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March 28, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off their third straight win, the Nittany Lion lacrosse team travels to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on the Bucknell Bison on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Only 60 miles separate these two schools, but that is as a close as these two in-state rivals get. There will be few pleasantries exchanged Tuesday night before, during and after the game.
Penn State is 34-9 all time against Bucknell. As of late, however, the series has been much tighter. The Nittany Lions and the Bison have split victories in the last six meetings, 3-3.
Bucknell is 6-2 on the season and is ranked 17th in the USILA Division I Coaches Poll. The Bison have dropped games to Penn and Robert Morris, but they have beat top-ranked teams like Villanova and Navy. Make no mistake; Bucknell will play one of its best games of the spring Tuesday night against Penn State.
The Bison are led by a talented core of offensive players. A versatile group, each player has the ability to play both midfield an attack. Senior Ryan Klipstein (Califon, N.J.) leads the team in scoring with 25 points. Excelling at the midfield, Klipstein has scored 18 goals and tallied seven assists.
He is flanked at the midfield by senior Mike Danylyshyn (Fairport, N.Y.) and junior Nick Gantsoudes (Redding, Conn.). Danylyshyn has scored 18 points off of eight goals and 10 assists. Gantsoudes has 14 points off of 12 goals and two assists.
On the attack, the Bison offer a variety of match-up difficulties. Junior Billy Eisenreich (Chatham, N.J.) is second on the team in scoring with 19 points. A balanced attackman, Eisenreich has scored 12 goals and tallied seven assists. Junior Charlie Streep (New Canaan, Conn.) is extremely quick. He has scored 10 goals and added three assists this spring. Freshman Todd Heritage (Cheshire, Conn.) rounds out the attack unit. A left-handed finisher, Heritage has nine goals and five assists on the season.
At the face off, senior Jake Clarke (Cos Cob, Conn.) is 62-121 for a .512 winning percentage this spring. An outstanding athlete, Clarke wins most ground ball situations after the whistle. Two years ago, Clarke went 20-21 against the Nittany Lions. Surprisingly, Penn State held on to win the game 9-8 in Lewisburg, Pa.
The Bison can be aggressive, at times, on defense. They offer a 10-man ride package that forces the Bucknell goalie out of the net to guard an unsuspecting attackman. This package disrupts a clearing team's normal routine, but it can be beaten with precise stick work and opportunism.
Senior Alex Lyons (Owings Mills, Md.) has started every game on defense for the Bison. He has picked up 30 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers. Senior John Collett (Randolph, N.J.) has also started every game this spring. He has picked up six ground balls and caused four turnovers. Sophomore defenseman Mike Huffner (Elmira, N.Y.) has started four games, picked up 14 groundballs and caused 10 turnovers.
In goal, the Bison rely on sophomore Kyle Feeney (Greenwich, Conn.). The sophomore boasts a 7.49 goals against average this spring.
The Nittany Lions hope to overcome the challenges of a mid-week game to beat the 17th-ranked Bison on its home field and earn another valuable victory against a ranked opponent.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com