high eight points on four goals and four assists to help the No. 8 Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team to a 13-8 victory over Penn State on Sunday afternoon inside Holuba Hall.

Notre Dame (2-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the 8:37 mark of the first quarter behind man-up goals from Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) and Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s). Hoff and Krebs both had two goals on the day. Hicks, who assisted on the first two goals, made it 3-0 in favor of the Fighting Irish by the end of the first period. Mike Creighton (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep) picked up the assist on Hicks’ first goal. Creighton also had a game-high eight ground balls.

Penn State (0-2) cracked the scoring column with 10:41 remaining in the first half as Chris Hogan netted a man-up goal. The Irish responded with a Duncan Swezey (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) goal to make it 4-1 at the 5:24 mark. Following a Nittany Lion goal from Brian Shea, Hicks gave Notre Dame a 5-2 lead at halftime when he scored off a feed from Krebs with 1:56 left on the clock.

The second half started with a flurry as both teams combined for five goals in just over four minutes of play. Penn State trimmed the Irish lead to one (5-4) on goals from Conrad Ridgway (man-up) and Jack Forster.

Notre Dame answered with five straight tallies to take control of the contest. The surge began with a Hoff goal with three minutes elapsed in the half. Sophomore David Earl (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) then scored 35 seconds later and Hicks gave the Fighting Irish an 8-4 lead with 10:55 remaining in the third period. Senior Dan Gibson (Germantown, Tenn./Memphis University School) assisted on the score from Hicks. A man-up goal from junior Matt Ciambella (Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park), off an assist from Hicks, put Notre Dame on top 9-4 after three quarters of play.

Sophomore Jake Marmul (Livonia, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) extended the Irish run early in the fourth quarter with the first goal of his collegiate career. Scores from Forster and Hogan made it a 10-6 game with 6:17 remaining. Krebs put the Irish back up by five with 5:44 left on the clock. Penn State scores from Rob Forster and Colton Vosburgh made it an 11-8 contest with just under three minutes left to play.

Hicks put the cap on his four-goal effort as he scored with 1:46 left in regulation. The junior then assisted on a Davey Melera (Timonium, Md./Boys’ Latin) goal with 19 seconds remaining that produced the final outcome. The four goals and four assists were career-best numbers for Hicks, who collected a hat trick in the season-opening win against Loyola last weekend.

Notre Dame held a 42-40 edge in shots on the afternoon. Senior goalie Scott Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur) made a career-high 20 saves to collect his second win of the season. Rodgers was aided by starting defensemen Regis McDermott (Amityville, N.Y./Chaminade), Sam Barnes (Branford, Conn./Branford) and Kevin Ridgway (Kensington, Md./Georgetown Prep) in holding their second straight opponent to eight goals or less on the season.

The Fighting Irish will open the home portion of their 2009 schedule against Dartmouth on Saturday, Feb. 28. Game time is slated for 11:30 a.m. (ET) inside the Loftus Sports Center.

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Feb. 22, 2009 – Holuba Hall – State College, Pa.
#8 Notre Dame (2-0) – 3 2 4 4 – 13
Penn State (0-2) – 0 2 2 4 – 8

Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Neal Hicks 4-4, Grant Krebs 2-1, Ryan Hoff 2-0, Duncan Swezey 1-0, Davey Melera 1-0, Jake Marmul 1-0, Matt Ciambella 1-0, David Earl 1-0, Dan Gibson 0-1, Mike Creighton 0-1; Goaltender: Scott Rodgers (W, 60:00, 20 saves, 8 GA)

Penn State Scoring (goals-assists):
Jack Forster 2-0, Chris Hogan 2-0, Rob Forster 1-1, Conrad Ridgway 1-1, Brian Shea 1-0, ColtonVosburgh 1-0, Chris Mulqueen 0-3; Goaltender: Drew Adams (L, 60:00, 16 saves, 13 GA)