By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the roars from THON echoed alongside silently falling snow, Penn State men's lacrosse remained focused, dominating Stony Brook,15-8, Saturday. Playing outside for the first time during the regular season, the Nittany Lions relied on strong performances from juniors Kevin Hill and Kevin Fox to spark the win.
"It was fun," Hill said. "Just going out here with the guys and playing outside - defending our own turf is always what we are trying to do so it was a lot of fun. A little snowstorm, but it was fun playing in it for sure."
Penn State quickly made a statement, finding the back of the net three times within 63 seconds of the game's starting whistle. Both Hill and Fox were crucial offensive weapons in creating those opportunities.
Off of sophomore Gerard Arceri's face off win, Fox shot a dagger into the back of the net within the first 10 seconds of play. As Fox replaced sophomore Nick Cardile in this weekend's matchup, he stepped up to cement his first goal of the 2018 slate, setting the tone for the game.
"I thought Kevin played really well today," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "I thought he played with a lot of energy. Kevin was our starter earlier in the year and then kind of got bumped out but he came back today."
Sophomore Mac O'Keefe's dime to the upper right corner came almost immediately after to put the Nittany Lions up 2-0.
In similar fashion to his teammates, Hill made quick work of the Seawolves' defense, notching the third goal for Penn State with 13:57 still remaining in the first quarter.
"I thought Kevin was probably our main focus on the offensive end," Tambroni said. "He seemed to be the guy with the most confidence, the most conviction. He wanted to be the guy taking over in the offensive end and I think he got off to a good start."
Hill maintained his momentum throughout the entirety of play, even as the snow began to pick up. With three seconds left in the first half, Hill dashed up the field to put another dent in Stony Brook's game plan. Penn State went into the intermission leading 8-4.
"It was very critical we came out here today just trying to keep it simple. Really, that was the game plan," Hill said. "We came out with a lot of energy today. We played a good Stony Brook team so we just wanted to come out fast as best we could."
Scoring his ninth goal of the season and fourth of the day, Hill helped motivate his teammates to push beyond the weather and the Seawolves in the second half.
"You know coming out of the second half we talked to our guys about being a little more confident with the ball in the stick," Tambroni said. "He seemed like he was demanding the ball. He really wanted it in his stick. I think he really pushed us into the second half with that goal he had in the third quarter. I think Kevin was a guy that just continues to be very poised and very level-headed and had another nice game today."
Beyond Hill and Fox, the Blue and White rallied around their faceoff unit, led by the dynamic efforts of Arceri. Arceri went 20-for-27 from the faceoff x and found the net for the first time this season.
"That was a big emphasis the whole week, the faceoff unit, I think we did a good job today," Hill said.
Having proved pivotal last week, Tambroni was again pleased with the Nittany Lion faceoff unit.
"I thought our faceoff unit in general was just crucial throughout the entire day," Tambroni said. "I think Stony Brook did well on both ends of the field but we just dominated possessions and when things started to slip away, Gerard did a great job in that third and fourth quarter of bringing it back it back."
Arceri's dominance also played a major hand in the string of goals the Nittany Lions rattled off in the first quarter.
"Not only was he getting
possessions, but they were involved in probably four goals today," Tambroni
said. "They made us feel a lot better than we should have felt throughout the