Eighth-seeded men's lacrosse hosts Yale Saturday in NCAA first round

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The eighth-seeded and 13th-ranked Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team will look to do on Saturday what no previous Penn State team has done before: win an NCAA Tournament game. The Nittany Lions host No. 11 Yale in the NCAA First Round at Penn State Lacrosse Field on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU with a live stream on ESPN3.com and WatchESPN for mobile devices.

The winner of Saturday's Penn State-Yale contest will travel to Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. to face the winner of the Syracuse-Bryant game. SU owns the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. Yale qualified for the NCAA Tournament by winning the Ivy League Tournament for the second straight year, while Penn State earned one of eight at-large bids and its first ever seed.

TICKETS & PARKING
Tickets for all three days can be purchased in advance at the Bryce Jordan Center Ticket Office from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. all this week up until 1 p.m. on Friday, May 10. Ticket operations will open at the Penn state Lacrosse Field one hour prior to game time.

Tickets for the event are: $8 for adult, $5 for youth and students with a valid college or university ID and $4 for groups of 20 or more, any age. The first 50 Penn State students will receive free entry.

Parking for the event will be free in Lot 44. Fans can access Lot 44 by using Dauer Drive off University Drive or Porter Road. Media requests can be made to Jeremy Fallis (jeremy.fallis@psu.edu).

BAG POLICY
Penn State is continuing the enforcement of its "No Bag Policy" for all spectator events. Except for authorized personnel, no one entering the stadium will be permitted to bring in any bags, backpacks, umbrellas, footballs, strollers, purses or diaper bags.

Anyone with a medical need to carry a bag should place their medical supplies in a clear, one gallon, zip-close style plastic bag. Parents with a need to carry diapers and wipes also may place their supplies in a clear, one-gallon zip-close style plastic bag so the contents are visible.

#13 PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (12-4) vs. #11 YALE BULLDOGS (11-4)
Game 17: May 11, 2013 // 2:30 p.m. // Penn State Lacrosse Field // University Park, Pa.

GAME DAY
VENUE: Penn State Lacrosse Field (turf; 1,000)
TELEVISION COVERAGE: ESPNU / WatchESPN
TELEVISION TALENT: Joe Beninati (pxp), Stephen McElduff (analysis)
SERIES RECORD: 1-1
LAST MEETING: March 11, 2003: Yale 17-15 (at Boca Raton, Fla.)
NEXT GAME: If win, May 18 vs. Syracuse or Bryant in College Park, Md.

GAME NOTES
• Penn State hosts first NCAA Tournament game when Yale visits on Saturday
• The Nittany Lions are making their first NCAA appearance since 2005
• Last time out, Penn State fell 11-10 in CAA Final to Towson
Shane Sturgis, Steven Bogert & Danny Henneghan were named to All-Tourney team
• Yale is back-to-back Ivy League champ, beating Princeton in the Ivy Final
• The Bulldogs & Lions are 1-1 in series history, both games taking place in Florida
• Nittany Lions swept the season-end CAA awards on Thursday, May 4
Austin Kaut named Player & Defensive Player of the Year; Jeff Tambroni earned Coach of the Year; TJ Sanders named Rookie of the Year
• PSU placed six on All-CAA First Team, one on Second Team, two on All-Rookie Team
• Penn State is a perfect 11-0 when allowing less than 10 goals this season
TJ Sanders leads the team with nine hat tricks this season
Jack Forster can move into second all-time at Penn State in goals scored
• Forster is riding a 28-game point streak dating back to Mar. 3, 2012

PENN STATE (No. 8 seed)
12-4 (At-large bid)

NCAA Tournament Appearance: 3rd
NCAA Tournament Overall Record: 0-2
NCAA Tournament First Round Record: 0-2
NCAA Semifinals Appearances: 0
NCAA Championships: 0

Penn State's NCAA Tournament History
5/10/2003: at [8] Towson - L, 6-11
5/14/2005: at [3] Maryland - L, 10-14

YALE
11-4 (Ivy League Champs)

NCAA Tournament Appearance: 5th
NCAA Tournament Overall Record: 2-4
NCAA Tournament First Round Record: 1-2
NCAA Semifinals Appearances: 1
NCAA Championships: 0

Yale's NCAA Tournament History
5/18/1988 [8]: vs. Virginia - L (OT), 9-10
5/20/1990 [2]: vs. Princeton - W, 17-8
5/26/1990 [2]: vs. [3] Loyola (at Rutgers) - L, (2OT) 13-14
5/10/1992: at [8] Navy - W, 9-3
5/16/1992: at [1] Syracuse - L, 8-17
5/13/2012: at [4] Notre Dame - L, 7-13
Brackets indicate seed line

PENN STATE HOSTS FIRST NCAA GAME
The Penn State men's lacrosse program is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons as announced on the selection show televised by ESPNU on Sunday night. The Nittany Lions earned an at-large bid and a subsequent eight seed from the selection committee. PSU will host the Ivy League champion Yale Bulldogs.

The Nittany Lions were ranked in the top 10 all season in the Ratings Percentage Index, the main criteria by which the NCAA selection committee determines the 16-team field. The Nittany Lions are making their third NCAA appearance following showings in the 2003 and 2005 tournaments but the 2013 appearance will be the first time PSU has hosted an NCAA Tournament game. In 2003, Penn State fell at Towson, while in 2005 PSU lost a 14-10 contest at Maryland.

The winner of the Penn State-Yale matchup will move on to a quarterfinal at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. against the Syracuse-Bryant winner. The Orange are the overall No. 1 seed.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS

For the Yale Bulldogs (11-4), they enter the 2013 NCAA Tournament as back-to-back Ivy League Champions. Yale knocked off Princeton, 12-8, on Sunday morning to claim their second straight Ivy title. Yale is on a three-game winning streak and has won eight of its last nine with the lone loss a 8-7 game at Maryland.

The Bulldogs are led by goalie Eric Natalewho has a 7.99 goals-against average this season. Natale has stopped 135 shots for a .529 save percentage. Brandon Mangan has 60 points this season behind 35 goals and 25 assists, leading the Bulldogs in all three major offensive categories. Mangan's attack unit is helped by Conrad Oberbeck (32 goals) and Kirby Zdrill (29). Yale's faceoff game is very strong as Dylan Levings has won 193-of-318 faceoffs (60.7 percent).

The Elis earned four total representatives on the All-Ivy teams. Defender Peter Johnson was the lone Bulldog on the All-Ivy First Team, while fellow defender Mike McCormack and Mangan were second-team honorees. Zdrill was honorable mention All-Ivy as well.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. YALE
All-Time Series: 1-1
PSU Streak: 1 loss
First Meeting: 3/12/97, PSU 11-6
Last Meeting: 3/11/03, YALE 17-15
Last PSU Win: 3/12/97, 11-6
Last YALE Win: 3/11/03, 17-15
Largest PSU Win: 11-6, 3/12/97
Largest YALE Win: 17-15, 3/11/03
PSU Goals vs. YALE: 26-22
Tambroni vs. YALE: 10-0

LAST TWO MEETINGS VS. YALE
3/12/1997: W, 11-6
3/11/2003: L, 15-17
Both matchups were played in Boca Raton, Fla.

LIONS FALL IN CAA FINAL TO TOWSON
Top-seeded and ninth-ranked Nittany Lion men's lacrosse tried to overcome a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter, but the rally fell short in an 11-10 loss to Towson on Friday, May 3 in the CAA Final at Penn State Lacrosse Field. Freshman TJ Sanders tallied three goals to pace Penn State, which had its 10-game win streak come to an end. Steven Bogert, Shane Sturgis and Danny Henneghan were all named to the CAA All-Championship Team for their outstanding play in the tournament.

Towson (10-7) used a stingy defense to hold Penn State (12-4) scoreless for 27:29 between the second, third and fourth quarters. During that span, Towson turned a 6-4 deficit into a 9-6 lead with 13:19 left in the fourth quarter. The Tigers were able to hold on for their fourth CAA Championship title and first since 2005. During the 5-0 Towson run, the Tigers received two goals from Andrew Hodgson and Greg Cuccinello each, while Justin Mabus tallied another. Sanders stopped the run with 12:49 left in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 9-7.

Momentum seemed to swing in Penn State's favor, but a save by Andrew Wascavage (12 saves) started a fast break opportunity as Matthew Hughes finished Dan Livingston's dish for a 10-7 Towson lead with 6:51 remaining. Wascavage was named the championship's most outstanding player.

Penn State and Towson each traded goals again, as Sturgis netted a man-up goal with 4:31 remaining and Thomas DeNapoli scored for the Tigers with 2:33 to go. Sturgis responded 29 seconds later to get PSU within two at 11-9. The Nittany Lions won the ensuing faceoff as Nick Dolik was tripped, putting PSU on the man-up again. Penn State converted on a laser from Sanders, assisted by Gavin Ahern with 1:42 left.

Penn State won the next faceoff as well, but an open left-winged effort was saved with 49 seconds remaining as Wascavage covered up. The Tigers cleared into their attacking end, ending Penn State's comeback chance. PSU led in most of the major statistical categories: shots were 35-32, ground balls were 33-21 and faceoffs were 19-5. Henneghan picked up a game-high eight ground balls along with a season-high 19 faceoff wins. Penn State's extra-man offense was perfect, going 2-for-2, while holding Towson 0-for-2. PSU has killed off the last nine penalties over the past four games.

PENN STATE SWEEPS CAA AWARDS
Penn State swept the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association season awards on Thursday, May 2, taking each individual honor and placing six Nittany Lions on the All-CAA First Team. In all, nine members of the Nittany Lion lacrosse squad earned recognition by the league in a vote conducted by the coaches. Penn State placed six members on the All-CAA First Team, one on the second team and two on the rookie squad.

PENN STATE ALL-CAA HONORS
Coach of the Year: Jeff Tambroni
Player of the Year: Austin Kaut
Defensive Player of the Year: Austin Kaut
Rookie of the Year: TJ Sanders
All-CAA First Team: Jack Forster, Tom LaCrosse, Steven Bogert, Danny Henneghan, Tyler Travis, Austin Kaut
All-CAA Second Team: TJ Sanders
All-CAA Rookie Team: James Burke, TJ Sanders

NITTANY LIONS SCRAPE BY UMASS
Shane Sturgis tallied five points as top-seeded Nittany Lion men's lacrosse topped fourth-seeded UMass, 10-7, on Wednesday, May 1 at Penn State Lacrosse Field. PSU used a 5-0 run over the third and fourth quarters to overcome the Minutemen. The win was Penn State's 10th straight and first in the postseason, advancing to the CAA Final.

Penn State's offense was led by Sturgis who recorded four goals and an assist. Jack Forster and TJ Sanders tallied two goals each while Tom LaCrosse added a goal and an assist and Kyle Zittel added a goal. Austin Kaut finished with 11 saves on the day and improved his record to 12-3 for the season. Long-stick middie Steven Bogert asserted his authority all day, forcing five Minutemen turnovers and picking up a game-high seven ground balls.

WIN STREAK HISTORY
Penn State rattled off the most consecutive wins in NCAA Division I this season with a 10-game streak from March 16 to May 1. The 10-game streak is the longest single-season win streak in PSU history and was just one off the all-time mark. The 1991-92 teams strung together an 11-game win streak from April 20, 1991-April 11, 1992.

TEAM HISTORY AT STAKE
The Nittany Lions are having one of the finest seasons in the storied history of the program. Penn State set a program record on Wednesday, May 1 with its 12th win of the season. Over the past two seasons, Penn State has won 21 games, tying the program's most wins in a two-season span (1995-96).

Moreover, Penn State earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2005. This season is already the longest in school history with 16 games played. Saturday's contest against Yale will be game No. 17.

THE POWER OF 10
Penn State's success has revolved around the number 10: as in goals scored and goals allowed. When Penn State has tallied 10 or more goals the Nittany Lions are 10-2. More importantly, when PSU allows less than 10 goals, Penn State is an unblemished 11-0. All four losses have come when allowing at least 10 goals and only once has Penn State yielded a victory (15-12 vs. Denver on Feb. 19).

CLIMBING UP THE LEADERBOARD
Three Nittany Lions­--Jack Forster, Danny Henneghan and Austin Kaut--are heading into or already in the Penn State record books. Forster is third all-time in goals (103) and is on pace to finish second, needing 105 career goals. On the points list, Forster (147) is sixth. For Henneghan, he currently ranks sixth all-time in faceoff winning percentage (.536) and sits on 219 career ground balls, good for 10th all-time at PSU. Henneghan's next faceoff win will be his 500th, becoming one of only two Nittany Lions to win 500 or more (Greg Gurenlian, 508). In net, Kaut ranks sixth all-time in saves with 525, good for sixth. The records can be found on pages 20-22.

DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Penn State's offense has improved mightily in 2013 with the attacking trio of Jack Forster (56 points) TJ Sanders (47), and Shane Sturgis (43). Penn State is averaging 10.69 goals per game this season with a shooting percentage of .299. Last season, the Nittany Lions scored just 8.73 goals per game and post a percentage of .258. Also, assists, points, shots and ground balls per game are improved from 2012.

HAT TRICK HEROES
Shane Sturgis broke out of a two-game scoring slump to pour in four goals against UMass on Wednesday, May 1 tallying his sixth career hat trick. TJ Sanders's three-goal showing vs. Towson in the CAA Final was his ninth hat trick of the season. Jack Forster posted a five-goal game against Hofstra, his sixth hat trick of the season and 13th of his career, while Steve Aitken scored his first career goals at Hofstra to earn himself a spot on the hat trick leaderboard. Tom LaCrosse has two hat tricks this season, bringing his career total to four. Nick Dolik tallied his third career hat trick on Tuesday, March 19 at Binghamton.

Jack Forster: 13
TJ Sanders: 9
Shane Sturgis: 6
Tom LaCrosse: 4
Nick Dolik: 3
Gavin Ahern: 2
Steve Aitken: 1
Kyle VanThof: 1

FORSTER'S STREAKING
Penn State's attack has Jack Forster with a 28-game streak, which started on March 3, 2012 against Ohio State. Forster has tallied 87 points on 62 goals and 25 assists.

NITTANY LIONS ON TV
Saturday's game will be Penn State's fourth widely distributed TV game of the year and third national broadcast. PSU played Denver (Feb. 17) on NBC Sports Network, Lehigh (March 9) on ESPN3.com, Towson (April 13) on Big Ten Network and now Yale (May 11) on ESPNU. Penn State is 2-0 in nationally televised games this season.

The Nittany Lions also had games on regional carriers against UMass (CBS 3 Now in New England), Hofstra (Verizon Fios1 on Long Island, tape delayed) as well as the CAA Final vs. Towson (WHVL in Central Pennsylvania, tape delayed).

LIGHTS KAUT
A preseason All-American and one of just 25 Tewaaraton Award nominees, junior Austin Kaut is considered one of the best goalkeepers in college lacrosse. Following an average start to year three in Happy Valley, Kaut stepped up his game. In the next 10 outings, he posted a 5.46 GAA and a .704 save percentage, allowing just 53 goals and saving 126 shots. Kaut stopped at least nine shots in each game and has 13 or more saves in five of those contests. Unfortunately, Kaut's run of good play came to an end with a seven-save performance in a loss to Towson on May 3. Penn State started the season 2-3, but is 10-0 since. Kaut opened the season with a 9.79 GAA and .490 save percentage behind 48 saves and 50 goals allowed.

KAUT NAMED TEWAARATON NOMINEE
Goalkeeper Austin Kaut was one of 25 nominees named on Friday, April 26, for the Tewaaraton Award. The award honors the best player in NCAA lacrosse across all divisions. Kaut was also a nominee for the prestigious award in 2012.

RUNNING THE GAUNTLET
Penn State finished a stretch of five games from Feb. 9-March 16 against USILA ranked opponents as PSU went 2-3. After a March 26 win at Bucknell, Penn State's record improved to 3-3, including 2-1 against top 10 teams. On April 6, Penn State downed 12th-ranked Drexel to improve to 4-3 in games against ranked foes. According to the NCAA RPI released May 5, Penn State has faced the eighth-toughest schedule when counting the top 10 opponents, facing an average opponent ranking of 14.0 in the NCAA RPI. This week's opponent, Yale, was rated 7th in the RPI with a strength of schedule at 15.6, good for 15th.

ROAD WINNING STREAK
With the win at Hofstra, Penn State has ticked off a school-record 12 straight true road wins. This season Penn State is 7-0 on the road after going 5-0 in 2012. The Lions' last road loss was Apr. 30, 2011 at Hofstra. Penn State has won 14 of its last 15 true road games.

Of the 14 regular-season contests, Penn State was home for just five of them, making the Nittany Lions one of the most road tested teams in the country. In total, seven games were true road contests along with two neutral site games. Penn State is 9-1 away from Happy Valley this season.

NEXT TIME OUT
Whoever wins Saturday's game will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals held Monday, May 18 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. to face either No. 1 seed Syracuse or Bryant. Game time will either 12:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app. 

 

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Last Updated May 09, 2013