FEATURE: Nittany Lions Put Together Complete Game, Defeats Delaware
April 25, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The Delaware Blue Hens hit six posts Saturday night. Even though these six shots, if scored, would not have changed to final outcome of the game as it stands - Penn State defeating Delaware 13-3 - even one goal may have changed the dynamics of the game as it was being played.
The Nittany Lions used a little luck and a little momentum to get out to a three-goal lead at the end of the first quarter.
Junior attackman Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) scored two of his four goals in the first quarter. He added a third-quarter assist to lead all scorers with five points on the night.
Freshman attackman Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) recorded his first career hat trick against the Blue Hens.
The Nittany Lion extra-man unit improved upon its meager numbers. Going into the game against Delaware, Penn State was 8-40 on man-up opportunities this spring. Against the Blue Hens, the Nittany Lions were 2-4 on man-up chances.
Sophomore attackman Billy Gribbin (Rockville, Md.) scored a man-up goal off of a Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) assist in the third quarter. Sturgis' assist extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games. He leads all Nittany Lion scorers with 32 points off of 16 goals and 16 assists.
Mackrides tallied a man-up goal in the fourth quarter to extend Penn State's lead to 13-3.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions put up their best numbers of the season. The defensive unit gave up 39 shots, many of which were contested and off target. Freshman goalie Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) recorded 11 saves and only three goals against. He continues to lead all Division I goalies with a .642 save percentage.
Penn State's success on defense transitioned into the offensive end of the field. Senior defensive midfielder Matt Shankoff (Flemington, N.J.) scored his first goal of the season against the Blue Hens. The third quarter goal was Shankoff's third career goal.
After their win over the Blue Hens, the Nittany Lions have moved into the top 20 of the USILA Division I Coaches Poll. They take on the 8th-ranked Hofstra Pride this Saturday in Hempstead, N.Y. The Pride are 12-1 on the season, including their a recent 14-5 win over UMass.
The winner of next weekend's game will earn a No. 1 seed in the CAA conference tournament. In order to defeat the Pride, the Nittany Lions will have to put together another complete game on Saturday night. Expect Penn State's upperclassman to continue to step up and lead the team into the CAA tournament.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com