UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn – The Penn State men’s lacrosse team rode the strong offense of freshman Shane Sturgis to an 11-6 victory against No. 19 Rutgers on Saturday at Penn State’s Bigler Field. Sturgis scored four goals and had an assist to spark the Nittany Lions, handing Rutgers its first loss of the year.
Sturgis’ five-point burst helped Penn State offset an early Rutgers lead. The Scarlet Knights scored the game’s first two goals quickly, getting scores from Andrew D’Agostino and Scott Klimchak in the first three minutes of play. Senior Colton Vosburgh got Penn State back into the game quickly, however, netting unassisted goals with 8:27 and 6:52 on the clock to tie the game. Penn State took its first lead off a Gavin Ahern goal with an assist from Kyle VanThof with 1:49 left in the opening period. Rutgers’ Duncan Clancy tied the game with just :35 left in the period but Penn State junior Jack Forster took a VanThof pass and scored with just :12 left on the clock to put Penn State up 4-3 at the end of the period.
Vosburgh scored his third goal of the game off a Sturgis assist with 1:42 on the clock and Forster netted his second off a Matthew Mackrides pass to give Penn State a 6-3 lead with a bit more than 10:00 left in the half. Rutgers cut into Penn State’s lead when Michael Diehl scored with 1:01 left, sending the Nittany Lions into intermission with a 6-4 lead.
Rutgers was able to control play for much of the third period and completed a comeback with two Anthony Terranova goals, one with 9:32 left and one with 1:49 on the clock. Terranova’s second goal tied the game at six, erasing a three-goal Penn State lead. But Sturgis took over with just :05 left in the third period, scoring an unassisted goal to give Penn State a 7-6 lead, a lead it would never relinquish.
Sturgis ended the game by scoring four of Penn State’s last five goals (including the final goal of the third period). He scored at the 11:51 mark and then again four minutes later with 8:11 left. Mackrides notched an unassisted goal with 5:58 to play and Sturgis iced the contest with an unassisted goal at the 3:12 mark to close out the scoring in the game.
Freshman goalie Austin Kaut allowed six goals against 39 Rutgers shots (21 on goal). Kaut also had 15 saves. Sophomore Danny Henneghan won 12 of 21 face offs and had a game-high eight ground balls as well. Senior defender Matt Bernier anchored a strong Penn State defense, collecting six ground balls. Ryne Sternberg had three.
Rutgers outshot Penn State 39-27, but Penn State owned a 22-21 shot on goal edge. The Nittany Lions won 12 of 21 face-offs and forced Rutgers into 17 turnovers (while committing only 15 themselves). Rutgers won the ground balls battle 38-32. The Nittany Lions connected on one of five man-up opportunities while hold Rutgers scoreless on five attempts.