No. 15 Nittany Lions Start 2013 at Michigan

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Gavin Ahern


Gavin Ahern

Feb. 7, 2013

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 15th ranked Penn State men's lacrosse team embarks on its 100th season when it squares off with the Michigan Wolverines at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich. It will be PSU's first visit to the Big Ten city for men's lacrosse as Penn State looks to win its first season opening game on the road since 2004 (5-4 at Ohio State). Opening faceoff will be at 1:00 p.m. with live stats available on GoPSUsports.com GameTracker.

#15 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (0-0) at MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (0-0)
Games 1: Feb. 9, 2013 // 1 p.m. // Oosterbaan Fieldhouse // Ann Arbor, Mich.

GAME DAY
VENUE: Oosterbaan Fieldhouse (indoor, 800)
STREAMING COVERAGE: none
SERIES RECORD: 1-0
LAST MEETING: Feb. 18, 2012, PSU 16-9 (at University Park, Pa.)
NEXT GAME: Feb. 17 vs. Denver (at Jacksonville, Fla.)

GAME NOTES
• Penn State journeys to Michigan for the 2013 season opener
• Nittany Lions celebrate their 100th season of lacrosse
• Penn State went 9-6 in 2012 and finished second in CAA
• PSU picked second in the CAA and 15th in national preseason rankings
Austin Kaut named preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse
• Four Nittany Lions­­--Kessler Brown, Nick Dolik, Jack Forster and Kaut--were named preseason All-CAA by league coaches
• Michigan coming off 1-13 season in inaugural campaign
• The Lions defeated the Wolverines, 16-9, last February in Happy Valley
• Penn State returns 77 percent of its offense from a year ago
Shane Sturgis, Gavin Ahern, Forster and Dolik are riding point streaks • Travis Crane and Forster lead Penn State as co-captains
• Next week's game vs. No. 9 Denver will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network

CELEBRATING THE 100TH SEASON
The Penn State men's lacrosse program is celebrating its 100th season in 2013, one of just a handful of teams to reach the milestone. The team started its program on May 24, 1913 with a 4-3 win over Penn under Walter Farley. Since then, the Nittany Lions have won 476 games in program history. Penn State will hold its 100th season celebration on April 6 vs. Drexel, where alumni of all teams are welcomed back to Happy Valley to honor the proud history of Penn State lacrosse.

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan enters 2013, its second varsity season, as a member of the ECAC Lacrosse Conference after a 1-13 inaugural year in 2012. The Wolverines return two of their top three scorers in seniors Thomas Paras (24 points) and Willie Steenland (23). Will Meter (2) also bolsters the offense that scored 7.93 goals a game last year. Michigan struggled on defense, allowing 13.1 goals per game. Goaltender Dylan Westerhold is the main returner in net after a 0-4 campaign with a 15.74 GAA. At the faceoff X, senior JD Johnson figures to be Michgian's leading man after going 8-for-23 last year. Other key defenders are seniors Austin Swaney and Rob Healey who forced 15 and eight turnovers, respectively.

The Last Meeting
Michigan9
Penn State16
February 18, 2012
University Park, Pa.
Third-Quarter Surge Lifts No. 17/18 Lions Past Michigan, 16-9
After leading 4-2 at halftime, the No. 17/18 Penn State men's lacrosse team scored nine third-quarter goals en route to a 16-9 victory against Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

LAST TIME VS. MICHIGAN
A nine-goal bombardment by No. 17 Penn State led the Nittany Lions to a 16-9 win over the Wolverines in the first ever game at new Penn State Lacrosse Field on Feb. 18, 2012. Nine Nittany Lions found the net with Jack Forster scoring five times and assisting three other tallies. Gavin Ahern added three goals, while Shane Sturgis helped three goals. Penn State won the ground ball battle, 34-24 and out-shot the Wolverines 43-26 in the game.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. MICHIGAN
All-Time Series: 1-0
PSU Streak: 1 win
First Meeting: 2/18/12, PSU 16-9
Last Meeting: 2/18/12, PSU 16-9
Last PSU Win: 2/18/12, 16-9
Last MICH Win: n/a
Largest PSU Win: 16-9, 2/18/12
Largest MICH Win: n/a
PSU at MICH: 0-0
PSU Goals vs. MICH: 16-9

CREATOR'S TROPHY
Penn State won the inaugural Creator's Trophy, a men's lacrosse competition started in 2012 by the Big Ten schools Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. The Nittany Lions went 2-0 in the round-robin format, while the Buckeyes went 1-1 and the Wolverines went 0-2. Jack Forster led all scorers between the three teams with nine points from five goals and four assists. Saturday's game kicks off the second season of the Creator's Trophy.

2012 Creator's Trophy Schedule
Feb. 9: Penn State at Michigan, 1 p.m.
March 2: Ohio State at Penn State, 1 p.m.
April 13: Ohio State at Michigan, 1 p.m.

PENN STATE IN SEASON OPENERS
Overall (Since 1978): 17-17
Home (Since 1978): 8-5
Road (Since 1978): 9-11
Neutral (Since 1978): 0-1
Under Tambroni: 1-1

PENN STATE VOTED IN PRESEASON POLLS
Nittany Lions garnered a pair of preseason rankings from the USILA coaches poll and Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll on Jan. 28. Both rankings put Penn State 15th, second in the CAA after Massachusetts (12).

NITTANY LIONS TABBED SECOND IN CAA
Penn State was voted second in the preseason Colonial Athletic Association poll and earned four student-athletes on the preseason All-CAA team on Friday, Feb. 1. The voting was conducted by each of the league's head coaches.

Penn State earned 31 votes, second most to defending champion Massachusetts (35). The Nittany Lions garnered two first-place votes, while the Minutemen earned the other five. Drexel and Hofstra were voted third, while Delaware, Towson and Saint Joseph's rounded out the seven-team conference.

Four Nittany Lions - Jack Forster, Nick Dolik, Kessler Brown and Austin Kaut - were named to the 2013 Preseason All-CAA Team. Kaut is a two-time All-CAA First Team honoree, while Forster and Dolik each have made appearances in the postseason awards list for the CAA.

KAUT A PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
On Dec. 4, junior Austin Kaut was named to the Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Second Team. A 2012 second-team USILA All-American honoree is a two-time All-CAA First Team goaltender.

RETURNING SCORERS
Penn State went 9-6 last season and returns the core of its team with just three starters graduating and 31 letterwinners returning for the 2013 season. The 2013 team will see 77 percent of its scoring from a year ago back on the field led by senior Jack Forster, who earned an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA for two knee injuries. Forster, who tallied 40 points last year, sits nine points shy of 100 for his career entering the 2013 campaign.

Aiding Forster's offensive capabilities are Shane Sturgis, Nick Dolik and Gavin Ahern who all scored double digit goals in 2012. Sturgis found the back of the net 19 times, Dolik had 18 markers and Ahern scored 13 goals.

GOING STREAKING
Penn State's potent attack has four Nittany Lions riding point streaks from last season. Leaidng the way is Jack Forster whose 12-game streak started on March 3 against Ohio State. Nick Dolik has an 11-game streak, while Shane Sturgis and Gavin Ahern are at six and three games, respectively.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP
On Dec. 5, 2013, head coach Jeff Tambroni announced that senior leaders Travis Crane and Jack Forster earned the distinction of captains. Crane, a fifth-year senior in his secon season in Happy Valley, is a midfielder out of Parkville, Md, while Forster of Jenkintown, Pa. is at Penn State for his sixth year.

"Our coaching staff and team are very confident that they will do a wonderful job as we make our way through the spring season," Tambroni said. "Both of [these] guys have been around for a long time, one a fifth-year (Crane) the other a sixth-year senior (Forster), and have fought through a lot of adversity in their own right. I think their experience is going to be great for this team at the time that Penn State lacrosse is in its history, and hopefully going to give us an opportunity to turn the page."

RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
After this weekend's game at Michigan, Penn State faces off against five straight ranked foes including two in the top 10 in No. 3 Notre Dame (Feb. 24) and No. 9 Denver (Feb. 17). Two other teams, No. 11 Lehigh (March 9) and No. 12 Massachusetts (March 16) are ranked just outside the top 10, while No. 19 Ohio State visits Happy Valley on March 2.

Two other Penn State opponents, No. 18 Bucknell (March 28) and No. 20 Hofstra (April 27) are also ranked. Drexel (April 6) and Villanova (March 31) are the next two teams out of the poll.

ROAD WARRIORS
Of the 14 regular-season contests, Penn State will be home for just five of them, making the Nittany Lions one of the most road tested teams in the country. In total, seven games are true road contests along with two neutral site games.

HOME SWEET HOME
Penn State hosts five games starting with exciting battles with No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 19 Ohio State on Feb. 24 and March 2, respectively. The Nittany Lions host their final three games in CAA play against Saint Joseph's (March 23), Drexel (April 6) and Towson (April 13).

NITTANY LIONS ON TV
Penn State is slated to play two games on television this season: Feb. 17 against Denver at Jacksonville, Fla. on NBC Sports Network and March 9 vs. Lehigh in Chester, Pa. on Comcast Sports Net. The Lehigh game is also scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

COACH TAMBRONI IN YEAR THREE
Head coach Jeff Tambroni is in his third year on the Penn State sidelines, winning 16 games in the past two years after a 2-11 season in 2010 before his arrival. Last year, Tambroni led the Nittany Lions one win shy of their first 10-win season since 2009 and on the cusp of the CAA Championship. Penn State cracked the top 10 in the USILA poll for the first time in program history on March 5 after wins over Notre dame nad Ohio State. Tambroni has also led Penn State to back-to-back second-place finishes in the CAA and has a 9-3 regular-season record in the conference.

PSU WELCOMES NEWCOMERS
Fourteen new Penn State student-athletes joined the lacrosse team this season. The Nittany Lions welcomed two attakmen, five midfielders, five defenders and two goalies in the class.

NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State flies down to Jacksonville, Fla. for the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic against No. 9 Denver on Sunday, Feb. 17. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network to a national audience at 1 p.m. It is believed to be the first nationally televised Penn State men's lacrosse match.

--NITTANY LIONS--

 

 

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