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No. 17/18 Penn State Visits In-State Rivals Saturday

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Feb. 20, 2015


1-1-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten

0-1-0, 0-0-0 Big East
Saturday, February 21 (12 p.m.)
Villanova Stadium | Villanova, Pa.


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Season Statistics: Penn State | Villanova
Game Notes: Penn State | Villanova


10.50 Goals per Game 10.00
13 Assists 5
33.5 Shots per Game 34.0
.313 Shot Percentage .500
8.00 Goals Against Average 13.00
65 Ground Balls 17
7 Caused Turnovers 3
.429 Man-Up % .333
1.000 Man-Down % .500
.935 Clearing % .846
.523 Faceoff % .286

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Feb. 20, 2015 - Penn State (1-1) is on the road again this week, visiting in-state rivals Villanova (0-1) on Sat., Feb. 21. Opening faceoff at Villanova Stadium is at 1 p.m.

Villanova opened the season by holding No. 5 Johns Hopkins to a 5-5 tie after the first 30 minutes of play. But after each team scored three goals in the third quarter, the Blue Jays went 7-for-7 at the `X' and outscored the Wildcats 4-2 in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Penalties plagued Villanova, who had three extra-man opportunities to Johns Hopkins' eight, surrendering four man-up goals. Greg Stamatov and Dan Willis combined for 12 saves, and offensively, Danny Seibel (3), Sean Cerrone (2) and Christian Cuccinello (2) each had multi-goal games for the Wildcats.

The Nittany Lions and the Greyhounds are meeting for the 21st time in program history. Penn State leads the head-to-head, 16-4. In the teams' meeting last season on March 29, the Wildcats won 9-7 after taking a four-goal lead in the third quarter.

In both of Penn State's games this season, six-or-more Nittany Lions have scored at least one goal. Six different players got on the board at No. 7 Loyola, with Matt Florence (Greenwood Village, Colo.), Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.), Brian Prestreau (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), Mike Sutton (Sewell, N.J.), TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ontario) and Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.) recording the goals. Florence, Sanders and Manley also added an assist, and Dan Craig had one helper. In the 15-8 win over Vermont, eight different Nittany Lions found the back of the net, led by Florence and Sanders. Alongside two assists, Florence, a redshirt sophomore, opened scoring 2:22 into the game and added a pair of markers on the man-up. Sanders posted the 19th multi-goal game of his career with his trio of goals and he dished out an assist. Sutton turned out a three-point performance with two goals scored and an assist. Manley and Kyle Baier (Auburn, N.Y.) each had two-goal outings, while Aponte recorded a goal and an assist.

Connor Darcey (Wellesley, Mass.) wasted no time making a statement in the cage this season, his first as a starter. The redshirt sophomore's 29 saves in the opening two games of the season are the most to kick off a Penn State campaign since 2006. His 14.50 saves per game are the most in the Big Ten and rank fourth in the nation, while his 0.64 save percentage is the eighth-best in the NCAA. In his first collegiate start, against Vermont, Darcey made 15 saves, the most of any Big Ten goalie in action during the day en route to his first collegiate win. His efforts earned him the first-ever Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award.

Matt Florence (Greenwood Village, Colo.) has made an immediate impact since transferring to Penn State this year. In the season opener, Florence scored a hat trick and added two assists, the first three-goal performance in a Penn State debut since 2002. He also scored the game's first goal at Loyola and added an assist.

For the inaugural season of Big Ten Lacrosse, the Nittany Lions will be faced with a huge test. Just four of Penn State's games will be played in Happy Valley, the fewest of any Big Ten team. Penn State also plays a pair of neutral site games against Marist (at Babson College) and Denver (at Hofstra), alongside seven true road games.

Two Nittany Lions recorded hat tricks and Connor Darcey (Wellesley, Mass.) earned the first win in the first start of his collegiate career, leading the No. 14/17 Penn State men's lacrosse team to a season-opening 15-8 win over Vermont on Feb. 7. Penn State's offensive output was evenly distributed throughout the game. In both the third and fourth quarters, the Blue and White scored four goals, and put five past the Catamounts in the opening 15 minutes.

Penn State has been picked to finish third in the inaugural season of Big Ten Lacrosse by the conference's coaches, as announced in the preseason poll. Additionally, 2014 Academic All-Big Ten honorees JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.), Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wisc.) and TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ontario) were named Penn State's Players to Watch. Sitting atop the preseason list was preseason No. 5 Johns Hopkins, which made its record 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. Earning berths to the second-most NCAA postseasons at 37, preseason No. 8 Maryland came in second. Ohio State, Rutgers and Michigan rounded out the poll.

Senior Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) was tabbed 45th overall in the 2015 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft by the Denver Outlaws on Jan. 23 in Baltimore. Richards joins Shane Sturgis (New York Lizards) and Tom LaCrosse (Ohio Machine), both of whom exhausted eligibility in 2014 and were picked in the 2015 Supplemental Draft, as selections by one of the MLL's eight teams in the U.S.A. and Canada. Richards appeared in all of the Nittany Lions' contests last season, making 10 starts in the midfield. The 2014 Academic All-Big Ten honoree recorded six points, collected 20 ground balls and caused four turnovers.

The Nittany Lions earned a No. 14 ranking in the 2015 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division I Preseason Coaches Poll after being picked 15th in the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top-20. The inaugural season of Big Ten lacrosse features six regular season opponents listed in the top-20. Both of Penn State's preseason scrimmages were against top-20 teams, No. 20 Army and No. 18 Lehigh. In the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top-20, the Nittany Lions held the third-highest ranking among Big Ten teams. In total, four of the conference's six squads appeared on the list. The Blue and White will face eight teams ranked in the Top-20: top-ranked Denver, No. 5 Johns Hopkins, No. 8 Maryland, No. 9 Loyola (Md.), No. 11 Penn, No. 12 Harvard, No. 14 Lehigh and No. 20 Ohio State.

Senior Kyle Zittel (Eden, N.Y.) was named the 2015 Penn State's men's lacrosse team captain, the program's first solo team captain since 1978. "Our staff is thrilled to announce that Kyle Zittel will lead our program into the inaugural Big Ten season as our captain," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "He has assumed the lead role immediately after the season ended last spring and has, in doing so, earned the respect of his teammates and our staff. Kyle's effort, selflessness, integrity and character made him an obvious choice." A defensive midfielder, Zittel played in all 13 games for the Nittany Lions, picking up a career-best 11 ground balls and causing four turnovers. Zittel also excels in the classroom. The science major has a cumulative 3.5 grade point average and earned a 4.0 grade point average during the fall 2013 semester.

The Penn State men's lacrosse team finalized its roster for the 2014-15 academic year as head coach Jeff Tambroni announced 11 newcomers. The recruiting class is ranked 11th by Inside Lacrosse. The 11-member class features a transfer from Virginia, Matt Florence (Greenwood Hills, Colo.) as well as three Under Armour All-Americans: Ryan Keenan (Smithtown, N.Y.), Tanner Peck (Lincoln University, Pa.) and Will Schreiner (Kemblesville, Pa.). Keenan, Peck and Schreiner were ranked 6th, 36th and 47th, respectively by Inside Lacrosse in their freshman rankings. Joining them on that list are Mike Aronow (Holbrook, N.Y.) at No. 66 and Tyler Butler (Doylestown, Pa.) at No. 96. Chris Isenberg (Glen Mills, Pa.), Hunter Pearl (Reisterstown, Md.), Tripp Traynor (Downingtown, Pa.), Josh Wellman (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) and Chris Young (Oakville, Ontario) complete Tambroni's incoming crew.

Guiding the Nittany Lions through the inaugural season of Big Ten Lacrosse, Jeff Tambroni is in his fifth season as Penn State's head coach in 2015. With a 35-24 record, Tambroni has guided his Nittany Lion teams to .500-or-better records in each of his four seasons at the helm.




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