Lacrosse Tops Towson on Senior Day

Story posted April 13, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Pat White

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Penn State men’s lacrosse (9-3, 4-0 CAA) celebrated its senior day, but it was a freshman that stole the show in the Nittany Lions 10-8 victory against Towson.

TJ Sanders scored five goals to boost his total to 33 as the attack unit combined for eight of Penn State’s 10 goals. Shane Sturgis added a pair and Jack Forster scored an incredible no-look, circus goal in the fourth quarter.

Forster celebrated his senior day with a little bit of flash on his 27th goal of the season. Sanders had a front row seat to the incredible effort by his teammate.

“I saw him back the guy down and I thought he was going to shoot it lefty,” Sanders said. But he spun and ripped it righty and it went under the goalie’s arm. He placed it nice even though he wasn’t looking.”

Coach Jeff Tambroni applauded the attack’s effort in carrying the offense against the Tigers. In particular, he thought Sanders was opportunistic when his teammates fed him the ball.

“All of TJ’s shots were all within his range and I think he did a good job of maximizing his shot opportunities,” Tambroni said. “He made a lot of bad offence look good with a couple of shots that he took. We need to do a better job around him, but thankfully TJ was on today and carried our offense.”

Penn State faced an early 2-1 deficit heading into the second quarter before Sanders scored his second goal of the game to nod the game. Towson would retake the lead on Andrew Hodgson’s 16th goal of the season.

From there, Sturgis and Sanders scored within 1:16 span to give the Nittany Lions the 4-3 lead heading into halftime. It was an evenly-played first half by both teams, each taking 17 shots, winning four faceoffs, corralling five groundballs and executing five clears.

Penn State came out on a mission with a strong third quarter, something the Nittany Lions have done all season.  Sturgis lit the lamp at 9:30 and Nick Dolik continued his recent tear with a goal less than a minute later. Austin Kaut had a quiet third stanza, only facing five shots, but Justin Mabus made the most of his opportunity with his 16th goal of the season.

Kaut said the defense came up huge as a unit and it was a team effort slowing down the Towson offense.

“Our defense played really well today,” Kaut said. Our attack rode well which doesn’t show up on the score sheet, but when the attack rides well we can get our defensive personnel on the field and it looks better on our defense.”

Sanders came right back with his fourth goal on the day on a nice top-right rip to extend the lead. Tom LaCrosse got into the scoring action with a swift crank shot from the left wing. Forster dished out three assists in the quarter, and extended his point streak to 24 games. Greg Cuccinello kept the game in reach with a goal at 1:35 to cut the deficit to 8-5 heading into the fourth quarter.

Mabus struck again at 11:52 on a man-up opportunity to give Towson life and cut the lead to 8-6. The two teams traded blows in a 1:45 span on Forster’s circus goal and Thomas DeNapoli’s 30th of the season.

The scoring pace slowed down for a 8:36 stretch in the fourth. Sanders added an insurance goal with 1:31 left in the game, but Hodgson struck again 19 seconds later. Senior Drew Roper made a key interception as the clock ticked down to ensure the Penn State 10-8 victory.

Kaut said that the team expects Sanders to come up with big plays every game.

“We expect it from him from now on,” Kaut said of Sanders. “He works hard every day and he’s great off the ball. He’s playing like a real mature freshman.”

Tamboni was happy that his seniors contributed in their final home game and could celebrate with a win.

“I’m very proud of our seniors,” Tambroni said. “They’ve been through a lot with a coaching change, we’ve got injuries, transfers. We have a little of everything with this senior class. We were thankful to come away with a win in the last regular season home game.”

Despite the big day from Sanders, he was quick to deflect the attention to the senior. The freshman knows how important seniors are to winning lacrosse teams.

“Every team that wants to do something special in a season needs great senior leadership,” Sanders said. “That’s what we have so we have to keep working away.”

Penn State takes its 4-0 CAA record to Delaware next week for a matchup with the Blue Hens. Kaut said that as long as the team prepares well they will be continue the winning ways down the stretch.

“We have to keep this winning streak going,” Kaut said. “It’s all about preparing well during the week and then we’ll be prepared on weekends.”

Pat White is a senior majoring in Print Journalism. To contact him, email