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Nittany Lions Shifting Focus Inward

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By Erin Neri, student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Regrouping after a tough weekend, Penn State men's lacrosse is staying positive and preparing for its next four games on the road.

After watching film and taking time to process the outcome of the weekend, there's no reason to hit the panic button just yet. With plenty of lacrosse left to play, the Nittany Lions are using the early loss as motivation headed into another week of the season.

"One loss does not define us," junior defenseman Chris Sabia said. "It was just a bump in the road and that's how we're looking at it. We're definitely going to get way better from this and in the long run, I think this will help us." 

Every Monday the coaching staff meets with the team to reflect on their individual performances from the weekend. During this week's session, the Nittany Lions were eager to add to the conversation and bring focus to the areas they feel they need to improve upon.

"There were several decent plays that were made throughout the course of the game, we just didn't connect enough of them," Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "It was tough. When we talked to our guys about things that needed to be worked on, plenty of hands went up, so it was nice to see our guys have a decent understanding about what needs to be done this week." 

Although the team fell short executing plays successfully throughout the game, one positive to emerge was their consistent level of hard work. Throughout several momentum shifts, the Nittany Lions refused to give up or deviate from their style of blue collar lacrosse.

Outside of an unfavorable result, Penn State also expects a higher standard of play. The Nittany Lions recognize the need to do more on the field if they want to achieve success.

"I really like this group of young men," Tambroni said. "I do believe they care and give an effort every game, but we have to execute. Collectively, we have to do better."

In this week's preparation, Penn State is focusing its attention inward, solving internal problems before looking at their opponent's game. However, Tambroni noted these complications are not only individually based.

"We're in this together and I think that needs to be more the direction that our program travels moving forward," Tambroni said. "I felt like there wasn't a lot of passion and the jersey deserves better than that. The jersey is ours for now, so we need to collaborate better and compete and play with a little more purpose."

With last week in the past, Penn State will hit the road to take on a team that's fresh off a bigtime upset win.

The Nittany Lions travel to Philadelphia to meet Penn Saturday. Penn State will meet the Quakers fresh off their 10-9 win against top-ranked Duke last weekend. To match a team with all kinds of momentum, the Nittany Lions will need to key in on their mental toughness and confidence.

"Mindset is important," Tambroni said. "We have to start with ourselves, we have to start with our own psyche and we have to start with our own mentality." 

For the Nittany Lions, Penn presents a new opportunity to rise to the occasion and reassert what they've worked hard for during the offseason.

"I think it makes it even better for us because now we can show people that what they saw last weekend wasn't us and makeup for all the mistakes we made," Sabia said. "So, we're very excited."

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