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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 13 Penn State men's lacrosse team will search for its third straight win when it travels to Columbus, Ohio, for a matchup against No. 16/17 Ohio State on Saturday (March 3). The contest will be held at Ohio Stadium with opening faceoff slated at 1 p.m.
The Nittany Lions, who last week were unranked in the USILA Coaches' Poll, catapulted to the No. 13 slot after a 4-3 overtime victory at then-No. 2/4 Notre Dame on Sunday, Feb. 26. Penn State defeated its highest ranked opponent with the win and beat the Fighting Irish for the first time since a 10-9 overtime triumph in 2002.
This weekend's game will also mark Penn State's final Creator's Trophy contest of the season. The Creator's Trophy was established this season between the three Big Ten schools that sponsor men's lacrosse - Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State - as a way to promote the rivalry between the programs. A team that finishes the season 2-0 against the other schools will claim the Creator's Trophy in a given year. The Nittany Lions stand at 1-0 in Creator's Games in 2012 after a 16-9 win against Michigan on Feb. 18.
Penn State (2-1, 0-0 CAA) will enter Ohio Stadium with a chance to start the season at 3-1 for the first time since 2002. Senior Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square), who has seen time at both attack and midfield, has continued his consistent scoring as he has notched two goals in each game. The Newtown Square, Pa., native has totaled 77 career markers, which is good for 13th in the nation among active players.
Helped by his 18-save performance against Notre Dame, sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton) has appeared near the top of the nation's leaderboard, ranking seventh in the country in save percentage (.629) and 11th in saves per game (13.0).
In addition, the Nittany Lions have continued to receive solid contributions from their freshmen. Rookie midfielder Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) tallied once against Notre Dame to spur the Penn State comeback, and defender Jack Donnelly (Toronto, Ont.) has excelled as a starter, collecting three ground balls and a team-best four caused turnovers.
The Buckeyes, who started the season with a three-game winning streak, will enter the contest at 3-1 (1-0 ECAC) after dropping their last contest to then-No. 8/10 Massachusetts by a 9-3 margin. Junior Logan Schuss leads the team with 17 points (12g, 5a), while senior Brock Sorensen ranks second on the squad with seven goals. Sophomore Tyler Frederick is tied with Schuss for the team lead in assists.
Penn State is 11-4 all-time against Ohio State but has lost the last two games, both in overtime. The Nittany Lions will look for their first win at Ohio State since a 14-13 overtime victory in 2006.