Lehigh vs. Penn State
March 9, 2013
The Game Story:
CHESTER, Pa. - No. 13 Penn State men's lacrosse dug itself a four-goal halftime deficit, went on a big 8-2 run, but eventually lost to No. 19 Lehigh, 11-9, on Saturday night in front of 5,212 at PPL Park. TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) scored five goals during the 8-2 spurt to take a 9-7 lead. Lehigh finished the game on a 5-0 run to win their second straight contest over the Nittany Lions.

Down 5-1 after two periods, Penn State (2-3) out-scored Lehigh (4-3) 5-1 in the third period and stretched the run to 8-2 and give Penn State a 9-7 lead. Nevertheless, Lehigh shot back with five straight goals en route to the 12-10 win. Dante Fantoni and Patrick Corbett each had hat tricks for the Mountain Hawks.

The momentum turned in the third period as Sanders scored two quick-fire goals in a span of 45 seconds, cutting Lehigh's lead to 5-3 with 12:16 remaining in the third. Lehigh pushed the lead back to three, three minutes later, but Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) scored with 7:39 left, a man-up goal from Matt Sexton (Niskayuna, N.Y.) as LU led 6-4. Forster made it 6-5 with 3:50 left off a feed from Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.).

Penn State would knot the game at six on a beautiful goal from Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.), who threw it over Poillon's head with 18 seconds remaining. The play broke down when Sexton lost the ball on the left wing, Forster picked it up, tossed it over the defense to Sanders. Sanders faked the shot, fed a streaking Sturgis who cut across the crease for the goal.

Sanders continued the run in the fourth with a man-up goal from Sexton 30 seconds into the frame, taking the first lead of the second half. The lead doubled on the faceoff as Sanders scored seven seconds later.

Lehigh's Kyle Steifel cut the lead to 8-7 Penn State, but Sanders extended it back to a two-goal margin on the ensuing faceoff. Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) controlled the faceoff and sent a dime to Sanders on the right wing for the freshman's fifth goal of the evening, a copycat play from two minutes earlier.

The good times halted there for Penn State as Lehigh scored the next give goals. Corbett and Fantoni tied the game with 9:15 remaining and Cody Ferraro put the Hawks up one with 6:47 remaining on an extra-man opportunity. Corbett doubled that lead to 11-9 with 5:02 remaining and Corbett finished off his fourth-quarter hat trick with 3:19 left for the 12-9 lead. Sturgis scored his second the game with three seconds remaining for the final score line.

For Sanders, it was his second straight game with five goals following last week's game vs. Ohio State. Sanders has scored at least three goals in four of his five outings and four goals three times in his young career. His six points were a career high. Forster and Sturgis each pitched in with three points on two goals and a helper.

Penn State won most of the major offensive categories led by Henneghan's sterling play at the faceoff X, going 17-for-24, which included winning 16 of the game's first 20 faceoffs. Henneghan had five ground balls and Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) picked up six.

Penn State won the ground ball war, 31-20, and cleared at a 20-for-22 clip. Also, the Lions were 3-for-5 on the man-up, scoring as many extra-man goals on Saturday night as they had coming into the contest. PSU netminder Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) made seven saves, while Poillon made 11, eight of which came in the opening half.

Erik Myers (Del Mar, Calif.) scored his first of the year, slipping around the crease and floating a shot over LU netminder Matt Poillon with 7:22 remaining in the first period. The play was set up by a Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) strip of Kurtis Kaunas as the Lehigh midfielder lined up for a shot. Lehigh answered with three straight goals; two from Dante Fantoni and one from Alan Henderson to take a 3-1 lead after a period of play.

Lehigh extended the lead to three goals, 4-1, on an Alex Drake strike from the left wing with 10:29 remaining in the second. The Mountain Hawks made it a 5-0 run when Dan Taylor flippd a goal behind his back with five minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The difference early on was the play of Poillon, who made eight saves in the first two periods. Penn State won six-of-eight faceoffs, but Lehigh out-shot the Nittany Lions 17-13. The Mountain Hawks committed 12 turnovers to PSU's eight.

Penn State opens CAA play next week at Massachusetts. The faceoff is set for 12:00 pm. in Amherst, Mass.