By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sunday marks the last guaranteed regular season home game for Penn State men's lacrosse's senior class. Despite the emotions that come with senior day festivities, the class of 2017 believes there are still many opportunities to make a lasting mark in the Blue and White.
Prior to the first faceoff, Nick Aponte, Tyler Chambers, Dan Craig, Matt Florence, Drake Kreinz, Billy Lombardi, Brian Prestreau, Matt Sexton, Mike Sutton, and Peter Triolo, will all be recognized for their contributions to the Nittany Lion lacrosse program.
"This group has worked really hard," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "I'm optimistic that their best is yet to come. I think if we look back at the past three and a half years, they've done some really nice things and helped change the culture of our program."
During their time as Nittany Lions, this senior class has made big strides in putting Penn State lacrosse on the map. Just last season, Penn State upset then-No. 1 Denver during a showdown in Dallas, Texas, showing the nation that the Nittany Lions are capable of playing alongside some of the most storied programs in collegiate lacrosse. That win is something senior midfielder Dan Craig said he'd never forget.
"That was a pretty cool feat that we got to accomplish," Craig said. "It was an amazing day, it was super sunny out and in a great location. It was a pretty fantastic win and I think that was our most complete game that we've played as a senior class."
This senior class also helped make history this season, helping the Nittany Lions earn their first ever No. 1 ranking earlier this month, storming out to an undefeated record in their non-conference slate. Despite these accomplishments and more, Tambroni said he feels there's so much the younger Nittany Lions can take away from this senior class that doesn't involve their winning record.
Tambroni emphasized that the underclassmen can model their compassion and drive after the 10 upperclassmen leaving the program in May, and says he's hopeful that through it all, the legacy of this class remains more than just wins and losses.
"These guys came in and a lot of these guys played in their freshman year, but they've stuck together as a class," Tambroni said. "They lost a couple of their teammates in the sophomore and junior years but they've stuck together."
Tambroni was reflective of the hardships this class has gone through also.
"They were able to adopt a class that's gone through some tough times, both in their sophomore year when we had a losing record, that was a tough season to endure, and then the following year losing a teammate," Tambroni said. "They have fought back from great adversity."
Senior midfielder Mike Sutton said he hopes that all the returners next year can take something from this senior class, including their leadership on and off the field.
"Just looking back on it, we have a lot of guys who play," Sutton said. "If they can take a little bit of it, a little piece of what we do and add it to what they do next year I think that's one of the biggest things. Just using our leadership and building off of that, I think that would be huge for them."