Penn State Drops Mid-Week Game To Bucknell
March 30, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
As they say, the numbers do not lie. Penn State suffered an 8-6 setback to Bucknell in a close game in Lewisburg, Pa.
The most telling statistical category of Tuesday night's game reflected Penn State's ball handling. The Nittany Lions recorded 22 turnovers - seven more than the Bison. Sure, some of these turnovers must be attributed to Bucknell's efforts on defense, but the majority of them were a result of Penn State's inability to value possessions.
In eight games this spring, Penn State has turned the ball over 142 times. The Nittany Lions' turnover per game average is 17.75. Penn State's opponents have only recorded 108 turnovers. That means that the Nittany Lions are only forcing 13.5 turnovers per game.
Penn State has only recorded fewer turnovers than its opponent in one game this season - an 11-6 victory over Rutgers. In that game, the Nittany Lions recorded only 15 turnovers, and the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 17 times.
In every other game this spring, the Nittany Lions have turned the ball over more times than their opponents. This includes Penn State's signature 8-7 win over UMass. In that game, the Nittany Lions recorded 22 turnovers, and the Minutemen recorded 11 turnovers.
These staggering turnover numbers do not solely fall on the shoulders of Penn State's offensive players. While the offense has, at times, failed to value the lacrosse ball, many of these turnovers have occurred at the defensive end of the field during clears and in the middle of the field during transition opportunities.
Tuesday night against Bucknell, Penn State successfully cleared the ball out of their defensive zone only 12 out of 21 times. On the season, the Nittany Lions have successfully cleared the ball only 110 out of 143. Penn State's clearing percentage is a measly .769, well below its opponent's .863 clearing percentage.
Freshman attackman Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) continued to pace the Nittany Lions offensively. He scored two goals and added an assist in the game. Sturgis has recorded a point in seven of Penn State's eight games this season.
Sophomore attackman Billy Gribbin (Rockville, Md.) came of the bench and tallied an extra man goal. Junior midfielder Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) scored the game's first goal to extend his scoring streak to two games.
Freshman goalie Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) played another solid game for Penn State. The Nittany Lion goalie faced 36 shots and recorded 12 saves.
Penn State faces another quick turn around, playing Lehigh Saturday at 1 p.m. in Bethlehem, Pa. The Nittany Lions are 31-7 all time against the Mountain Hawks. Penn State last played Lehigh in 2000 and earned a 15-12 victory.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com