Penn State Celebrates Centennial With Drexel Win
from press release
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The No. 13 Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team employed a 7-0 second-half run to knock off No. 12 Drexel, 13-6, in front of a Penn State Lacrosse Field record crowd of 1,007 on Saturday afternoon. Attackmen Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) and TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) tallied four goals apiece and goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) saved 13 shots to beat the first-place Dragons.
"To be 3-0 in the league," Head Coach Jeff Tambroni said. "And beat a team like Drexel, who we have a lot of respect after what they did to us last year to end our season meant a lot to our guys. I think they had the significance of the 100-year celebration and the alumni that came back today. It added a little pressure, I would imagine, to our guys, but it adds a little bit of significance to this win having [the alumni] alongside of us."
Holding a one-goal lead in the third quarter, Penn State (8-3, 3-0 CAA) exploded for seven straight goals over an 11-minute span in the second half to put away the Dragons. The Nittany Lions won their sixth straight game thanks to a quick-strike offense that out-shot Drexel (8-3, 3-1 CAA) 47-23 for the day.
It was a festive atmosphere in Happy Valley as Penn State honored seven decades of lacrosse alumni who came back for the 100th Season Celebration. The Nittany Lions wore special gray uniforms and commemorated the 100th season of Penn State men's lacrosse at halftime with a parade of alumni on the field.
In all, Forster tallied five points, pitching in with an assist, while fellow attackman Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) posted his third three-assist game in a row. Sturgis added a goal as the starting attack recorded 13 points on nine goals and four assists.
The 13-goal output by the Nittany Lions was the most since a 15-goal effort in a win over No. 9 Denver on Feb. 17. Penn State is now 4-3 against ranked opponents this year and 3-1 against higher-ranked foes.
The win snapped Drexel's four game winning streak and moved Penn State into a tie for first in CAA play with Towson. Both the Nittany Lions and Tigers are 3-0 heading into next week's nationally televised game on Big Ten Network. That game, played in Happy Valley, is set for a 1 p.m. faceoff.
Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) kicked off the 7-0 run with a left-handed laser through traffic from a Forster feed for a 6-4 lead with 7:15 left in the third. Twenty-three seconds later, Sanders received a Sturgis entry pass as the freshman phenom beat Drexel netminder Cal Winkelman (14 saves) for a 7-4 lead, the largest of the day to that point.
Penn State continued the pressure as Nick Dolik's (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) curling effort near the crease allowed the Lions to double Drexel, 8-4, with 2:44 to go in the frame. A minute later, Sanders scored the last of his four goals on a near right-winged shot from Sturgis as Penn State would take a 9-4 lead entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the run became 5-0 and the lead six goals when Forster's fourth goal of the day made it 10-4 just 42 seconds into the period. Forster's marker was helped by Pat Manley's (Arnold, Md.) second assist of the day. The multi-point game for Manley was his first since last season's opener against Michigan when he scored a goal and an assist.
With 12:59 left to go, Sturgis scored his lone goal of the day as he collected a rebound for an 11-4 lead. The original shot was from Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) as Winkelman couldn't corral the loose ball. The seven-goal run was capped on the 17th goal of the season by Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) with 11:16 to play. LaCrosse dodged past his defender on the left-wing and snuck one by Winkelman for the largest lead of the game at 12-4.
Two Drexel goals sandwiched Riley Lasda's (Ithaca, N.Y.) first career goal, which was helped by Sturgis as Penn State rolled to the 13-6 victory.
Penn State and Drexel played a tight first half that highlighted the goalkeeping early on. Both Kaut and Winkelman were forced into seven saves apiece as the Lions held a 4-3 lead at halftime. Drexel's Ryan Belka scored the first of his three goals just 44 seconds into the game. Penn State answered right back through Forster a minute later. Forster would record a natural hat trick in the first period on a trio of unassisted tallies to end the first quarter, up 3-1.
In the second, Drexel's Aaron Prosser scored with 6:51 to go to cut the lead to one. Sanders scored a close-ranged attack on the right wing as Drew Roper (Columbus, Ohio) faked the shot and found the open sanders with 4:09 left in the half. DU's Ben McIntosh tallied an unassisted goal with 2:36 remaining in the frame as the teams went into the locker room with Penn State leading 4-3.
The Nittany Lions out-shot Drexel in every quarter with huge descrepency in the first (15-5) and third (14-4) quarters. Forster scored four goals on a game-high 13 shots, while Sanders scored four times on eight shots.
Penn State won the ground ball batter, 30-21, while Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) won 10-of-22 faceoffs. Henneghan was key during the third-quarter run going 4-for-6 at the faceoff X with four ground balls for the game. Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) picked up a game-high five ground balls, while Travis Crane (Parkville, Md.) tallied four.
Defensively, Penn State held its sixth straight opponent to seven or less goals. Fueling the defensive fire was JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.) with three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls.
During the six-game winning streak, Kaut has been tremendous in the cage. He has allowed just 28 goals, while making 84 saves (75 percent). His goals-against average is 4.70 during that stretch. Penn State has doubled up its last six opponents 58-29 collectively in the scoring department. The Nittany Lions have out-scored its opponents on an average of 9.67 to 4.83 goals per game.
Forster ran his point streak to 23 games today. During the stretch since March 3, 2012 at Ohio State, Forster has scored 48 goals, 20 assists and 68 points. Forster has 89 career tallies and sits just four goals back of Bill Hess (1956-58) for 11th all-time at Penn State on the scoring chart. He's three points behind Tom Lion (1981-84) for 11th on the all-time points list as well. Forster has 128 points, while Lion is at 131 with Hess at 134 for 10th.
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