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Nittany Lions Hit the Road Saturday at Drexel

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Tom LaCrosse and the Nittany Lions take on Drexel Saturday at 2 p.m.

April 3, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's lacrosse will try to snap a two-game skid against CAA rival Drexel on Saturday at Vidas Field in Philadelphia. Opening faceoff for the 33rd edition of the Penn State-Drexel rivalry is slated for 2 p.m.

Game 10: April 5, 2014 • 2 p.m. • Vidas Field • Philadelphia, Pa.
VENUEVidas Field (Turf; 1,000)
LIVE COVERAGE & STATSLive Video (free) & Live Stats
SERIES RECORDPenn State leads 27-5
LAST MEETING4/6/13, Penn State 13-6 (at PSU)
NEXT TIME OUTSaturday, Apr. 12 at Towson, 7 p.m.
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

• Penn State goes on the road for the first time in 26 days on Saturday at Drexel
• The Nittany Lions and Dragons meet for the 33rd time, PSU is 14-1 at Drexel
• Nittany Lions coming off a tough 9-7 loss to Villanova last weekend
Austin Kaut had 13 saves; Michael Richards, Shane Sturgis each scored twice vs. VU
• Drexel has won its past two games and three of its past four
• Two of the best in the country faceoff at the X: Drake Kreinz and Nick Saputo
• Kreinz (61.7%, 14th) and Saputo (67%, 4th) each rank near the top of faceoff wins
• Penn State looks to improve its 164-45-1 all-time record vs. Pennsylvania D-I teams
Shane Sturgis is 7th all-time at Penn State with 146 points, needing 2 points to reach 6th
Austin Kaut is second in school history in saves (636), 58 behind Drew Adams (694)
• Penn State plays its final CAA road game at Towson next week

Drexel (6-4, 1-1 CAA) enters Saturday's contest on a two-game win streak and having won three of its past four contests. Last week, the Dragons defeated Saint Joseph's, 14-10, and Delaware, 9-7, in a pair of road games. Faceoff specialist, Nick Saputo, is the reigning CAA Player of the Week following a two-game total of 33 faceoff wins in 46 attempts (71.7 percent). Saputo ranks fourth nationally in faceoff percentage (67 percent) and third in ground balls per game (10.2). Saputo has also pitched in with two goals and three assists this year.

Offensively, the Dragons are paced by the scoring trio of Ben McIntosh (34 points), Nick Triziano (34) and Cole Shafer (32). McIntosh leads the team with 27 goals, while Triziano has 25 and Shafer 18. Ryan Belka and Jared Boudreau have each contributed 11 goals to the cause. Defensively, Drexel is led by Matt Busek (26 GB, 17 CT) and goalkeeper Will Gabrielsen (6-3, 9.86 GAA, 54.6 save pct.).

Drexel is accustomed to playing high-scoring games, tallying 11.5 goals per game and conceding 10.4 goals per game. The Dragons tend to get off to fast starts as evidenced by a plus-22 scoring margin (63-41) in the first half, while trailing its opponents 62-52 in the second half. DU excels on the extra-man, scoring on 43.6 percent of its chances, but allowing goals 57.7 percent of the time on the man-down.

All-Time Series: 27-5
PSU Streak: 1 win
First Meeting: 5/23/42, PSU 6-3
Last Meeting: 4/6/13, PSU 13-6
Last PSU Win: 4/6/13, PSU 13-6
Last DU Win: 5/2/12, 13-11
Largest PSU Win: 16-3, 3/31/76
Largest DU Win: 12-7, 4/10/10
At Drexel: 14-1
PSU Goals vs. DU: 420-255

4/6/13: W, 13-6 - H
5/2/12: L, 11-13 - H
4/7/12: W, 10-9 - A
4/9/11: L, 13-14 - H
4/10/10: L, 7-12 - A
This will be the fifth straight season that Penn State and Drexel meet and the 33rd time overall. Penn State is 14-1 all-time at Drexel. This season's contest will be the last as CAA members as the Big Ten adds lacrosse next season.

The visiting Villanova Wildcats built a four-goal lead in the third quarter and fended off a late Nittany Lion rally to win, 9-7, Saturday afternoon at rainy Penn State Lacrosse Field. Austin Kaut matched his season-high in saves (13), while Michael Richards and Shane Sturgis tallied two goals apiece for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State (4-5, 0-1 CAA) committed a season-high 21 turnovers and was unable to solve the staunch Villanova defense, shooting just 22.6 percent. On the other hand, Villanova (4-5, 2-0 Big East) won its third game in a row led by Kevin O'Neil (three goals, one assist) and Austin Frederick (three goals).

The Wildcats and Nittany Lions traded goals early as VU's Eric Gartner and PSU's Richards had it at one goal apiece with 6:33 left in the opening frame. Villanova then went on a 3-0 run on goals from O'Neil and Frederick to earn a 4-1 lead with 10:56 remaining in the second period.

Penn State would cut the VU lead to one, 5-4, after a 3-1 spurt of its own. PSU received goals from Pat Manley, Sturgis and TJ Sanders, but Villanova would score with four seconds left in the half for a two-goal Villanova advantage.

VU kicked the lead to a game-high four at 8-4 midway through the third as Penn State tried to charge back, but never getting closer than two goals. Tom LaCrosse also pitched in with his sixth goal of the year.

Drake Kreinz won his 11th faceoff of the day in 19 tries, setting up Penn State's offense with 3:44 remaining. VU goalkeeper Dan Willis would make three of his nine saves in the game's final three minutes to hand the Nittany Lions their fourth defeat in their past five games. Kreinz finished with five ground balls.

For the second straight season, Penn State had one of its games broadcast live on the Big Ten Network as PSU hosted Villanova. Last year, the Nittany Lions defeated Towson, 10-8, on Senior Day. Next season, BTN will be the home of Big Ten lacrosse games for both men and women and the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State and Drexel each feature top-tier talent at the faceoff X in Drake Kreinz and Nick Saputo, the reigning CAA Player of the Week. Kreinz, a redshirt-freshman, has won 108 of 175 draws (61.7 percent), which ranks him 14th nationally. Meanwhile, Saputo is fourth in the country at 67 percent, winning 154 of the 230 draws he's taken. For Kreinz, Saputo will be the third opponent he'll face off in the top 10. In Feb. 15's meeting with Notre Dame, Kreinz won 8-of-14 draws with six ground balls against Liam O'Connor (7th, 63.6 percent) as PSU went on to win 8-7. Three weeks ago, Kreinz faced off with UMass' Joe Calvello (10th, 62.7 percent), winning 9-of-15 draws against the experienced senior. Last week, Saputo won 10-of-18 faceoffs against Delaware's Tyler Barbarich, who ranks 13th at 61.8 percent, just slightly ahead of Kreinz. Behind only Duke's Brendan Fowler and tied with Stony Brook's Kyle Row for second in the country, Saputo has 154 faceoff wins this season.

Most teams fare better at home, but not the Nittany Lions. Penn State excels on the road, especially in true road games. Until March 10th's loss at No. 9 Denver, Penn State had ticked off a school-record 14 straight true road wins and hadn't lost a road contest in 1,045 days. Saturday's game at Drexel is PSU's first road contest since the Denver loss as the Nittany Lions try to win their 15th game in 16 road trips. In 2013, Penn State went 7-0 on the road after going 5-0 in 2012. This season Penn State went 2-0 before Monday and the Lions' last road loss was Apr. 30, 2011 at Hofstra. Also snapped was Penn State's six-game road winning streak over ranked foes.

Despite last week's loss to Villanova, Penn State has racked up a dominating 164-45-1 (.783) all-time record against the other Division I men's lacrosse teams in Pennsylvania. PSU is 27-5 against this week's opponent, Drexel. Last season, Penn State went 4-1 against its Keystone State rivals.

Austin Kaut has made his stamp in the Penn State record books with the majority of the 2014 season remaining. In net, Kaut ranks in second place all-time in saves with 636, needing 58 saves to catch Drew Adams (2006-09), who is the all-time saves leader with 694. Offensively, Shane Sturgis moved into sole possession of seventh all-time at Penn State in points scored with 146 following Saturday's three-point day vs. Villanova. Last year's running mate Jack Forster (2008-13) is two points ahead of Sturgis for sixth place with 148.

A pair of new faces joined the ranks of Penn State's hat trick corps as Pat Manley and Dan Craig tallied their first career hat tricks against Albany two weeks ago. TJ Sanders tops the PSU list with 12 hat tricks followed by Shane Sturgis (11), Tom LaCrosse (3), Kyle VanThof (2), Gavin Ahern (2), Kyle Baier (1), Steve Aitken (1), Craig and Manley.

TJ Sanders 12
Shane Sturgis 11
Tom LaCrosse 3
Gavin Ahern 2
Kyle VanThof 2
Kyle Baier 1
Dan Craig 1
Pat Manley 1
Steve Aitken 1

Penn State's success last year revolved around the number 10: as in goals scored and goals allowed. When Penn State tallied 10 or more goals the Nittany Lions were 10-2. More importantly, when PSU allowed less than 10 goals, Penn State went an unblemished 11-0. All five losses came when allowing at least 10 goals and only once did Penn State yield a victory (15-12 vs. Denver on Feb. 19). So far this year, Penn State is 4-2 when conceding less than 10 goals. Moreover, PSU is 0-3 after Albany's 17-goal outburst. PSU is 1-13 under Jeff Tambroni when allowing 10 or more goals.

Penn State once again features one of the toughest schedules in Division I lacrosse. Albany represented Penn State's sixth ranked foe from the USILA coaches poll in a seven-game stretch. Thus far, Penn State is 2-4 against ranked teams following three tough losses to Denver, UMass and Albany. In all, six of Penn State's nine opponents played were ranked when the game was played. PSU has faced No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 9 Denver, No. 11 Loyola, No. 14 UMass, No. 18 Albany and No. 19 Ohio State. Currently, Loyola is No. 1 followed by No. 6 Denver, No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 UMass and No. 16 Albany. This week's opponent, Drexel, has received votes in the poll as does next week's road foe, Towson. Penn State's regular-season finale is slated against Hofstra, who checks in at No. 20 this week.

Penn State plays its final road game in the CAA against defending tournament champion Towson Saturday, April 12. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.




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