Top-seeded Penn State Holds Off No. 4 UMass for First CAA Championship Victory, 10-7
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (May 1, 2013) – Shane Sturgis recorded five points to lead top-seeded and 9th-ranked Penn State to a 10-7 victory over fourth-seeded Massachusetts in the 2013 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship opening semifinal Wednesday afternoon at Penn State Lacrosse Field. The Nittany Lions extended their winning streak to 10 and advanced to the CAA title game with a 12-3 overall record. The Minutemen fell to 7-8.
Sturgis led PSU’s offense with 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 scored for the Nittany Lions as well. In the goal, Austin Kaut finished the game with 11 saves and improved to 12-3 for the season.
UMass was led by Grant Whiteway and Will Manny as they each recorded three points apiece on the day. Whiteway produced a hat trick for the Minutemen with three goals, while Manny scored one goal and added two assists, including his 200th career point.
Penn State opened the scoring just 56 seconds into the game as Lacrosse notched his 23rd goal of the season, putting it past UMass goalie Zach Oliveri, who tallied 10 saves on the day. Forster got the ball in front of the net a minute and a half later and bounced it past Oliveri to put PSU up 2-0 just 2:23 into the contest.
UMass’ Kyle Smith scored off of a feed from Manny with 9:12 left in the first stanza and then Whiteway and Manny teamed up at the 6:33 mark of the second quarter to tie the game up 2-2. Penn State was able to score one more goal in the period before the Minutemen added back-to-back goals within a minute of each other to take a 4-3 lead into the half.
Sturgis opened the second half up with back-to-back goals to help the Nittany Lions regain the lead, 5-4, before UMass got goals from Connor Mooney and Whiteway to regain a 6-5 advantage. Sturgis then completed his hat trick all in the third quarter at the 1:31 mark to tie the game, 6-6.
Sturgis’ final third quarter goal started a 5-0 run for the Nittany Lions to finish out the game, allowing just one UMass goal with 4:33 to go in regulation, 10-7. Sanders scored two of PSU’s four goals in the fourth quarter.
Penn State outshot UMass 41-38 and won the ground ball battle 31-24. Steven Bogart led the Nittany Lions defensive efforts grabbing a game-high seven ground balls and recorded a career-high five caused turnovers. PSU’s defense caused 10 of UMass’ 13 turnovers, while PSU committed 10 turnovers.
The Minutemen won the faceoffs, 13-8, but PSU’s Danny Henneghan went 4-for-6 in the third quarter when the momentum shifted for the Nittany Lions. Kaut and Sturgis notched four ground balls apiece for Penn State, while Joe Cavello and Brett Tobin each tallied four for UMass. UMass went 0-for-3 on man-up situations, while PSU finished 1-for-3 in extra-man chances.
Penn State advances to the title contest and will host third-seeded Towson, which defeated No. 2 Drexel, 11-8. The championship game will be played on Friday, May 3 at 3 p.m., and the top-seeded Nittany Lions look for their first postseason title, while Towson is in search for its fourth and first since 2005.