Penn State Must Capitalize On Delaware's Over-aggressiveness
April 20, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Penn State takes on Delaware this Saturday at 7 p.m. in Newark, Del. With a rangy and aggressive defense, the Blue Hens are one of the most penalized teams in Division I college lacrosse. Because the team gives up so many extra-man opportunities, Delaware allows 9.00 goals per game - good for 30th overall in the nation.
The Blue Hens have been penalized 66 times this spring. Their penalty minutes amount to 53 minutes. Delaware's opponents have been penalized only 43 times. Combined, their penalty minutes amount to more than 37 minutes.
Senior defenseman Matt Stefurak (Smithtown, N.Y.) leads the Blue Hens with seven penalties for six minutes.
Three other Delaware defensemen have been penalized five times this season. Redshirt-freshman Will Wojciechowski (Columbus, N.J.), junior John Bastone (Plainview, N.Y.) and sophomore Connor Fitzgerald (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) have spent more than 13 minutes in the penalty box, combined.
Senior Andrew Rohacik (Washington, D.C.) is the only Blue Hen midfielder that has been penalized five times. A defensive midfielder with face off capabilities, Rohacik spends much of his time at the defensive end of the field.
The Blue Hen defense extends all over the field in order to put pressure on opposing offenses. By getting these offenses out of their rhythm, Delaware strives to dictate the tempo of the game.
The Nittany Lions must maintain their composure of offense. Penn State can use Delaware's over-aggressiveness to its advantage by protecting the ball and running by the Blue Hen defensemen. This will create unsettled situations that - assuming the Nittany Lions can slickly handle the ball - will result in goal-scoring opportunities.
Penn State, however, will have to stay out of the penalty box Saturday night. The Nittany Lions have peen penalized 48 times this season. The Penn State players have spent more than 37 minutes in the penalty box.
Because of these low numbers, The Nittany Lions are ranked 18th in the nation, giving up only 8.18 goals per game.
Penn State's opponents have been penalized 41 times this season. Combined, the Nittany Lions' opponents have racked up over 30 penalty minutes.
Senior defensemen Billy Davis leads Penn State in penalties and penalty minutes with 10 penalties and nine penalty minutes.
Junior defenseman Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) and senior defensive midfielder Matt Shankoff (Flemington, N.J.) each have been penalized five times. They combine for eight penalty minutes this spring.
Junior attackman Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) has also been penalized five times. Due to the nature of his penalties, though, Mackrides has only spent three and a half minutes in the penalty box.
Each of these players is extremely important to the success of the Penn State men's lacrosse team. The more time they spend on the field, the better it is for the Nittany Lions. If these key players are able to stay out of the penalty box Saturday night at Delaware, Penn State has an opportunity to overtake the Blue Hens for first place in the CAA.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com