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MLAX: Back of the Net – Mar. 3

Mar 3, 2014, 9:49 PM EST

CAA Men’s Lacrosse squads posted a combined 7-1 record last week, including Hofstra and then-No. 9 ranked Penn State picking up wins over nationally-ranked opponents. The Pride, who went 2-0 on the week, defeated future CAA member #19 Fairfield, while Penn State downed #19 Ohio State.

Helping these teams to these records were this week’s CAA Players and Rookie of the Week.  Delaware sophomore goalkeeper Conor Peaks helped the Blue Hens to a 11-9 victory over Villanova. He posted a career-high 16 saves as UD shut down the Wildcats, who were receiving votes last week in the polls. Penn State senior midfielder Kyle VanThof joined Peaks in earning CAA Player of the Week honors after helping the Nittany Lions earn a 11-8 road victory over No. 19 Ohio State. VanThof tallied five points on three goals and two assists for a career-high five points. Hofstra freshman attack Brier Davis picked up the CAA Rookie of the Week honor after netting five goals on just nine tries in HU’s two victories last week. He scored his first collegiate hat-trick in the Pride’s 9-8 OT win over Georgetown. Read all about these student-athlete’s honors in the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Weekly Report.

The new rankings came out today and three CAA MLAX teams were ranked… Penn State earned their highest ranking ever in the program’s history as they received No. 7 in both the USILA and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media Polls. Massachusetts, who extended its unbeaten record to four games, were ranked No. 9 in the USILA and Drexel followed at No. 17. Hofstra received votes in both polls, while Delaware also received votes in the Warrior poll.

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If you missed it last week, five CAA student-athletes were named to the 2014 Tewaaraton Watch List.  Penn State’s Shane Sturgis and Austin Kaut were joined by Drexel’s Ben McIntosh, Hofstra’s Sam Llinares and Towson’s Thomas DeNapoli as five of 50 student-athletes on the list for college lacrosse’s top award.

The CAA groups are making their marks among the Division I leaders in the stat rankings. Penn State’s Shane Sturgis is averaging 4.5 goals per game, just four games into the season, to lead the nation in scoring. UMass’ Nick Mariano follows with 3.5 gpg in four outings and is ranked ninth among the DI leaders. Drexel’s Nick Saputo leads the nation in ground balls with 9.75 per contest. UMass’ Zach Oliveri is the league’s top goalkeeper early in the season with a 5.35 goal against average (2nd in the nation), .682 save percentage (3rd in the nation) and is making 11.25 saves per game (2nd in the CAA). Full CAA teams and individuals in the national rankings of listed on page 5 of the CAA MLAX Weekly Report.