March 1, 2014

No. 9 Penn State takes 11-8 win at No. 18 Ohio State

by Brett Amadon | LaxMagazine.comTwitter

In-Game Blog Replay


COLUMBUS - It took nearly the entire first half, but once Penn State got rolling, there was no looking back as the Nittany Lions took down the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the 2014 Creator's Trophy Saturday inside Ohio Stadium, 11-8.

After falling behind early in the second quarter 2-1, Penn State was able to find an offensive rhythm and rattle off three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.

Opening up the second half, Penn State continued to build on its momentum, scoring three more goals in under four minutes to increase its lead to 7-2.

Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni said his team stuck to its game plan and capitalized on its chances better as the game went along.

"I thought both teams had some opportunities in the first quarter but didn't cash in," Tambroni said. "We knew this was going to be a 60 minute game. We talked to these guys about staying the course and trying to believe in what we are going to do. And eventually we were hoping we were going to break through, and I think that's what happened a little bit in that second and third quarter."

Trailing 8-4 entering the fourth quarter, Ohio State junior midfielder Jesse King scored three of his four goals in the final frame to cut the Nittany Lions' lead to 9-7.

However, that was as close as the Buckeyes would get as Penn State would add two late goals from senior attackman Shane Sturgis and senior midfielder Kyle VanThof to put the game out of reach.

Senior goaltender Austin Kaut, who made nine saves in the contest, said there was no individual who stood out among the rest, and that it took the entire team to walk away with the victory.

"It comes down to a full team effort out there," Kaut said. "Our attack rides well and that allows our defensive personnel to get on the field, and our defense played really well and gave up outside shots that I'm supposed to make saves on, and luckily today I did. It was a good game."

For Ohio State, struggles from the face-off circle showed up again as the Buckeyes won only six of 22 face-offs.

Ohio State coach Nick Myers said his team did not play the way they needed to in order to beat a quality opponent in Penn State.

"That first six or seven minutes of the second half was not Buckeye lacrosse," Myers said. "We have to play 60 minutes against a top ten team like Penn State... For us, it was the lapses in the first quarter offensively and then defensively in the third quarter that really cost us."

Tambroni said this was a big win for his program, especially being a rivalry between two future Big Ten opponents.

"We have a lot of respect for Ohio State," Tambroni said. "They have a ton of resiliency and are extremely well coached... We take stock in this because it is a rivalry game and we have a lot of respect for our rival. We are very proud to beat a very talented Ohio State team."

Offensively, Penn State was led by Sturgis, who tallied four goals and an assist, and VanThof, who registered three goals and two assists.

Sturgis' 18 goals on the season ties him with Mark Cockerton of Virginia for second in the country, trailing only Loyola's Nikko Pontrello, who has 19.

Ohio State was led offensively by King, who totaled four goals and two assists, and senior goaltender Greg Dutton, who made 12 saves.

"Greg has given us fits over the last four years," Tambroni said. "He's a tremendously talented goalie... I thought both goalies really played well and made it very difficult on both team's offenses."

Up next for both teams are tough road contests as Ohio State (1-3) travels to Hempstead, N.Y., to take on Hofstra while Penn State (3-1) heads west to take on Denver.

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