Lion Offense Continues to Score in Bunches

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By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 8 Penn State men's lacrosse (2-2) dropped its second-consecutive overtime game 10-9 against No. 16 Ohio State on Saturday at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

After a slow first quarter that saw both teams trading blows in a 2-2 tie, Penn State's offense took form and unleashed a rally of goals. The offense went silent in the second half and could not muster the same flow as the first half. Head coach Jeff Tambroni said it is still early in the season and this is a good learning experience for his team.

8650755.jpeg"We came out strong in the first half, but this is three games in a row that we haven't been able to finish games," Tambroni said. "It's disappointing. We have some quality leaders here and we had opportunities to put this game away in the third quarter."

The Lions were backed behind five goals from freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.). Sanders continues to build on his hot start to the season and now has 13 goals in four games this season. His 15 points are tied for the team lead with red-shirt senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.). Forster scored a goal against the Buckeyes and added three assists.

The offense struck early and often in the second quarter and from a variety of ways. Sanders scored three of his five goals in a four minute stretch, all coming from inside five yards of the crease. His most impressive goal actually came on a play made by junior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.).

The Buckeyes ran an aggressive ride that pulled their midfielders and defense higher toward the offensive zone to force a turnover. Forster was left unguarded at his attacking restraining line and Kaut fired a missile that was right on the money. Forster made a quick pass to Sanders who threw a few fakes at Ohio State keeper Greg Dutton before scoring.

Despite the offensive outburst from Sanders, the freshman said it doesn't mean much to him because the team let the game slip away.

"Scoring five goals is great but it doesn't matter than much when we lose the game," Sanders said. "Winning is the most important stat. We played really well in the first half and the second half we were pretty stagnant. They made adjustments and we didn't adjust to their energy."

Junior Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) continued his consistency as a depth scorer with a second quarter goal. VanThof dodged down the left and cut to middle, freed his hands and ripped an overhand shot that beat Dutton high.

VanThof's classmate Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) netted his sixth goal of the season during the streak and provided a dodging presence that opened up some space in the Ohio State zone defense.

Ohio State's zone defense kept the Nittany Lion offense in check in the second half and they came out with more energy in the second half. Junior Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) scored in the fourth quarter, his first goal in seven quarters, to tie the game at 9-9.

Tambroni said that his team played too tentatively in the second half and they need to work on being more poised on offense to get better shots. He also credit's Ohio State for its resiliency and perseverance to fight back.

"If they can claw back from 8-2 and have a lot of energy coming out in the second half, they probably deserve to win," Tambroni said. "I think their goalie played well in the second half."

Tambroni will give his troops some much needed rest before preparing for a date with No. 19 Lehigh on Saturday in the Whitman's Sample Independence Classic at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

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