No. 9 Penn State Downs No. 19 OSU, 11-8, to Claim Creator's Trophy
March 1, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The ninth-ranked Penn State men's lacrosse team used a six-goal run spanning two quarters to capture its second Creator's Trophy in an 11-8 victory over No. 19 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon. Penn State (3-1) won its 14th straight true road game.
"Our seniors made several plays down the stretch today against a very good Ohio State team," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "We feel fortunate to have come away with a road win and we are very proud to have the Creator's Trophy back in Happy Valley."
The Nittany Lions received four goals and an assist from the NCAA Division I leading scorer Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) along with a five-point outing from Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) to pace the PSU attack.
Sturgis, who came into the game averaging a ntion-leading 6.0 points a game and 4.67 goals per game continued his torrid pace with his fourth game of five or more points. He was 4-for-6 shooting and picked up a ground ball for good measure. Sturgis has twice been named Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week for his outstanding play. Sturgis has 18 goals and 23 points through four games with an outstanding shooting percentage of .643.
As for VanThof, he earned his second game with four or more points following a two-goal, two-assist game against Loyola (Feb. 15). VanThof is third on the team with 11 points on six goals and five points.
Penn State went on a 6-0 run over a span of 10:13 in the second and third quarters, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 advantage. Penn State's stifling attack held Ohio State (1-3) to just 28 shots on the afternoon and didn't allow the Buckeyes to score for over 19 minutes to open the wide margin. Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) made nine saves, including six second-half stops. Kaut also picked up seven ground balls in the winning effort.
The Buckeyes led 2-1 early in the second quarter on goals from David Planning in the first quarter and Carter Brown in the second, sandwiching Tom LaCrosse's (Canandaigua, N.Y.) second tally of the year. VanThof tallied the first of his two assists on the play early in the second. OSU led 1-0 after the opening 15 minutes.
The Nittany Lions' 6-0 run started with a Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont.) with 5:41 left in the first half. Craig streaked through the Buckeye zone defense and was fed by fellow Canadian TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) for his first collegiate goal.
Penn State took its first lead of the day on Sanders's first goal and 10th of the season as the Lions again carved the Buckeye defense. Sturgis tallied his fifth assist of the year on the play with 4:32 to go in the second quarter.
VanThof gave Penn State a 4-2 lead entering halftime on an unassisted run through traffic with a top-right corner shot, his fourth of the year with just 1:43 remaining in the period.
The Nittany Lions came out firing in the early stages of the second half on consecutive goals by Sturgis, Brian Prestreau (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and Sturgis again. All three goals came in the first 3:32 of action for the 7-2 Penn State lead.
Back-to-back Ohio State goals trimmed the PSU lead to a pair at 7-5 with 1:51 remaining in the third, but Sturgis fought back with his 10th career hat trick and third of the season, putting away a pass from VanThof with 63 ticks left.
OSU's Jesse King would try to will his Buckeyes to victory, scoring his second and third goals in successive fashion to open the fourth quarter as the Penn State lead dwindled to two goals, 8-6, with 9:09 left. Those goals capped a 4-1 Buckeye run.
VanThof extended the lead to three on his fifth of the year before King reeled it back to a couple goals with 5:00 to go. VanThof struck back with his first hat trick of the season and the second of his career with 2:16 left in the game for a 10-7 lead.
Penn State would win the ensuing faceoff, call timeout and the Buckeyes tried to trap on the restart. Strugis broke a double team and fired into an empty net with 1:53 to go for an 11-7 advantage. Turner Evans scored for OSU with 68 seconds left, but it would merely provide consolation as the Nittany Lions won their 14th straight road game.
A key to Penn State's victory was the faceoff group of Cole Yeager (Radnor, Pa.), Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) and Kessler Brown (Springfield, Va.). Penn State won 16-of-22 draws with Yeager leading the way going 11-for-16 and four ground balls. Kreinz was 4-of-5 with three grounders and Brown 1-for-1 with a single pick up.
Penn State led in many key facets of the game including shots (31-28), shots on goal (23-17), ground balls (31-20) and faceoff wins (16-6). PSU committed 17 turnovers to Ohio State's 13 and cleared at 20-for-25, while OSU was a perfect 22-for-22. Penn State went 0-for-2 on the extra-man, while not committing a single penalty, keeping the potent Ohio State man-up unit off the field.
OSU was led by Jesse King with his four goals and two assists, while Evans notched two goals. The Buckeyes didn't receive a single point off the bench Saturday afternoon. Senior goalie Greg Dutton was vital to keeping OSU in the game with 12 saves including seven first-half stops and shutting out PSU in the opening stanza.
The Nittany Lions improved to 13-5 all-time against the Buckeyes and have now won two of the last three contests. Those two victories coincide with the Creator's Trophy, which PSU won for a second time. The Creator's Trophy is an annual competition between Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan as three current Big Ten schools that play men's lacrosse. Next season, Big Ten lacrosse action begins when Maryland, Rutgers and Johns Hopkins join the fold for the inaugural campaign.
Penn State continues its tough road stretch with a game at No. 6 Denver. The rare Monday night matchup will take place March 10 at Peter Barton Stadium for Penn State's first visit to the Pioneers since 2004. Denver fell to Penn, 12-10, in Philadelphia on Saturday.