Saturday, March 22, 2014
When: 2:00 pm Eastern
Villanova Wildcats (3-5, 2-0) vs.
Penn State Nittany Lions (4-4, 0-1)
Penn State Lacrosse Field
State College, PA
TV & Livestream: Big Ten Network
This is the 20th meeting between the two schools. Penn State has the upper hand in the rivalry, with a commanding record of 16-3. The 'Cats last won back in 2011.
Nittany Lions Download
PSU has won two of their last three outings, their most recent win being a home blowout over the Michigan Wolverines by a score of 22-7.
The Nittany Lions are ranked 17th in the country, and their offensive numbers show exactly why. Penn State averages a monstrous 11.12 goals/game, while the Wildcats sit at 9.50. Shane Sturgis leads the team with 23 goals and 35 assists. Sturgis had 6 goals alone in the big win vs. Michigan. Also tops on the team in goals is TJ Sanders (19) and Kyle VanThof (8).
Penn State is a strong face-off team, just like Villanova's last opponent in the Georgetown Hoyas. They win 61.5% of their face-offs compared to `Nova's even 50%. Also, PSU gets more ground balls than their opponents, while the 'Cats allow a greater margin. Ground balls may turn out to be a key stat when this contest is over.
This is the second to last out-of-conference match for Villanova. They are 1-5 in these games, with the only win coming in a home OT win over the Drexel Dragons. Villanova has made a nice turnaround in Big East play, regardless of the much lower quality of teams.
Fun Fact about Penn State: they have a player named Tom LaCrosse!
Villanova created their first multi-game winning streak of the season by defeating the Georgetown Hoyas by a score of 13-8. The game was postponed to the next day after yet another snowfall hit the Villanova campus.
The `Cats' leading scorer is still Kevin O'Neill with 13 goals and 18 total points. Nptice the difference between PSU's leading points-grabber and Villanova's; 35 to 18! The next highest scorer is again Johnny Gallaway with 12. The Wildcats allow 10.25 goals per game, and allow a 93% clear percentage for opponents. On a positive note, their opponents have almost 20 more penalties than the Wildcats. Villanova has done an EXCELLENT job keeping penalty minutes low.
Dan Willis anchors Villanova's defense in the net. The freshman has reduced his GAA to only 9.70 and sports a 46.4% save percentage. The Wildcats' defense has a great future in this kid.