Sanders, Kaut Lead No. 12 Penn State by Dartmouth

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Sophomore TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) scored four goals and senior Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) saved 13 shots as the No. 12 Nittany Lions defeated Dartmouth, 10-6, Tuesday evening at Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Penn State (4-3, 0-1 CAA) broke open a 4-4 deadlock by scoring six of the next seven goals in the second half to run away from the Big Green (1-3, 0-0 Ivy League). Crucial to PSU's victory was a strong third quarter where Penn State out-scored Dartmouth 4-1 behind a 10-4 margin in shots and a 15-7 edge in ground balls. Sanders scored all four of his goals during the decisive 6-1 run.

The Nittany Lions spread the scoring among seven with Dan Craig (Shelburne, Ont.), Kyle Baier (Auburn, N.Y.), Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Michael Richards (Skaneatles, N.Y.), Tommy O'Neill (Shamong, N.Y.) and Drake Kreinz (Delafield, Wis.) scoring one goal apiece.

Penn State's balanced offense filtered into the passing game as seven of its 10 goals came off assists. Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) was held scoreless for the first time all season, but helped on two goals, while Nick Aponte (West Islip, N.Y.), Erik Myers (Del Mar, Calif.), Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.), Brian Prestreau (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and Craig each pitched in with an assist.

Sanders made the game 6-4 on back-to-back goals from Aponte and Myers with just 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Penn State's Cole Yeager (Radnor, Pa.) won the ensuing faceoff and Baier slipped a low shot past Dartmouth's Blair Friedensohn (seven saves) for a 7-4 lead at the end of three quarters.

Sanders completed the hat trick 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to briefly double up Dartmouth, 8-4 on a quick feed from Prestreau. Wiley Osborne brought Dartmouth within three goals a minute later, but Sanders answered right back with 11 minutes to go and restore Penn State's four-goal lead, 9-5.

Ahern's man-up goal from Craig cemented Penn State's victory with 7:42 remaining as the Nittany Lions gathered their largest lead of the game at 10-5.

The Penn State defense turned in its best game of the season by allowing a season-low six goals on 39 shots. Key to that defensive performance was that of Kaut who matched a season-high 13 stops (Notre Dame, Feb. 22) Tuesday evening. Kaut saved four shots in the first period, two each in the second and third quarters and fifth in the final quarter to shut the door on the Big Green.

In front of Kaut featured strong performances from James Burke (Duxbury, Mass.), Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.), Kessler Brown (Springfield, Va.), JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.) and Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.). Burke picked up a career-high five ground balls as the unit forced 12 of Dartmouth's 17 turnovers as Bogert and Brown each earned two caused turnovers.

Penn State opened the game with a goal just six seconds after the opening whistle when Kreinz took the faceoff and scored his second of the season. Dartmouth took a 2-1 lead on back-to-back strikes from KC Beard and Mike Olentine with 12:37 to go in the first quarter.

Richards scored his first goal of the season from Sturgis on a broken defensive play that caught Friedensohn out of position and the two teams entered the second quarter tied at one.

Craig would give the Nittany Lions a 3-2 lead that would last for nearly 10 minutes until Olentine evened the score with 2:40 left in the half and force a tie game entering halftime.

O'Neill's first goal of the season came in transition from Sturgis nearly three minutes into the quarter before Jibran Ahmad's strike tied the game for the fourth time with 9:22 before Penn State's 6-1 run. Sturgis's two assists gave him 142 career points as he moved to ninth all-time at Penn State, one point behind Chris Lehman (1990-93).

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