Men’s Lacrosse Upsets 12-Ranked Villanova
The 18th-ranked Penn State men's lacrosse team upset 12th-ranked Villanova in a 13-8 win at the Penn State Lacrosse Field on Saturday afternoon.
After playing to a 6-6 tie in the first half, the Nittany Lions scored seven second half goals to earn the victory. Penn State was seeking revenge after getting blown out by the Wildcats in a game last season.
"We've had one win on this field so far," said sophomore goalie Austin Kaut, who had 17 saves in his fifth win of the season. "Just to get the second win is just unbelievable. And to beat a team that beat us 17-6 last year is just a great feeling."
Kaut looked strong throughout the game, making key saves at crucial points.
The team played with enthusiasm throughout the game, something noted by Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni.
“The team was excited to compete and play against Villanova after what happened last year,” Tambroni said. “That excitement didn’t end after the first 30 minutes. They came out of the locker room in the second half just as excited.”
Senior attackman Jack Forster scored four goals to go along with one assist, while senior attackman Matthew Mackrides had three goals and two assists to lead the Nittany Lion attack. Junior midfielder Nick Dolik and sophomore attackman Shane Sturgis tallied two goals apiece.
Sturgis credited an early third quarter sequence with setting the tone of the second half.
"During halftime, Coach [Tambroni] said we need to come out big in the third quarter,” said Sturgis. “Right off the faceoff, Danny [Henneghan] went down and gave it to Gavin [Ahern]. Gavin just hammered it in. That was a big surge for us.”
Henneghan’s faceoff and dish to Ahern would lead to six straight Penn State goals, four of them coming from Mackrides and Forster.
Villanova’s leading scorer was junior attackman Will Casertano, who had three goals and one assist. Jack Rick contributed two goals as well. Senior goaltender Dan Gutierrez had six saves in the losing effort.
Tambroni was impressed with his team’s consistency in the second half of the game, which had been a problem in games against Lehigh and Bucknell.
“We just talked to them about staying the course,” he said. “I think that’s what we got away from in those other two contests.”
The Villanova win marked the last nonconference game of the season for Penn State. The team now looks ahead to the rest of its CAA schedule, which includes the likes of Drexel, Towson, Delaware and Hofstra.
“We have to work hard and hopefully get a nice spot in the CAA Tournament,” said Kaut.
The Nittany Lions have now faced eight ranked opponents on the season, going 3-5 in those games. Sturgis believes that the tough schedule has given the team confidence as it looks ahead.
“We got momentum, we got some confidence now,” he said. “We look forward to playing the conference [schedule] now.”
Penn State begins its final stretch of the season when it travels to Drexel on Saturday, April 7 to take on the Dragons. The Nittany Lions return to the Penn State Lacrosse Field on April 21, when they will take on Delaware. That 7 p.m. game will be broadcast live on ComRadio.
Chris Pierangeli is a junior majoring in Secondary Education. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Junior / Secondary Education
While pursuing my degree at Penn State, I am working on a certificate degree through the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. In addition to being a radio host and broadcaster for PSU ComRadio, I was a producer for Soccer and am currently a producer for Lacrosse. Outside of ComRadio, I am a radio show host and contributing writer for a sports website called Bob Long Sports. On campus, I am also involved with Lion Ambassadors and THON. Growing up a fan of all Philadelphia sports teams, I would enjoy being a radio show host in the Philadelphia area or the Play-by-Play broadcaster for the Philadelphia Flyers or Philadelphia Phillies.