March 26, 2013

Penn State Scores Final Eight to Upset Bucknell

from press release

LEWISBURG, Pa. - The 16th-ranked Penn State men's lacrosse team crushed No. 7 Bucknell, 11-3, on Tuesday night at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Field behind a punishing defense, 14 saves from Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) and four goals from TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.). The Nittany Lions ended the game on an 8-0 run in front of 1,250 fans.

Attackman Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) boasted a game-high five points on two goals and three assists, while midfielder Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) pitched in with a hat trick. Seven Nittany Lions tallied a point in all. Penn State won its second game over a top-10 foe this season after defeating No. 9 Denver on Feb. 17 in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Penn State (6-3, 2-0 CAA) defense was even better than its offense on the night, causing 14 of Bucknell's 17 turnovers in the game. Leading the way was Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) with three caused turnovers, while Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.), Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.) and James Burke (Duxbury, N.Y. each caused two.

Faceoff specialist Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) set the tone on offense winning 10-of-17 faceoffs, including all four in the third period that set off the 8-0 burst. Henneghan had a game-high five ground balls.

Bucknell (8-2, 2-0 Patriot), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, fired away early on the extra-man opportunities, scoring on its first two chances to stake a 2-1 lead with 13:35 to go in the second period. Those goals sandwiched a Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) effort assisted by Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.).

Just 90 seconds later, Sanders scored the first of his two goals from Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.). Sanders tallied from a tight right-winged attack. Forty-nine seconds after that, Sturgis connected again with Sanders as the freshman Canadian cut down the middle on a Sturgis feed for a 3-2 lead, which the Lions would carry into halftime.

The onslaught began soon after a Bucknell even strength goal with 12:45 remaining in the third to tie the score at three apiece. From there, PSU's defense was stifling, holding the Bison scoreless over the final 27:15 of the game.

Sanders registered a hat trick from a Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) with 10:24 to go in the third. LaCrosse made the score 5-3 with 9:20 to go on an unassisted, tight-angled attack. Sturgis had a key goal as the horn blew from 25 yards out, sending a worm burner past BU keeper Kyle Feeney (six saves).

In the fourth PSU continued to score as LaCrosse opened a four-goal cushion 58 seconds into the frame. Sturgis scored on PSU's only man-up opportunity for an 8-3 lead, fed by Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) with 8:38 to go. The assist was Manley's first point of the year.

The score was upped to 9-3 on a LaCrosse dash through the heart of Bucknell's defense with 6:46 remaining. A minute, 46 seconds later, Sanders capped his scoring night on a VanThof feed from the point for a 10-3 lead. Forster finished the Penn State scoring, stretching his point streak to 21 games on a Sturgis assist with 2:30 left.

The win was PSU's first since 2009 over Bucknell, which also came at Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. The Nittany Lions have now won four straight, the longest winning streak since PSU ended the regular season on a five-game run.

The ground ball battle was even, 27-27 while Penn State out-shot Bucknell 28-26. Penn State shot 39.2 percent on the night, while Bucknell fired away at 11.4 percent. Both teams had 17 turnovers and David Dickson led the Bison with two points, both on assists.

Penn State cleared Bucknell's aggressive ride well, 18-for-22 in the game, including 14 of its last 15. Bucknell was 18-for-20 on clears.

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