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Lions Set for Saturday Tilt at No. 19 Towson

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Dan Craig

April 9, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State men's lacrosse team will travel to play its seventh ranked team of the year on Saturday against No. 19 Towson. Game time for the 22nd edition of the Penn State-Towson rivalry is set for 7 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Game 11: April 12, 2014 • 7 p.m. • Johnny Unitas Stadium • Towson, Md.
VENUEJohnny Unitas Stadium (Turf; 11,198)
LIVE COVERAGELive Video (free) | Live Stats
SERIES RECORDTowson leads 14-7
LAST MEETING5/3/13, Towson 11-10 (at Penn State)
NEXT TIME OUTSaturday, Apr. 19 at Delaware, 1 p.m.
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

• Penn State looks for third win over a ranked foe at No. 19 Towson on Saturday
• The Nittany Lions and Tigers meet for the 22nd time
• PSU has lost four of five games including Saturday's 13-12 triple OT game at Drexel
Austin Kaut had 17 saves; Mike Sutton tallied career-high five goals
• Sutton was named CAA Rookie of the Week for his game at Drexel
• Freshman duo Dan Craig and Mike Sutton have tallied 12 points in past three games
Drake Kreinz and Cole Yeager teamed up to win 19-of-30 draws at Drexel. PSU ranks ninth nationally in faceoff winning percentage
Shane Sturgis is 7th all-time at Penn State with 147 points, needing 1 point to reach 6th
Austin Kaut is second in school history in saves (653), 41 behind Drew Adams (694)
• Penn State will try to improve its 7-1 all-time record against No. 19 ranked teams
• Towson is 7-1 in its past eight games to earn its first ranking of the year after starting 1-2

Towson (8-3, 2-1 CAA) is coming off its most important win of the season, a 6-5 victory, at No. 11 UMass last week, the team's seventh win in eight tries. The goaltender battle was won by Tyler White's 16 saves to improve his record to 8-3. White has a 52 save percentage with a 8.86 GAA in 11 starts.

The Tigers have been steady with strong defense during its 7-1 stretch, never allowing more than nine goals, averaging just six goals against per game. A strength of the defense has been its man-down unit which has allowed just nine goals in 40 opportunities (22.5 percent, 3rd NCAA). Meanwhile, on offense, the team has scored 9.63 goals per game in that stretch as opposed to 7.67 goals in the first three games of the season.

Individually, Thomas DeNapoli leads the team in points (31) with 16 goals and 15 assists. Joe Seider is thea team-leader in goals (19) followed by Greg Cuccinello (16) and DeNapoli. The Tigers also receive contributions from Max Siskind (11 goals) and Ryan Drenner (9), while Justin Mabus (15 assists) and Drenner (10) facilitate the offense with its passing game. At the faceoff X, four Tigers have taken draws with Conor Pequigney earning the most opportunities (125) with 53 wins for a 42.4 winning percentage. Alex Burckley (35-71, 49.3 percent) is also used at the X.

All-Time Series: 7-14
PSU Streak: 1 loss
First Meeting: 4/8/81, PSU 14-6
Last Meeting: 5/3/13, TOW 11-10
Last PSU Win: 4/13/13, 10-8
Last TOW Win: 5/3/13, 11-10
Largest PSU Win: 14-6, 4/8/81
Largest TOW Win: 18-7, 4/1/87
PSU Goals vs. TOW: 201-240

5/3/13: L 10-11 - H
4/13/13: W 10-8 - H
4/14/12: W 8-3 - A
4/16/11: W 7-6 - H
4/24/10: L 9-10 - A

The Nittany Lions fought valiantly Saturday at Vidas Field, but ultimately fell, 13-12, in a dramatic triple overtime thriller to Drexel. Mitch de Snoo scored the game-winning goal with 46 seconds remaining in the third extra frame to propel the Dragons to victory.

Freshman Mike Sutton made the most of his first collegiate start by scoring five goals on the day. Fellow freshman Dan Craig tallied four points on a goal and three assists, while senior goalkeeper Austin Kaut did all he could with a 17-save performance, a season-high showing. His 17 stops were the most since an 18-save game at Notre Dame (Feb. 26, 2012) and matched a 17-save game vs. Villanova (March 31, 2012).

Penn State (4-6, 0-2 CAA), which found itself down 7-4 with 6:14 left in the second quarter fought back with a 5-0 run to take a 9-7 lead into halftime. Drexel responded with a 3-0 spurt of its own to regain the lead, 10-9, with 8:06 remaining in the third. A 3-1 spurt in the third and fourth quarters gave the Nittany Lions a 12-11 advantage with 9:29 left in regulation, but Penn State would fail to score over the final 20:43 of the game.

Drexel's Ben McIntosh scored his fifth goal of the game with just 81 seconds remaining in regulation as he sliced through the defense for his 32nd of the year. McIntosh finished with a game-high eight points, while Ryan Belka added a hat trick of his own.

In the first two overtime periods, Cole Yeager won both faceoffs to get the Nittany Lions on attack. Yeager finished the day by going 13-for-21 with six ground balls at the X. Coupled with Drake Kreinz's 6-for-9 outing, Penn State went 19-for-30 in draws against the reigning CAA Player of the Week, Nick Saputo and company. Saputo went 6-for-18 on Saturday and entered the game fourth nationally in faceoff winning percentage (67 percent).

Following two scoreless overtime periods, Drexel held a 5-0 shot advantage with Cole Shafer's effort careening off the upright and being picked up by de Snoo, who fired his second goal of the game and lifted the Dragons to victory.

On the heels of a five-goal masterpiece at Drexel, freshman Mike Sutton (Sewell, N.J.) was named men's lacrosse Rookie of the Week by the Colonial Athletic Association Monday afternoon.

Sutton, who entered Saturday with just two games and a goal played to his credit, uncorked a quintet of tallies against the Dragons at Vidas Field. Sutton made the most of his first collegiate start in the 13-12 triple-overtime loss for the Nittany Lions by becoming just the third Lion to score five or more goals in a game this season.

Sutton posted a string of three straight goals in the second quarter to help the Nittany Lions gain the lead before halftime and added two more to regain the lead in the third quarter for Penn State. Two of his goals came on Penn State's extra-man offense, as PSU went 4-for-7 on the day.

Freshmen Dan Craig and Mike Sutton were largely silent during the first seven games of the year. In fact, the duo combined to score just five points on three goals and two assists through March 18. The offensive output has changed in the past three games, combining for 12 points on nine goals and three assists. Five of the 12 points came from Sutton this Saturday on his quintet of goals at Drexel, which earned him CAA Rookie of the Week.

Mike Sutton's five-goal game last week against Drexel allowed him to join the exclusive Penn State scoring club that includes only TJ Sanders and Shane Sturgis. Sanders has four five-goal games and Sturgis tallied a six-goal game against Michigan and tallied five more against Notre Dame this season.

The faceoff tandem of redshirt-freshman Drake Kreinz and graduate student Cole Yeager has been an effective combination against some of the top faceoff specialists in the country. This past weekend, Kreinz and Yeager teamed up to take 19 of 30 draws against Drexel, who featured Nick Saputo, who came into the weekend as CAA Player of the Week and fourth nationally in faceoff win percentage. Saputo sputtered to a season-low 33 percent, winning just 6 of 18 faceoffs, against PSU. As a team Penn State ranks ninth nationally in faceoff winning percentage (61.5) with Kreinz checking in 12th (114-184, 62.0). Yeager has won 61.8 percent (34-55) of his draw attempts with 16 ground balls, while Kreinz has 62 pickups, which is good for 22nd nationally.

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 653, needing 41 saves to catch Drew Adams (2006-09), who is the all-time saves leader with 694. Kaut will need to average 14 saves in the next three games to surpass Adams. Offensively, Shane Sturgis holds onto sole possession of seventh all-time at Penn State in points scored with 147. Last year's running mate Jack Forster (2008-13) is a point ahead of Sturgis for sixth place with 148.

A new face joined the ranks of Penn State's hat trick corps as Mike Sutton tallied a five-goal game at Drexel on Saturday. His performance comes on the heels of two other Nittany Lions to join the list as Pat Manley and Dan Craig tallied their first career hat tricks against Albany three 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, Manley and Sutton.

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

The Nittany Lions dropped back-to-back road games for the first time in the Jeff Tambroni era, a span of 52 games. The accomplishments dates to March 8, 2011, Tambroni's first road game (at Villanova) after PSU dropped its final road game of the 2010 season at Towson under Glen Thiel. Prior to this year's two-game road swoon, Penn State had won 14 consecutive true road games from Feb. 26, 2012 to March 1, 2014.

Penn State once again features one of the toughest schedules in Division I lacrosse and No. 19 Towson will represent PSU's seventh ranked foe. Penn State is 2-4 this season against ranked teams according to the USILA Coaches Poll. In all, seven of Penn State's 11 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. One more potential ranked team looms as Hofstra is 16th in this week's poll.

Penn State will play its 214th game against a ranked opponent as it visits No. 19 Towson. The Tigers are ranked for the first time this season. Penn State, holding a 69-144 record against ranked teams, will try to win its 70th all-time game against a ranked team. During Jeff Tambroni's tenure at Penn State the Nittany Lions have gone 9-13 with a 3-5 campaign in 2012, 4-4 showing in 2013 and 2-4 thus far in 2014. The Nittany Lions are 7-1 all-time against teams ranked 19th, the best winning percentage against any of the 20 ranked spots.

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 0-4 this season when allowing more than 10 goals. PSU is 1-14 under Jeff Tambroni when allowing 10 or more goals.

Penn State caps its regular season with a pair of home games starting with an April 19 contest vs. Delaware. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Penn State Lacrosse Field.




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