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Arceri Guides Lions Back on Track

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a pair of difficult losses on the road, Penn State men's lacrosse (11-2, 2-2 Big Ten) bounced back to defeat Rutgers (9-4, 1-3 Big Ten) on senior day Sunday.

For head coach Jeff Tambroni, the 13-7 victory was the result of a hard week of practice and a focus on ground ball play.

"I thought the biggest thing was just effort," Tambroni said. "I thought our guys played with a lot of conviction today and it was just fun to watch. The last couple of weekends we just didn't give ourselves a chance in the middle of the field and we lost possessions, and it wasn't necessarily because of the faceoff 'x' it was just because of the way we were battling for ground balls."

In previous weeks, Tambroni has noted the Nittany Lions have needed to step up ground ball production but haven't been able to get the numbers he'd like. Against Rutgers, the Nittany Lions were able to turn that around, picking up 31 of 55 ground balls on the night. 

Senior attackman and captain Nick Aponte said this week's practices were heavy on ground ball drills and that the team relentlessly practiced them day in and day out, knowing they needed to step up their competitiveness against the Scarlet Knights.

"We've just got to practice like we're going to play on game day every single day, and it'll show on game day like it did today," Aponte said.

Aside from ground ball improvements, Tambroni admired freshman faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri for bringing his 'a' game to Sunday's matchup, bouncing back from a tough conference battle last week at Johns Hopkins.

"Gerard was spectacular tonight," Tambroni said. "He certainly set the tone and then he was complimented by the wing play. I thought Tommy Wright really stood out tonight, he was one guy I thought stood out in terms of making simple plays throughout the course of the evening and making a lot of tough plays."

Arceri said he felt the strong effort from his teammates, especially Wright, in addition to other wing players, freshman Nick McEvoy, junior Tripp Traynor, and sophomore Kevin Fox. For Arceri, his own strong performance against Rutgers only help his confidence headed toward the next few games including the Big Ten Tournament, since faceoffs are such a mental aspect of the game.

"These past two weeks have been a learning experience for me, just having those rough days in the faceoff 'x' but I think it's all just really going to come to a point now so I'm really glad it all worked out," Arceri said. 

As for senior day, Aponte was happy he could help his fellow seniors to victory, but since there are more games guaranteed in the postseason, there's still much to look forward to.

"It's awesome, it's a great feeling just doing it on senior day too and seeing the whole team come together and play for the seniors was great," Aponte said. "We've just got to keep this going and we have to remember what we did to prepare for this game because we need to play like this for every single game for the rest on, and hopefully we can get back and play another home game in the first round of playoffs."

Lions To Honor 10 On Senior Day

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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."

Lions Look Toward Improvements

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite a strong fourth-quarter effort, including five goals from the Nittany Lions in the final 15 minutes, Penn State men's lacrosse (10-2, 1-2 Big Ten) fell short against Johns Hopkins (7-4, 2-1 Big Ten), 13-11.

The Nittany Lions were down 10-5 at halftime and looking to spark a comeback. Freshman attackman Grant Ament started the Nittany Lion scoring streak in the fourth quarter, securing a goal only nine seconds in.

Ament, who earned his 100th career point during the Johns Hopkins game, is one of only two active Penn State lacrosse players to reach or be above the milestone. Fellow starter, senior attackman Nick Aponte has 124 points in his career.

With less than two minutes left, the Nittany Lions came within one goal of the lead, 12-11, but Johns Hopkins secured one final goal for the victory. Head coach Jeff Tambroni said he felt his team played with more heart in the fourth quarter than in the rest of the game, noting Johns Hopkins came out fighting for a win despite his team's best efforts. 

"We certainly knew both teams were going to come in here and put a great deal of emphasis on possession and possession time," Tambroni said. I think both [Penn State and Johns Hopkins] struggled against our previous opponents in the Big Ten and for whatever reason Johns Hopkins just imposed their will a little bit more so." 

Tambroni is now looking toward next week's outing against Rutgers, already knowing there needs to be a few changes if his team is going to come out on top. He's looking toward focusing more on the basics, making sure each possession is calculated and purposeful, as well as making sure transitional play remains consistent.   

For Tambroni, despite Penn State's late surge in the game, the Nittany Lions will also need to address a few problem areas that have been inhibiting the team's success lately. Tambroni said one of those areas is ground ball performance. The Nittany lions picked up 24 ground balls at Johns Hopkins, but Tambroni said there's always room for improvement. 

"Ground ball play just includes so many different things, picking the ball up off the ground takes courage especially in a crowd," Tambroni said. "But moving the ball from the point of the pick up and creating opportunity defensively, trying to create clears offensively, trying to create transition and I felt that's where we really struggled today."

Tambroni said he felt his team's efforts were respectable, but that Johns Hopkins just had the edge on Saturday afternoon. 

"We need to address it, we need to fix it, and the coaching staff needs to do a better job of preparing our team to just be a little bit more passionate, be a little bit more focused on that kind of stuff," Tambroni said. "So it'll definitely be a point of emphasis this week as we prepare for Rutgers."

Lions Getting Back on Track

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's lacrosse (10-1, 1-1 Big Ten) is keen to get back to its winning ways this weekend at Johns Hopkins (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten). Despite falling to Maryland (7-2, 2-0 Big Ten) last Saturday, the Nittany Lions have learned a lot from their first, and only, loss of the season. 

"I'm not sure we reserved enough preparation and confidence during the week of practice leading up to the Maryland game to get us over the hump," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "Maryland is a good team, we certainly learned that over the course of the day, and it always felt like we were coming from behind, which is a challenging venture."

Tambroni noted the Nittany Lions could have done better in a few areas, namely ground balls. The Nittany Lions picked up only 16 ground balls against the Terrapins, compared to Maryland's 34. The previous week, Penn State picked up 34 in its first Big Ten win of the season against Ohio State.

Tambroni said he felt his team had also been extremely focused before facing the Buckeyes two weeks ago, but felt the Nittany Lions had been a little less intensive in practice for the Terrapins. For Tambroni, the key to success this weekend will be Penn State's ability to once again battle it out during the week and give 100 percent in the days leading up to Saturday 

"I think our guys have done a pretty good job at bouncing back and getting right back into a good mindset and having a focus for Johns Hopkins this week," Tambroni said." 

As for the Nittany Lions, senior and captain Nick Aponte said the attack needs to get back to the basics this weekend, focusing on quality of shots on net and communication on the field.

"We met with our leadership cabinet before [Monday's] practice and we kind of just said we need to do the simple things, but we've just got to do it harder," Aponte said. "That's our motto this week and just getting back to little stuff like ground balls and little details on every single play we make."

Aponte said that he and his fellow teammates can't simply save their energy for Saturday. Rather, they need to commit to every practice, even if it's tiring. He's looking toward every single member of the team, from starters to reserves, to be dedicated this week in practice before leaving for Baltimore. Aponte emphasized that this weekend's game will be a team effort. 

"Johns Hopkins just lost to Ohio State, so they're going to have a chip on their shoulder this weekend, we know that," Aponte said. "So we have to answer their attitude this week and we have to work a little bit harder. It's always great playing in Homewood, we always have great games when playing Johns Hopkins the last two years we went to overtime and double overtime, so we know it's going to be a good game."

Despite knowing the Blue Jays will come into the game determined to win, for Aponte, the Nittany Lions first and foremost need to focus on themselves and their game.

"Last week we focused a little too much on the weekend and weren't focused on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," Aponte said. "So we have to focus on Penn State right now, and just preparing ourselves for Johns Hopkins and bringing everything we've got."

At Home in Happy Valley

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The summer before his senior year of high school, Penn State freshman goalie Colby Kneese had not yet committed to a particular collegiate program. At a tournament in Baltimore that June, Nittany Lion head coach Jeff Tambroni and his staff saw Kneese play, and knew Kneese could make an impact.

"We spoke back and fourth, had a visit with him over the course of the summer," Tambroni said. "It was late July or early August before his senior year that he made the decision to come to Penn State."

Kneese, who is a Dallas, Texas native, grew up in a lacrosse family. His grandfather played college lacrosse at Army and his uncle played at Navy. It was only natural that Kneese take up the sport around the age of six, finding a spot between the pipes as a goalie, the same position his grandfather played.

He quickly grew to love the sport and dedicated much of his young life to learning the game. In high school, Kneese earned All-State and Under Armour All-America honors in 2015. He also helped lead Highland Park High School to a state championship title in 2015.

After he corresponded with Tambroni in the summer of 2015, Kneese made his first trip to Penn State and immediately knew it was the place he wanted to spend his collegiate career. 

"I had always wanted to go to a big school," Kneese said. "I grew up going to University of Texas events because my whole family went there, so I liked the big school atmosphere, big football games and big athletics, and Penn State is also extremely respectable academically."

Since he was a bit of a later commit to his anticipated freshman class, Kneese had some catching up to do when it came to getting to know his future teammates. Upon arrival though, Kneese immediately forged friendships with guys in his freshman class, which made the transition from Texas to Pennsylvania much easier. 

Now having earned the starting spot between the pipes for the Nittany Lions, Kneese has settled in nicely behind a veteran defense that he says makes his job a lot easier.

"It's nice to know that the defensemen can handle some of the best attack players in the country," Kneese said. "I've definitely been getting more comfortable with the game setting and surroundings with my teammates and the defense," 

The defensemen feel similarly about Kneese's ability to do his job, knowing that the team's last line of defense has been so consistent this year for the Nittany Lions.

"It's nice to know that if I mess up or if someone misses something, or if someone shoots it, that there's a good chance of him saving it," sophomore defenseman Chris Sabia said.

With the pressure of his first Big Ten game out of the way, and his first conference win under his belt in last Sunday's win over Ohio State, Kneese is eager to get back out on the field and show more league opponents what he can do. 

This weekend, Penn State travels to Maryland for its first road conference game of the season, and first road game since March 11 at Harvard. The Nittany Lions look to remain undefeated, with Kneese coming off an outstanding Big Ten debut that including 13 saves and just four goals allowed for a .765 save percentage, earning him Big Ten Specialist and Freshman of the Week honors.

"You go into it with belief in your team because as of now we've done things pretty well and at a great pace," Kneese said. "We've trusted each other, and if we're all on the same page backing one another up, we haven't found a lot of teams that have given us trouble to possibly lose a game, because everyone's had each other's back."

Kneese, Defense Halt Buckeyes

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Leading up to Sunday night, freshman goalkeeper Colby Kneese's preparation was locked on remaining focused and more determined than ever to be strong between the pipes. His preparation was on full display in the Big Ten opener, as Penn State men's lacrosse defeated Ohio State, 9-4, to remain unbeaten on the year at 10-0.   

"Coach really got on me about not taking a play off in practice," Kneese said. "He just stayed on me all week."

Visualizing every play in practice as a live scenario, Kneese prepped for the Buckeyes focusing his mind on the level of competition Ohio State would bring offensively. The mental preparation allowed him to come out strong from the start, blocking the first Ohio State shot on net to start the game. 

"I just thought he was really consistent tonight," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "We weren't overly pleased with the effort we got last week and I feel Colby would be the first one to tell you he didn't play his best game. I thought he prepared really well in the middle to latter part of the week."

Both Tambroni and the staff had many conversations with Kneese leading up to Penn State's conference opener, all to help the freshman focus on the task at hand, letting him know the Nittany Lion defense would be there to help in his first Big Ten game. Kneese made 13 saves against the Buckeyes, securing a .765 save percentage on the night. 

"I thought [Kneese] was surrounded by a group of defenders who really just competed with a ton of heart tonight," Tambroni said. "They've taken a lot of abuse in terms of where they stand statistically this year and I thought they really stood up and stood the test of a very good offensive team with a lot of weapons." 

The defense in front of Kneese also put on a show. Holding the Buckeyes scoreless for more than 37 minutes spanning as many as three quarters, the Penn State defense combined for what Tambroni says, is without a doubt, the best performance all season.

"I think we just finally played a full 60-minute lacrosse game," senior defenseman Peter Triolo said. "We knew we have all the components to be a successful team, and a top tier team in the NCAA."

For Triolo, it was a team effort that propelled the Nittany Lions past the Buckeyes, without a single Nittany Lion effort left unnoticed. Senior defensive midfielder Drake Kreinz added that the win was the culmination of each and every one of the Nittany Lions putting in the work during practice.

"It's easy to do you job when the guys around you are doing their jobs," Kreinz said. "It's easier to do you job when the preparation started Tuesday and they were just knock-out, drag-out practices. The scout guys were doing their job giving us unbelievable looks. So when it came to game day it was easy to execute based on our preparation from that week." 

Kreinz also made an appearance at the faceoff "x," earning four faceoff wins as well as goal to start the third quarter, sparking a 5-1 second-half scoring streak that lifted the Nittany Lions to a 9-4 decision at the final horn.

"I'm just really proud of these two guys in particular," Triolo said of Kneese and Kreinz. "And our entire defense, our entire offense, and our entire team even from the guys on the sidelines played a full 60-minute game, competed our butts off the entire time and it was great to see."

Nittany Lions Set for B1G Opener

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After defeating Cleveland State last weekend, senior captain Nick Aponte gave some perspective to the season the Nittany Lions have had so far. For Aponte, despite a perfect 9-0 to start to the year, the Nittany Lions will look at Big Ten play as a blank slate, an opportunity to continue to fight for wins and learn from past adversity.

Senior defenseman Peter Triolo said Tuesday afternoon that through all four campaigns he has been a part of, the Nittany Lions have traditionally separated the nonconference schedule from league games in hopes of getting mentally fresh before facing difficult opponents in the Big Ten.

"It's definitely interesting with this season and the success that we've been having," Triolo said. "Looking at this Big Ten slate, every team is going to be a competitive game, so that's why as a senior class, we sat down yesterday and throughout the weekend to talk about it. We wanted to make it very clear that these next few games coming up are the most important games of our season."

Triolo said the senior class spoke to the rest of the team and emphasized that now is the time to stick to the system and continue working hard day in and day out, both in and out of practice, so the Nittany Lions can focus on winning games.  

 "We had a team meeting on Monday, just to clean the slate and talk about things that we want to improve on and talk about the potential that we have coming in with the Big Ten games," Triolo said.

Despite improvements the defense can make in the coming weeks, Triolo said the majority of the team's success would come when every member of the team is trying their hardest but most importantly, enjoying the game. For Triolo, if Penn State is passionate on the field, the level of competition increases, making the Nittany Lions very dangerous against any competitor. 

Triolo also emphasized that since the freshmen haven't played a Big Ten game yet, it's up to the leadership to make sure the rookies settle into conference games quickly, continuing to possess the poise they've had all season. 

"I hope they're going to have a lot of confidence," head coach Jeff Tambroni said of his team's mindset going into this weekend. "I think the game plan was to set our guys up week in and week out both home and on the road, with opportunities. We felt like if we could day in and day out compete against each other, that preparation regardless of result was going to get us prepared for the Big Ten." 

Tambroni praised the leadership on the team for hosting their fellow teammates on Monday for the team meeting to emphasize what the second half of the season means for the Nittany Lions before they open against Ohio State Sunday. He also stressed that in order to remain aggressive among other outstanding teams, Penn State will have to remain both physically capable of high-octane games while continuing to make smart plays all over the field.

"We feel very fortunate to be in the position that we're in right now in terms of our record, but I think that our guys have worked very hard and are very excited for the conference play that remains," Tambroni said. "I think the key is that they realize there's still a lot of work to be done but on the other side, I think confidence is high based on what they've been able to accomplish thus far."

Lions Confident After 9-0 Start

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in program history, Penn State men's lacrosse has gone undefeated in its nonconference schedule. Nine games down and the Nittany Lions have come out on top in all contests, with Saturday afternoon's 15-8 win against Cleveland State adding to the tally. 

The Nittany Lions got off to a strong start, earning three goals in the first three minutes of the game. The talented trio on attack featuring freshman Mac O'Keefe, sophomore Grant Ament, and senior Nick Aponte, had a goal each in the scoring bout. 

"I thought their focus coming out here today and the way they prepared in warm ups was dead on," head coach Jeff Tambroni said. "I thought we did a nice job of just getting prepared out here for all the right reasons."

Tambroni said one of the team's goals was to be prepared to compete from the starting whistle, and felt the team was able to perform when asked. However, he noted Penn State does need to work on developing more consistency before next weekend's Big Ten games.

"I thought there were just so many ebbs and flows emotionally," Tambroni said. "I thought we didn't hold our ground for longer stretches of time, which was a little disappointing, but it's something to build on. At the end of the day if you can just win a game and move on before you get into Big Ten, you've got to just take it."

Among the strong start for the Nittany Lions, for Tambroni, the highlight of the game was seeing players come off the bench and contribute. 

"I think those guys, I mean everybody on the team just works so hard and I think these guys have to sit on the bench and on game day watch the others take those reps and get those opportunities," Tambroni said. "You can sense a genuine sense, a very authentic sense of appreciation when they make a play." 

Two Nittany Lions able to add to the momentum on attack Saturday afternoon were freshman Conor Smith, who netted the 14th goal of the game, only his fourth of the season, as well as sophomore Jimmy Nowoswiat, netting his first goal of the season in the fourth quarter.

Tambroni also highlighted sophomore goaltender Trevor Scollins for making some great saves after he entered the game in the final 10 minutes of play.

"I think just the overall camaraderie in the locker room, that morale, that just really helps," Tambroni said. "It was nice that those other guys could give us at least a comfortable lead to get those other guys in there. I thought they did a great job when they were in there."

After their final nonconference game before heading into Big Ten action, the Nittany Lions are confident looking toward next weekend's tough matchup against Ohio State. 

For Aponte, the Nittany Lions see their schedule as almost two separate seasons, divided in half between nonconference and Big Ten games. Looking at the schedule this way gives the team more perspective, as well as a clean mindset heading into league play. 

"We start off 0-0 in the Big Ten, we have a lot of competition there that we're really excited about," Aponte said. "We have to start just like preseason, just get on it and see how far it takes us."

Lions Focused on Continued Growth

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's lacrosse is off to its best start in program history, opening the season at 8-0. Ahead of a home matchup against Cleveland State, catch up with head coach Jeff Tambroni has reflects on the historic start to the season, and what's ahead in this week's media notebook.

Building Brick-By-Brick
With an unblemished record in 2017, the Nittany Lions have a lot to be proud of, from the performance of new faces on offense to the veteran leadership holding down the defense. Tambroni is pleased with his team's ability to secure wins under pressure to perform, but knows his team will only face new tests in the coming weeks.

Despite close halftime scores in recent outings, the Nittany Lions have been able to earn wins against opponents who battled more than expected. 

"We've had some wins by a larger margin, Cornell was double digits, some of these other games have been three, four, five goals," Tambroni said. "In the last couple of weeks with Furman and Harvard and now Fairfield, one and two goal wins, I don't care who your competition is, this provides great training for our guys and mental toughness and resilience." 

Among the last few challenging games, Tambroni has been able to see the team really focused at the task at hand come halftime, rally around their confidence despite close scores. 

"I think with this success over the past couple of weeks and being able to, at times, play well but not for longer stretches - not for stretches we feel we're capable of, yet still find a way to win, that stuff it really important," Tambroni said. "If you can reflect back on that, week in and week out, different ways to win games, I think you'll remain confident or remain poised when it starts to get tight."

Alumni Weekend
Saturday marks Penn State's annual spring Alumni, Family and Friends Weekend. Penn State will host familiar faces spanning decades ago to even the most recent graduating class. For Tambroni, his favorite part about seeing alumni come back and visit is how connected they all remain to the program, and the leadership they provide to his current players. 

"I think everyone that's a part of Penn State understands the passion and loyalty that goes along with being part of this community, and Penn State lacrosse is no different," Tambroni said. "We've got plenty of history, but I think in the last couple of years the momentum of the alumni group has really made a significant impact on our guys." 

Tambroni said he's expecting a large group of alumni to return this weekend and looking forward to having them on the sidelines again. 

"We're looking forward to welcoming them back with open arms," Tambroni said.

Looking Ahead to Big Ten Play
After the Nittany Lions meet Cleveland State, their next opponent will be a familiar one, Ohio State. To date, the Buckeyes are also undefeated so far this season. Penn State and Ohio State are two of three Big Ten teams without a loss this season, as Rutgers is also currently undefeated headed into the weekend. The Nittany Lions will face the Scarlet Knights in late April. 

"I think we recognize the success of our conference, but at this point just have so much to think about both in house with our own team in terms of improvements needed, and the development required and with our opponents, that we just haven't dug into why they've had the success they've had so far," Tambroni said. "We recognize the apparent record of Rutgers and know Ohio State, had a chance to watch their game against Denver." 

Although focusing on the development of his own team at this time, Tambroni is not shocked that the Big Ten is growing into a highly competitive lacrosse conference. 

"It's been no surprise, we kind of had a feeling in the last couple years that the Big Ten was going to be one of the premier conferences," Tambroni said. "It's been exciting to watch the growth of the entire group really all at once this year."

Spillane Gives Lions Edge Over Penn

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In front of a standing room only crowd in Holuba Hall Saturday afternoon, No. 5 Penn State men's lacrosse fought hard for a comeback win against No. 8 Penn. Despite being down by three at halftime, the Nittany Lions defeated the Quakers 14-13 to remain unbeaten on the year at 5-0.

"We were really stagnant," head coach Jeff Tambroni said of his team's first half performance. "I give a lot of credit to Penn's defense, I thought they were smothering our pick play and I didn't think we were taking advantage of any ball movement."

Tambroni noted that during the first half, the Nittany Lions were forced to be more creative offensively in hopes of maneuvering around Penn's relentless defense, but settled in nicely to start the second half thanks to a spark of three straight goals from the Nittany Lions.

"I thought in the second half we shared the ball a little bit more," Tambroni said. "Made our shots a little bit harder for their goalie to locate and I thought we took advantage. 

He also credited freshman Gerard Arceri's performance at the faceoff 'x', which generated some much needed momentum to start the third quarter. All of Penn State's 24 faceoff wins were courtesy of Arceri, who also added a third-quarter goal.

Sophomore midfielder Nick Spillane stood out offensively Saturday afternoon. The Franklin Square, New York native notched five goals against the Quakers. His fifth goal of the game was the game-winner for the Nittany Lions, unassisted to finish atop the team standings with a career-high tally.

"He played with a lot of confidence today, just a lot of courage," Tambroni said. "He was smiling the whole game which is nice to see him just enjoying the competition. The game got tight toward the end but he continued to play with great relaxation and courage."

For Tambroni, Spillane's high-level performance is a product of his dedication during practice and the confidence he has built across the the last few weeks. Spillane credited his on-field success to the other midfielders and attackers who fed him the ball at the right time.

"Some of those goals came off great assists," Spillane said. "Stuff like that doesn't happen without the pass coming from whoever it was coming from."

Tambroni, who emphasizes he always works one game at a time, explained that he's now looking toward his team to enjoying the win, but they'll also have to be ready to go for another game in just a few days. 

Penn State hosts Furman Tuesday, marking its quickest turnaround so far this year, but Tambroni is confident the Nittany Lions are ready for the next challenge.

"This has been a very mature group," Tambroni said. "I think it's going to important for our guys, the first chance that we've had to turnaround this quickly, to reset, get back with these guys tomorrow and meet, then try to turn their mindset to what we can accomplish over spring break."

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