Nittany Lions Shut Down No. 19 Towson, 8-1
April 12, 2014
TOWSON, Md. - The Penn State men's lacrosse team was just 54.7 seconds from its first shutout in 47 years as the Nittany Lions downed No. 19 Towson, 8-1, Saturday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Senior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) saved all 11 Tiger efforts before giving way in the final 1:11 of the game.
"I'm very proud of the resiliency of this team," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "After a tough mid-season stretch, it's great to know that there is still fight left in our team."
The Nittany Lion defense clicked from the onset, shutting down the Tigers, who came in having won seven of its previous eight games en route to its No. 19 ranking. Towson was kept off the board for the first 59 minutes, while the Nittany Lions steadily built its lead and were in control all night.
The shutout was eliminated on a Mike Lynch score to push off Penn State's 12th all-time shutout and its first shutout since April 15, 1967 against Colgate.
Penn State (5-7, 1-2 CAA) earned a 3-0 lead through three different Nittany Lion scorers: Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.), Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont.) and Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.). Aponte's early tally just 3:47 into the game was fed by Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.), while Craig's goal was assisted by Erik Myers (Del Mar, Calif.).
In the second period, it was the Sutton show as the freshman as he scored both goals of the frame including his third extra-man tally in his past two contests. Both were unassisted markers with 13:48 and 6:35 remaining in the period as the Nittany Lions held a 5-0 lead into the halftime break.
Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) notched his 26th goal of the year with an unassisted tally 3:28 into the third quarter. His goal proved to be the only one by either team in the quarter as Penn State led 6-0 after 45 minutes.
Penn State quickly made the score 7-0 as Sturgis assisted the first of Sanders' back-to-back tallies just 1:05 into the fourth quarter. The assist, Sturgis' 149th point of his career, moved him into sixth all-time at Penn State in the record book. He sits only five points behind Keith McGuire (1974-77) for fifth place.
The Nittany Lions broke a stretch of games where they lost five of six games by playing disciplined, possession-style lacrosse. Penn State won 9-of-13 faceoffs buoyed by Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) who went 9-for-12 with three ground balls. Most importantly, PSU only committed eight turnovers Saturday night after committing 21 in each of the past two losses to Villanova and Drexel.
Penn State out-shot the Tigers 34-23 for the game, while winning the ground ball battle, 21-18. Kaut's counterpart, Tyler White, matched his 11 saves. PSU also went scored on its only man-up opportunity while preventing the Tigers on their lone chance.
PSU improved to 8-14 all-time against Towson in the final CAA road game for the Nittany Lions.