Sturgis, Nittany Lions Dash by Delaware, 10-6
April 19, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four goals and two assists by senior Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) helped the Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team defeat Delaware, 10-6, in front of a facility record of 1,425 fans on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Penn State Lacrosse Field.
Crisp passing and a 6-1 over the course of three quarters allowed Penn State (6-7, 2-2 CAA) to win back-to-back games for the first time since March 1. Eight of the 10 Nittany Lion goals were accompanied by assists as Sturgis notched his first six-point game since March 10 against Denver. Sturgis moved into fifth place all-time at Penn State with his six points (155) and is just one shy of fourth (156, Will Driscoll, 1999-2002).
Aiding the Nittany Lion onslaught was that of Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont.) with four points on two goals and two assists. Senior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) flashed some nifty stickwork en route to a 14-save game, placing him only 16 saves from the Penn State career record of 694 (Drew Adams, 2006-09). Kaut made seven saves in the final quarter to ward off a Delaware (6-8, 0-4 CAA) comeback.
Kaut's shutout streak came to an end 2:38 into the contest as Beau Jones put the Blue Hens up 1-0 early. Kaut held Towson scoreless over 58:47 last week and his shutout streak ended at 61:25. Over the past four games, Kaut has a 6.72 GAA with 55 saves and a 66.3 save percentage.
The Nittany Lions would fight back 70 seconds later on a Mike Sutton (Sewell, N.J.) fast-break goal assisted by Craig. The two-time reigning CAA Rookie of the Week was set up by Craig following a terrific play by Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.), who forced a turnover on the defensive end and sent an outlet pass to Craig. Travis finished the day with career highs in ground balls (7) and caused turnovers (4).
Ten minutes would go by before anyone would tally as Sturgis sent home a Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) in front of the crease for a 2-1 Penn State lead with 2:29 remaining in the first period.
Redshirt-freshman Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) would win the ensuing faceoff and race down the field to score his third of the year just six seconds later as Penn State doubled its lead to a pair, 3-1. Kreinz went 8-for-16 at the faceoff X against Delaware's Tyler Barbarich (11-for-20 overall), who came into the game ranked fourth nationally in win percentage.
UD would open the scoring on a Dan Keane effort with 10:52 to go in the second before Sturgis answered with a short-range shot assisted by VanThof with eight minutes before halftime, making the score 4-2.
Delaware would chip into the lead with back-to-back tallies from Jeff Heath and Brian Kormondy, knotting the score at four apiece with less than two minutes remaining. Travis would force a turnover of Keane as the Nittany Lions wound down the clock for a final shot. Craig tallied his eighth of the year on a Sutton offering to give Penn State a 5-4 lead into the break.
The Nittany Lions would open the third with four straight goals in the first six minutes. Craig streaked down the middle to put away a pass from Sturgis with 11:41 to go before Craig returned the favor and Sturgis registered his 12th career hat trick 13 seconds later for a 7-4 Penn State lead.
Senior Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) found his way onto the score sheet with a workmanlike effort, driving through traffic and bouncing one in past Conor Peaks (12 saves) for an 8-4 Penn State lead with 9:04 to play in the third.
Delaware's Steve DeLargy notched his 14th of the year with a man-up goal only 32 seconds after LaCrosse's tally to briefly stop the Penn State rush. TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) score on a Sturgis pass with the timer-on for a 9-4 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Penn State's final tally of the day came from Sturgis with an underhanded rip assisted by Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.) 2:29 into the final quarter. Despite multiple rushes by the Blue Hens, Kaut and his defense were able to hold Delaware at bay. Dan Keane tallied his second goal of the day on a PSU turnover after the Nittany Lions killed off a penalty and he fired into an open net.
For the afternoon, Penn State out-shot Delaware 40-39 and earned 29 ground balls to Delaware's 28. The Nittany Lions took care of the ball for a second straight game, committing just 10 turnovers and clearing the ball successfully 15 of 16 times. UD had 15 turnovers and cleared 14 of 18 times.
The win for Penn State improved its record to 18-7 all-time against Delaware, who was eliminated from postseason play with the loss. PSU improved to 17-5 all-time under head coach Jeff Tambroni in CAA action.
Penn State looks to win its third straight game and its fourth game of the season against a ranked foe when it welcomes CAA leader Hofstra for senior day on Saturday, April 26. The 12th ranked Pride play at UMass tonight at 7 p.m. The contest against Hofstra will be Penn State's last in the CAA as the Nittany Lions enter Big Ten competition in 2015.