Men’s Lacrosse Drops Game against Bucknell

Story posted March 29, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Julian Pritcher

Penn State men's lacrosse (4-5, 1-1 CAA) fell 9-6 at home to the Bucknell Bison (7-3, 2-0 Patriot) Tuesday evening at the Penn State Lacrosse Field. The Bison handed Penn State their fifth loss of the year as well as their fourth straight loss on their new home turf. The Bison improved their winning streak to seven games in a row.

Playing their seventh ranked opponent this season, the Nittany Lions fell into an early deficit when Bucknell attackman Billy Eisenreich drove around the right side of the cage to slip an easy goal past Penn State goaltender Austin Kaut. The Bison improved their lead with a man-up goal from sophomore Todd Heritage. Peter Burke found Heritage on the doorstep for the tally.

The following possession, Penn State responded when senior Matthew Mackrides slipped past his defender and whipped the ball inside to Gavin Ahern for the Nittany Lion’s first goal of the game. But with just four seconds remaining in the period, Bison midfielder Peter Burke recorded his second point of the game off an unassisted goal that beat Kaut low.

After recording five saves in the first quarter, Bucknell goal keeper Kyle Feeney cooled off in the second to help the Nittany Lions tie the game at four goals each heading into the half. After a leaping interception of Feeney’s clearing pass, attackman Jack Forster scored his 14th of the season making the score 3-2.

After tallies by Bison midfielder Nick Gantsoudes and Penn State’s Gavin Ahern (his second of the game), senior defenseman Ryan McGarvey tied the game at 4-4 with his first career goal. During the Penn State clear, Bison goalkeeper Kyle Feeney was out of the goal to cover a Penn State attackman. McGarvey recognized this adjustment by Bucknell and fired a shot from behind midfield for the goal.

"I just heard Coach [Jeff] Tambroni say, 'Take a peek at the net,'" said McGarvey. "I saw the goalie was far away from it, so I just took a shot."

After the half, a scoreless third quarter by the Nittany Lions blew the game wide open for Bucknell. The Bison netted three goals in the period; the first coming off a few quick passes that left junior attackman Chase Baily wide open on the crease. On the ensuing possession, Peter Burke recorded his third point of the night when he found Todd Heritage for an easy goal on the doorstep. To end the third quarter, the Penn State defense left Chase Baily all alone for another uncontested score that made the game 7-4 heading into the fourth.

Immediately following the opening draw of the final period, Bucknell’s Billy Eisenreich, who had been blanketed by the Lion’s defense all night, got his hands free and slung a pass up to midfield where Peter Burke ripped a shot past Kaut, giving him four points on the night. With an 8-4 lead the Bison sealed the victory with this goal.

Despite Matthew Mackrides’ vicious hit on Bucknell defender Mike Huffner that would lead to a Jack Forster goal, the Nittany Lions could never regain the momentum after tying the game at halftime. The teams traded a goal each until the end of the game, giving the Bucknell Bison a 9-6 victory in Happy Valley.

Despite excellent games from Danny Henneghan, who won 10 of 17 faceoffs and recorded an assist, and Steven Bogert, who scooped four ground balls and caused two turnovers, the Nittany Lions went 0-for-3 on their extra-man opportunities and lacked offensive production from their midfielders in a loss to Bucknell Tuesday night.

Shooting woes continued as well for Penn State, something that the team's head coach has taken note of.

“I wish we would have shot a little better,” said Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Maybe be a little bit more selective on our shots.”

The Penn State shooters seemed to be telegraphing many of their shots Tuesday night as Bucknell goalie Kyle Feeney dropped down low to make a majority of his 13 saves. With 29 shots on the night for Penn State, Feeney saved almost half of the Nittany Lions attempts.

The team is shooting only .225 percent on the year; something Penn State must improve to compete with Villanova this Saturday. Freshman midfielder Michael Richards stressed the importance of Penn State’s final non-conference home game.

“We just have to come back ready,” said Richards. “They are going to be a good team coming in here hungry and when we beat them that will set us back on track heading into conference play.”

Penn State will face Villanova at the Penn State Lacrosse Field this Saturday at 1 p.m. Listen to the live broadcast of the game on ComRadio.

Julian Pritcher is a sophomore majoring in Telecommunications. To contact him, email jsp5220@psu.edu