Special Teams To Play An Important Role In Game Against Lehigh
April 1, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Prior to the midweek game against Bucknell, Penn State had only earned 22 man-up opportunities. The team had capitalized on only five of those opportunities. At a .227 conversion percentage, the Nittany Lion man-up unit ranked 42nd among 60 Division I men's lacrosse teams, according to statistics recorded by NCAA.com. The nation's leading man-up unit, Virginia, is converting at .606 percent.
This Saturday's opponent, Lehigh, boasts a lethal man-up unit. At a .429 conversion percentage, the Mountain Hawk man-up unit ranks 12th among 60 Division I teams.
Lehigh's potent offense is led by sophomore attackman Dante Fantoni (Hauppauge, N.Y.). Fantoni has tallied 31 points on the year, scoring 21 goals and adding 10 assists. Sophomore attackman David DiMaria (Dix Hills, N.Y.) is second on the team in scoring with 30 points. DiMaria has scored 13 goals and tallied 17 assists this spring. Fantoni and DiMaria are both staples of the 12th-ranked Mountain Hawk man-up unit.
Junior Adam Johnston (Street, Md.) leads all Lehigh midfielders with 22 points. A strong presence in front of the goal, Johnston has scored 20 goals - many of which have come during man-up opportunities. He has also added two assists on the year.
Fortunately, The Nittany Lion man-down unit has faired significantly better this spring. In 28 opportunities prior to the Bucknell game, Penn State's opponents have scored only six times. This means that the Nittany Lion man-down unit has killed off .786 percent of its penalties. This ranks the unit 12th among Division I teams.
Lehigh's man-down unit has not faired as well. In 29 opportunities, the Mountain Hawks' opponents have scored nine times. Lehigh has only killed off .690 percent of its penalties, which ties the unit with Duke for 33rd among the 60 Division I teams.
The Nittany Lions must take advantage of their man-up opportunities on Saturday against a Mountain Hawk man-down unit that has struggled this spring.
More importantly, however, the Penn State man-down unit must contend with Lehigh's top-ranked man-up unit. The Nittany Lions cannot allow the Mountain Hawks to continue to convert at .429 percent. Otherwise, Penn State may fall behind Lehigh's potent offense quickly.
Saturday's game will be played at 1 p.m. at Lehigh's Ulrich Sports Complex. The game was scheduled to be played in Lehigh's Goodman Stadium, but it has been moved due to inclement weather forecasts.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com