Recently in All-Sports Blog Category

2015 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Rutgers

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live, interactive coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions are slated to collide against Rutgers under the lights inside Beaver Stadium for the Big Ten opener. Follow along for live updates from gameday.

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Rutgers

2015 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Rutgers

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions are slated to collide against Rutgers under the lights inside Beaver Stadium for the Big Ten opener. Follow along for photos from gameday.


Balance, Depth Fuel Lions in Dominant Big Ten Opener

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

11330414.jpegBy Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's soccer team had found itself in a multitude of close games in the past few weeks. On Thursday night, that wasn't the case.

After a huge weekend on the west coast, the Nittany Lions kept the momentum going with a resounding 4-0 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in their Big Ten opener.

Penn State (6-1-1) has now won three straight matches, including a monumental victory over the second-ranked Stanford Cardinal last Friday. Goalie Britt Eckerstrom and the defensive unit has held their opponents scoreless in each of those games.

"Everybody in the stadium looks at that scoreboard and sees four, and our team needs to look at it and see zero," head coach Erica Walsh said. "We've had a couple of shutouts in a row now against really good teams. To put four balls in the back of the net is fantastic, but to continue to shut these good teams out is probably even more important."

The young back line didn't just make their presence felt on the defensive side of the ball. Freshman Ellie Jean and redshirt sophomore Brittany Basinger were constantly attacking from their outside positions, which placed added pressure on a shaky Wisconsin defense.

In the 28th minute, Jean made a strong move from the right sideline to blow by two defenders and sent a low cross to the middle of the box. Senior captain Mallory Weber was right there for the one-time finish to the corner of the net to open the scoring for the Blue and White. Weber's fifth goal of the season gives her the team lead.

"We're pretty instinctive, so I knew she was going to be there," Jean said. "That's pretty much her spot. We've scored like that before so I know she's there and trust her to get there."

"I think a big part of our game is getting those guys into the attack," said Walsh. "When they're not able to do so, things fail a little bit like they did against West Virginia. I think both Bassinger and Ellie Jean were a big part of our attack tonight."

The match progressed quietly throughout the first half and into the second, but the Badgers began to show signs of fatigue as the time went on. Luckily for the Nittany Lions, their deep bench created a mismatch for the tired back line of Wisconsin.

In the 56th minute, freshman Charlotte Williams entered the game for Frannie Crouse and immediately made her presence felt. Three minutes after stepping between the lines, Williams did her best Ellie Jean impression and found Megan Schafer in the middle of the box for a goal in a near identical play.

Shortly after, Marissa Sheva was called to action from the bench and got to work right away. In the 75th
 minute, Sheva made a run to the left half of the box, received a beautiful through ball from Raquel Rodriguez in between three defenders, and finished near-post to increase the lead to 3-0. It was the freshman's first goal of her career.

Six minutes later, the Nittany Lions put the finishing touches on. Williams found herself wide open on the right half after a defensive miscue and notched her second assist of the game with a perfect, high-arching cross that Crouse headed past the keeper with ease.

"Charlotte Williams gave us a huge bump," Walsh said. "All these guys off the bench I thought were good tonight. I keep talking about being 26 strong and I think we really saw it tonight."

"Depending on what team we play, we play a different format," said Williams. "I think it doesn't make a huge difference if you're starting or coming off the bench. If you're coming off the bench you're trying to change the game and impact it."

A total of 20 Penn State players saw the field Thursday night. The bench amassed five shots and two assists on the night, both courtesy of Williams.

"In my nine years, this is the deepest we've been," said Walsh. "To be honest, as a coaching staff we're still trying to figure out how to use them all and that's a great problem to have. Different days, different players are more effective against different opponents so we have to be smart enough to figure out how to use them."

The Nittany Lions will be back at Jeffery Field Sunday for a Big Ten showdown with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Penn State defeated Minnesota 1-0 in Minneapolis last year.

2015 Gameday - Nittany Lions Host Rutgers Under the Lights

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Gameday Central | Game Notes | Game Blog | Press Conference Roundup | Lions in NFL

Coach Franklin Wednesday | Herb Hand Q&A | Stripe Out Color Locator

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State begin its 23rd season in the Big Ten on Saturday when it faces off against Rutgers in a primetime battle inside Beaver Stadium.

11329634.jpegThe Nittany Lions (1-1, 0-0) and Scarlet Knights (1-1, 0-0) will contest the inaugural game of the Big Ten's 120th season when the two teams collide for an 8 p.m. kick on BTN.

The first Penn State Stripe Out in Beaver Stadium will take place when the Nittany Lions face take the field on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to visit PennStateStripeOut.com to confirm whether they should wear blue or white for the game. Penn State students are asked to wear white for the game against Rutgers.

"We are really, really excited about the stripe out," said head coach James Franklin. "The white out here has been embraced here for a long time, been a cool thing. We take a lot of pride in our colors, blue and white. What a better way to show that than stripe the stadium out, show that. This could be another tradition at Penn State that people get really excited bout and have fun with. It's going to look great on TV on the Big Ten TV network. We're excited. Should be a packed house, a great environment."

The Nittany Lions enter the game following a 27-14 victory over Buffalo in the home opener. Behind big plays in all three phases of the game, the Lions powered past the Bulls for their 47th home-opening victory in 56 tries in Beaver Stadium.

Senior defensive end Carl Nassib continued his tremendous start to the 2015 season with a dominant performance for the Nittany Lion defense. Nassib tallied three sacks, forced two fumbles and hauled in an interception. Collectively, the Nittany Lions made six sacks in the victory.

Offensively, true freshman Saquon Barkley became the first Nittany Lion true freshman to tally 100 rushing yards in a game in five seasons. Barkley finished with 115 yards and a touchdown. Fellow true freshman Brandon Polk also scored, marking the first time a pair of true freshman scored in a game since Derrick Williams and Justin King accomplished the feat in 2005. The Nittany Lions finished the day with 200 rushing yards.

Rutgers enters the game following a narrow 37-34 setback to Washington State last week. The Scarlet Knights have averaged 48.5 points and 470.5 yards of total offense during the first two games of the season.

In a series that dates back to 1918, Penn State and Rutgers have played 25 times prior to this week's matchup. The Nittany Lions own a 23-2 mark in the series and a 13-2 record in home games against the Scarlet Knights. Saturday will mark the second meeting as members of the Big Ten. Penn State scored a 13-10 victory at Rutgers last season.

The Big Ten season is here.  Welcome to the gameday preview for the first Penn State Stripe Out - Penn State vs. Rutgers.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
11329625.jpeg1. Thanks to more consistency in the trenches, the Penn State running game emerged with a 200-yard effort last week against Buffalo. True freshman Saquon Barkley's 115-yard outing led the group. Junior Akeel Lynch tallied 54 yards in the victory, as well. Collectively, the Lions rushed for 5.1 yards per carry. What the rushing statistics do not show are the big play opportunities the running game created for Christian Hackenberg and the Nittany Lion receivers in the passing game. The also Lions had zero sacks allowed against Buffalo.

"We executed our gameplan much better," said senior center Angelo Mangiro. "We were able to run the ball effectively and wear them out. And all of that helps the passing game create opportunities down field."

2. The Penn State defensive line has been lights out during the first two weeks of the season. Senior end Carl Nassib and junior tackle Austin Johnson enter Big Ten play tied for the team lead in tackles with 15 stops apiece. Collectively, the defensive line has made 57 of Penn State's 151 total tackles in the first two games. Additionally, the defensive line has accounted for 14 tackles for loss and six sacks. Nassib is tied for second in the nation with four sacks.

3. Coach Franklin noted turnovers and consistency on special teams as two keys leading up to Saturday's game. The Nittany Lions did not commit a turnover against Buffalo. For the season, the Lions are plus-1 in turnover margin. On special teams, Nick Scott (kickoff) and DeAndre Thompkins each notched returns of 50 or more yards last week. Turnovers and big plays on special teams can flip the field position battle to give the offense a shorter field for a scoring chance.

What to Watch For - Rutgers
1. Rutgers entered the season looking to replace veteran quarterback Gary Nova. Redshirt sophomore Chris Laviano looks to be the man to take ownership of the position. He made his first career start last week against Washington State, posting a 23-of-29 effort. Laviano finished with 204 yards and a touchdown last week. Senior Paul James and sophomore Josh Hicks are the primary running backs. James is listed as probable for this week's game. Hicks has rushed for 209 yards and scored two touchdowns.

2. Junior wide receiver Janarion Grant has been a weapon for the Scarlet Knights on offense and special teams thus far in 2015. The Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown against Washington State last week. He has three returns for a touchdown in 2015, which leads the nation. No other team in college football has three touchdowns, let alone an individual. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide out also has six receptions for 71 yards.

3. The front seven headlines the Scarlet Knight defense. Through two games, Rutgers has made 12 tackles for loss, including five sacks. Sophomore defensive end Komoko Turay, who made his first career start against Washington State, had three tackles and a pass break-up last week. The 6-foot-6 end was a member of the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American last season.

The Final Word:
For the first time since 2009, the Nittany Lions will open Big Ten play with a home game. Since joining the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions have been road warriors in the opening game of the conference slate. Penn State has played away 14 times and home eight times during Big Ten opener. The Lions have been on the road to open Big Ten play during nine of the last 11 seasons, including each of the last five. The Nittany Lions will also open Big Ten play at home in 2016.

Saturday's game will be Penn State's 70th night game overall and 20th game under the lights at home. The Lions own a 41-28 mark in games contested in primetime. Also, this is the 15th consecutive season with Penn State playing at least one night game. Big Ten Network's live coverage of the Rutgers game begins at 8 p.m. with kickoff slated for 8:12 p.m. Kevin Kugler (Play-by-Play), Matt Millen (Analyst) and Lisa Byington (Sideline) will call the game.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Although this is Robby Sagel's first year wearing Blue and White, he's fitting in  perfectly with the Penn State men's soccer team.


This year's squad is especially unique since Sagel is one-of-seven transfers in the 2015 season. Before his move to Happy Valley he played at Temple University for his freshman and sophomore year. With Penn State being a much larger school than Temple, Sagel has no regrets on his move.


"I really wanted to take the next step and challenge myself, overall Penn State is a much bigger environment than Temple," said Sagel. "It's a bigger program, bigger fan base, and with higher expectations, it's a bigger challenge,"


Not only did he want to challenge himself in soccer but in his academics as well, Sagel mentions although deciding to transfer was difficult, he enjoys the challenge.


"How could I complain, everything is so much bigger and offers more opportunities, " said Sagel. "The school, although is challenging, offers a lot more responsibility which personally I think is better."


The junior defender credits his team for making his transition easier. "One positive I noticed right away is that the team is really close, they've helped me out a lot in terms of adjusting especially since my transfer happened so fast,"noted Sagel.


Truth be told, Head Coach Bob Warming mentioned he had his eye on Sagel since his days playing at Shattuck St. Mary's prep school. After Sagel's decision to leave Temple Coach Warming was eager to have him on his team.


"It's great to watch him here at Penn State," stated Coach Warming. "He's a great player and the other guys seem to really like him on the team, you can see their reaction when he scored the goal and how they were so happy for him. It's always a benefit when you can see how smoothly some players can transition to new schools and a new team."


So far this season, Sagel has started every match for the Nittany Lions and racked up a total of 470 minutes played.


In Penn State's last home game against then-No.10 Indiana, Sagel flourished in the 70th-minute when he got his right foot on the ball and belted it into the middle of the net to give the Lions a 1-0 victory over the Hoosiers.


"I think he's made great progress adjusting and within the last 30 days, but think we'll all see him grow into an even better player as the season continues. I'm excited to see what he gets done this season and think he's becoming a great asset to the team," said Coach Warming.


Although he's a transfer from Temple, Sagel is originally from Las Vegas, Nev. He also mentions he grew up playing soccer ever since he as a little kid and fell in love with the game instantly.


"The dream is to always play soccer as long as you can but that's also why I'm glad I'm here at Penn State since the school helps prepares me for a time when I can't play anymore," said Sagel.


It's undeniable that despite only being with Penn State a few months, Sagel's transition was exceptional.


"I think he found his home here at Jeffery field," said Coach Warming.


Sagel and the rest of the Lions will be back in action on Sunday, Sept. 20 when they hit the road to Columbus, Ohio to face off against Ohio State University for their second Big Ten Conference match of the 2015 season. 

Rutgers Week Q&A - Herb Hand

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

11328674.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions open the Big Ten season Saturday with a matchup against Rutgers at Beaver Stadium (8 p.m. on BTN).

Leading up to the conference opener, offensive line coach Herb Hand talked with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Take a look at a Q&A with Coach Hand.

Q: How did you measure the improvement from week one to week two?
Hand: "Each game is in it of itself. Each game is different. We obviously improved in that I think we did a great job of managing the game, establishing the run and obviously protecting Christian (Hackenbeg), keeping him clean. He took a couple hits during the game, but nothing major. It was a great improvement in that regard. The thing about college football is that each game is in it of itself, like I said. Winning is not easy. Some people think you can just roll your helmets out on the field and win. It doesn't work that way. Winning is difficult. I don't care if you are on the road or at home. It doesn't matter if it's an in conference game or out of conference game. It is a week-to-week deal. It's a challenge every week. On paper, it may look like one team is better than the other. But you still have to go out each week and do it when the lights are on and the stadium is full. You have to go out and execute. We were able to do that at a higher percentage in the second week than we did in the first week. But none of that is going to matter this week. So that's why our sole focus is on what we need to do to have success against Rutgers."

Q: How valuable is it to have a guy like Angelo Mangiro with his leadership and experience?

Hand: "I love Angelo Mangiro. You give me five Angelo Mangiros you are going to win a lot of games because of his approach every week from a preparation standpoint, because of his mentality. When he walks out on the field, he's ready to go. He's never had a bad day. He's as good as they get in that regard, plus, his versatility. He's taken game reps at every position on the line except for left tackle to this point going back to last year. He's played a lot of football. From an experience level, he brings a lot to the table. But that's what you expect when a guy is a fifth-year senior. Those are the attributes you want your older guys in the program to have. Angelo has all of those, as well as a great attitude and mentality that he brings every day. I can't speak highly enough about Ang."

Q: How did Brendan Mahon handle the switch to tackle last week and how do you think he played?

Hand: "As has been well documented in the past few years, we put a high value on versatility. We train guys in that regard. Brendan got his first game reps at right tackle. But our first spring here, he played right tackle during the spring game. He's played left guard in all the other games since then, but the move to right tackle was not a huge adjustment for him in terms of his preparation because he has been doing that for basically two years. But game reps are different than practice reps. Getting out there and playing in a game at that position, I was happy with his performance. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but he will continue to develop at that position and any other place that we have him play at."

Q: When you watched the film, what differences did you see in how Paris Palmer played from week one to week two?
Hand: "At halftime of the game (last week), we had a talk with Paris about his opportunity. You never want to have an opportunity based on those type of circumstances with Andrew (Nelson) getting hurt. But nonetheless, it was an opportunity for him. It was an opportunity for him to go out and prove to himself that he can play at this level, to prove to everyone watching the game that he can play at this level, and most importantly as an offensive lineman, he wanted to prove to his teammates that they can count on him. It was a positive moment for him to have that redemptive opportunity. The confidence would be the biggest factor (from week one to week two)."

Q: We hear the phrase moving the pocket a lot, what are the responsibilities on the offensive line when you do that? And is it easier or tougher on them?
Hand: "Yes. It's all about launch point and protecting the launch point. When you talk about moving the pocket, every protection is based on the quarterback's launch point. You have the quick game where the ball is coming out fast and you have to set up firmer on the line of scrimmage. You have drop back protections that are in the pocket where you have to protect the point of a seven to five-yard launch points. There are some playaction shots in the pocket where you need more max protection where you have to protect nine to 10 yards. Then you have moving the pocket. There are a variety of ways where can move the pocket. There are sprint outs or what we call nakeds and bootlegs. There are half-roll type situations. It basically comes down to protecting the launch points. Sometimes on sprint out protections, when you are on the backside of the sprint out, it might be a little easier. On the front side of the protection you have to re-leverage your hat to the front side of the defender. That's a challenge. It comes down to understanding the launch point and protecting the launch point. The best thing about the moving the pocket is that the defense can't zero in on the launch point. The defense doesn't know exactly where the quarterback will be at the launch point."

Q: How much did you analyze last year's Rutgers game to get ready for this week's game?
Hand: "We studied that extensively. We know that each year every team is going to be a little different because of the makeup of their team and who the personnel is. Personnel changes, but unless you have a change at the coordinator position, generally speaking the philosophy is going to remain very consistent. We studied that film extensively. We looked at how we can improve upon the areas that we didn't excel at and how we can accent the areas where we did excel. To Rutgers' credit, they have some great defensive players. They are very athletic. They do a great job from a scheme standpoint to give you problems with movement with twist games and blitzes up front that you have to be on point with."

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

From the Court to the Stage: Lee Hoping to Impact More Than Just Teammates

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

11328225.jpegBy Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ever since a young age, sophomore outside hitter Simone Lee had been on the court all her life when she lived in Texas.

The basketball court, that is.

Lee never had plans to play volleyball. She was always the basketball star in the family, while her sister, Chelsea Lee, was the one that participated in volleyball.

But one day, after moving to Wisconsin, an opportunity came for Lee, and she never looked back.

"Chelsea never wanted me to play the same sport as her, but one day, my sister played for the Milwaukee Sting in Wisconsin, and their 14s team needed an extra player, so I was like, 'I'm tall, available and have nothing else going on!'" said Lee. "I was 12 at the time, so I signed up and that's kind of how it all happened. They asked me to play on that team. Then, I tried out the next year, made the women's team and everything just kind of went up from there."

A transition from basketball to volleyball can be difficult for some people, but Lee always had her experienced sister to help her along the way.

"My sister does play volleyball at Eastern Illinois University," said Lee. "She is a rock star. I definitely look up to her. She's always so poised and so composed every time she plays, and on and off the court. She's one of my biggest role models."

Chelsea Lee has not been the only one supporting her along the way because athletics actually runs in the Lee family. Simone's mother, Karen, was a student-athlete who ran track at Drake University.

"My mother has always been so supportive and helped me push myself to the pivotal point that I know that I could be at," said Lee. "She's just really supportive in everything me and my sister do...She said that she's always going to love me no matter what, and I just always want to do my best."

In high school, Lee was a four-year letterwinner, a two-year captain at Menomonee, a 2013-14 Under Armour All-American and much more. It's no wonder that she was recruited to play volleyball at Penn State, and she had no doubt in her mind that this was the school that she wanted to attend.

"Coach Rose is such a tradition, but just the tradition of this school [is why I came to Penn State]," said Lee. "Penn State is known for its excellence and ever since I've been here, it has lived up to that. I love the campus. I'm majoring in broadcast journalism, and I'm really enjoying the classes I'm taking. I enjoy the people I have met, athletes or non-athletes. My professors are amazing, and just everything about this school is everything that I could have wanted in a college experience."

Lee played in her debut collegiate match against TCU in August 2014 and recorded six kills. She built on that mark for the rest of the season and tallied 135 kills in her first season at Penn State. In the NCAA regional final versus Wisconsin, Lee notched a career-high of 12 kills to help lead the Nittany Lions to the national semifinals.

She has advanced her skills greatly since last season, but her biggest improvement has to do with more than herself.

"I've definitely been learning to keep being a team player, no matter what," said Lee. "It doesn't matter if I'm on or off the court, I always want to be supportive of my teammates. I always try to get better in the gym, always coming and doing extra reps, but definitely being supportive of the team and making sure I can do everything in my power to help my team be successful."

Lee's biggest asset is her constant energy on the court, and that is clearly helping the team to be the No. 1-ranked in the nation.

"You'll hear me at the end of the bench, screaming and shouting," said Lee. "I'm always the one jumping up-and-down and shoving my teammates. I always try to bring as much energy as possible because that's a big part of volleyball."

At the moment, Lee is motivating and pushing her fellow teammates, but in the future, she wants to build on her broadcast journalism degree in order to inspire and encourage others all over the world.

"I want to be a motivational speaker, that's my biggest goal," said Lee. "Broadcast journalism just seems like the best fit because whether it's on TV, at public forums, universities, wherever, I just want to public speak to people about certain topics and social issues."

Though she aspires to motivate more than her teammates in her future, Lee is making her main focus on the volleyball.

"We definitely want to come off strong, especially versus Wisconsin in our first match in the Big Ten," said Lee. "We want to continue playing strong throughout the Big Ten, and hopefully win that. We want to continue working hard and playing Penn State volleyball. We know that we're a very talented group of girls, and we know that we can do a lot of things if we believe in ourselves and put our minds to it."

Nonetheless, Lee loves everything about Penn State, and she would never change anything about it.

"My favorite part about Penn State, volleyball-wise, would be playing with all my girls; they're like my sisters. My teammates are awesome. I love them so much...Playing for this university is awesome, and I know that my mom, my father and my sister are really proud of me for earning scholarships and being able to play high-level volleyball," said Lee.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Rutgers Week

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

The Nittany Lions will host Rutgers on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Beaver Stadium for the Big Ten opener. Take a look at the practice update from Rutgers week.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Update - Megan Courtney & Ali Frantti (9/16/15)

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with senior Megan Courtney and sophomore Ali Frantti as the Nittany Lions prepare for weekend No. 4 of the 2015 season. No. 1 Penn State is 8-0 heading into its final non-conference weekend of the season. The Lions will play three matches in Tampa this weekend (Auburn, St. John's and USF) before opening Big Ten play against Wisconsin on Sept. 23.

Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Lacrosse Announces 2016 Captains

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

11326379.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A trio of midfielders will lead the Penn State men's lacrosse team during its 2016 campaign. Seniors Tommy O'Neill and James Burke and redshirt junior Drake Kreinz have been voted as captains to lead the Nittany Lions during their 103rd season.

O'Neill, who played in all 14 games during the 2015 campaign, is honored to be named to the highest position within the program. 

"It's definitely a humbling opportunity to be named captain for this team," said O'Neill. "It's a special year for us, our senior year and everything that's gone on this summer, I think all three of us are really excited to lead this team."

The New Jersey native collected 11 ground balls last season, a career-high, and hopes to only improve on this number come spring.

Alongside O'Neill serving as captain will be Burke, a fellow senior midfielder. Burke, who had his most successful season in 2015, caused a team-best 12 turnovers in 11 contests.

To finish off the trio, it's only fitting that head coach Jeff Tambroni's go-to faceoff man would fill the spot. Kreinz appeared in 13 of 14 contests in 2015 and notched a .544 win percentage at the 'X.'

The process for choosing captains has remained unchanged for years and Tambroni is confident in the system he has in place.

"There are a number of different factors going into the captains process," said Tambroni. "One is a consensus vote from last years team, we want to get exiting seniors, graduating seniors opinions on who they believe will lead this team most effectively."

After the team vote, Tambroni and fellow assistant coaches evaluate upperclassmen during the fall semester before making a final decision. Usually this announcement comes a few weeks after the players arrive back in Happy Valley. However, this year Tambroni chose to announce the names sooner than usual.

"With this years group we just really felt comfortable with James and Tommy and Drake and we announced them on day one of the fall," said Tambroni.

Penn State men's lacrosse has experimented with the number of captains the team has every year. In 2014 three seniors led the team but in 2015 the task fell solely on senior Kyle Zittel. In 2016 the magic number will once again be three, a number Tambroni is confident with.

"I think it's good that we have three captains this year just to have three different minds going into it," said O'Neill. "We can always bounce ideas off each other."

O'Neill was quick to add that just because there are three captains, doesn't mean other seniors don't get a say in what happens among the team. Burke, O'Neill and Kreinz emphasized they always relay ideas to other upperclassmen members of the team.

Another task the captains will have to rely on their fellow upperclassmen for is delegating responsibilities. With all three captains being midfielders, there are some obstacles that can present themselves. During practices, when the team breaks off into position drills, Tambroni and the captains will have to look to other upperclassmen to set the tone for their respective groups.

"You hope that they delegate some responsibility to some upperclassmen in the offensive end, like a TJ Sanders, like a Matt Florence, who we believe will manage a lot of what goes on offensively when the groups are split," said Tambroni. 

Veterans setting the tone early is what Tambroni is confident will happen during this offseason. As the team welcomes 16 freshmen, the eight seniors will certainly be looked at to set the standard, but the captains said this is a challenge they are up for.

"[Sixteen freshmen] are a lot to handle but they've been great so far," said Kreinz. "They've been a great addition to the team, a lot of great players, really good guys who came to work and are competitive kids. There are only eight seniors so a little outnumbered but nothing that we can't handle and so far it's been amazing."

O'Neill explained that although each individual is unique, the captains have a few things in common when it comes to displaying the characteristics of a leader.

"We're not the most vocal but we all lead by example, on the field off the field, especially with academics," said O'Neill. "We're not ones to say something, we're more of the players see us do it and then they do it."

This concept of leading by example is something Burke and Kreinz agreed with.

"We're definitely more the doers, the opening faceoff it's us three, the guys in between the 30's, not the guys always making the flashy plays but just getting the job done," said Kreinz.

Tambroni expanded on his reasons for believing the three captains set to lead his team will be reliable young men.

"I think if you blanketed all three you'd say that they all fulfill the mantra of 'well done is better than well said.' All three of these guys are soft-spoken leaders and they all are in that top one percent of team in terms of work ethic both on and off the field," said Tambroni.

The average fan of Penn State men's lacrosse may see hard working young men on the field in Burke, O'Neill and Kreinz, but most fans don't see the hard work the three put in when not wearing a lacrosse jersey.

"The quality that's seen least in the exterior that is valued the most on the interior is their compassion for their teammates," said Tambroni. "They really care about one another on this team and they have a great deal of passion for Penn State lacrosse and the way we run our program."

The passion that drives the three young men is derived from the love of their teammates, coaches, and program. This passion and dedication will be the cornerstone for their 2016 season.

Before their first game, however, Burke, O'Neill and Kreinz will have to prepare their team the best they can during the offseason. Burke explained the methodical means of getting a team ready in the months leading up to game day.

"We're working on just getting in to practice, being competitive and working on bringing a good energy to practice," said Burke. "Just getting in the weight room, making sure people are bringing a focused and driven attitude to everything we do before January and the upcoming season."