Penn State celebrates 100 years of lacrosse with 13-6 win against Drexel
Forster, Sanders each score four goals for Nittany Lions
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 13 Penn State employed a 7-0 second-half run to knock off No. 12 Drexel 13-6 on Saturday in front of a Penn State Lacrosse Field record crowd of 1,007. Attackmen Jack Forster and TJ Sanders tallied four goals apiece and goalkeeper Austin Kaut saved 13 shots to beat the Dragons.
"To be 3-0 in the league," Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni said, "and beat a team like Drexel, who we have a lot of respect [for] after what they did to us last year to end our season, meant a lot to our guys. I think they had the significance of the 100-year celebration and the alumni that came back [Saturday]. It added a little pressure, I would imagine, to our guys, but it adds a little bit of significance to this win having [the alumni] alongside of us."
Holding a one-goal lead in the third quarter, Penn State (8-3, 3-0 Colonial Athletic Association) exploded for seven consecutive goals during an 11-minute span of the second half to put away the Dragons. The Nittany Lions won their sixth consecutive game thanks to a quick-strike offense that outshot Drexel (8-3, 3-1 CAA) 47-23 for the day.
It was a festive atmosphere in Happy Valley as Penn State honored seven decades of lacrosse alumni who came back for the 100th Season Celebration. The Nittany Lions wore special gray uniforms and commemorated the 100th season of Penn State men's lacrosse at halftime with a parade of alumni on the field.
In all, Forster tallied five points, pitching in with an assist, while fellow attackman Shane Sturgis posted his third three-assist game in a row. Sturgis added a goal as the starting attack recorded 13 points on nine goals and four assists.
The 13-goal output was the most since a 15-goal effort in a victory against No. 9 Denver on Feb. 17. Penn State is now 4-3 against ranked opponents this year and 3-1 against higher-ranked foes.
The win snapped Drexel's four-game winning streak and moved Penn State into a tie for first in CAA play with Towson. The Nittany Lions and Tigers face off in Happy Valley in a nationally televised game on the Big Ten Network at 1 p.m. ET on April 13.
Gavin Ahern kicked off the 7-0 run with a left-handed laser through traffic from a Forster feed for a 6-4 lead with 7:15 left in the third. Twenty-three seconds later, Sanders received a Sturgis entry pass as the freshman phenom beat Drexel netminder Cal Winkelman (14 saves) for a 7-4 lead, the largest of the day to that point.
Penn State continued the pressure as Nick Dolik's curling effort near the crease allowed the Lions to double Drexel 8-4 with 2:44 to go in the frame. A minute later, Sanders scored the last of his four goals on a near right-winged shot from Sturgis as Penn State took a five-goal lead entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the run became 5-0 and the lead six goals when Forster's fourth goal of the day made it 10-4 just 42 seconds into the period. Forster's marker was helped by Pat Manley's second assist. The multipoint game for Manley was his first since this past season's opener against Michigan when he scored a goal and an assist.
With 12:59 left to go, Sturgis scored his lone goal as he collected a rebound for an 11-4 lead. The original shot was from Kyle VanThof as Winkelman couldn't corral the loose ball. The seven-goal run was capped on the 17th goal of the season by Tom LaCrosse with 11:16 to play. LaCrosse dodged past his defender on the left wing and snuck one by Winkelman.
Two Drexel goals sandwiched Riley Lasda's first career goal, which was helped by Sturgis.
Penn State and Drexel played a tight first half that highlighted the goalkeeping. Both Kaut and Winkelman were forced into seven saves apiece as the Lions held a 4-3 lead at halftime. Drexel's Ryan Belka scored the first of his three goals just 44 seconds into the game. Penn State answered right back through Forster a minute later. Forster recorded a natural hat trick in the first period for a 3-1 Penn State lead.
In the second, Drexel's Aaron Prosser scored with 6:51 to go to cut the lead to one. Sanders scored a close-ranged attack on the right wing as Drew Roper faked the shot and found the open Sanders with 4:09 left in the half. Drexel's Ben McIntosh tallied an unassisted goal with 2:36 remaining in the frame to trim the deficit to one.
The Nittany Lions outshot Drexel in every quarter with a huge descrepency in the first (15-5) and third (14-4) quarters. Forster scored four goals on a game-high 13 shots, while Sanders scored four times on eight shots.
Penn State won the ground-ball battle,30-21 while Danny Henneghan won 10 of 22 faceoffs. Henneghan was key during the third-quarter run going 4-for-6 at the faceoff X with four ground balls for the game. Steven Bogert picked up a game-high five ground balls for Penn State, while Travis Crane tallied four.
Defensively, Penn State held its sixth consecutive opponent to seven or less goals. Fueling the defensive fire was JP Burnside with three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls.
During the six-game winning streak, Kaut has been tremendous in the cage. He has allowed just 28 goals, while making 84 saves (75 percent). His goals-against average is 4.70 during that stretch. Penn State has doubled up its past six opponents 58-29 in the scoring department. The Nittany Lions have outscored its opponents on an average of 9.67 to 4.83 goals per game.
Forster ran his point streak to 23 games. During the stretch since March 3, 2012, at Ohio State, Forster has scored 48 goals, 20 assists and 68 points. Forster has 89 career tallies and sits just four goals back of Bill Hess (1956-58) for 11th all time on the scoring chart at Penn State. He's three points behind Tom Lion (1981-84) for 11th on the all time points list, as well. Forster has 128 points, while Lion is at 131 with Hess at 134 for 10th.