By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 10 Penn State men's lacrosse has talent and depth between the pipes this season, thanks to a capable quartet of goalies and targeted instruction from the coaching staff.
Junior Will Schreiner, sophomore Trevor Scollins, and a duo of freshmen in Colby Kneese and Jack Rusbuldt, make up the Lions' skilled group of goalies. Each Nittany Lion has their own unique playing style that they've molded to their individual strengths, bringing something different to help strengthen the unit as whole
The two goalies that have seen the most playing time this season, Kneese and Schreiner, have almost opposite styles between the pipes. Schreiner likes to draw the opposing team's offense to get them to shoot the ball in a way he knows he can save.
"For example, if I'm on the left side of the net it's easier at that point to make a stick-side save," Schreiner said. "So I might hug the pipe a little bit longer."
Schreiner said his style of goaltending is more common from Philadelphia-area players and that he has played that way his whole life. Former Penn State men's lacrosse standout and decorated goalie, Austin Kaut, is a notable baiter in net also.
Schreiner earned the first start of the 2017 season against Robert Morris, helping the Nittany Lions to a 15-11 victory.
Kneese, on the other hand, tends to wait for a shot before reacting. Head coach Jeff Tambroni praised Kneese's quick hands and said his natural instinct in net is a great sign of things to come for the young player.
"I hope his preparation includes confidence," Tambroni said. "It's been a long preseason for him since he walked on campus, just trying to fit in here at Penn State. Then to try and find his way on the team and put himself in a position to realize a position of playing time, and then to earn the starting spot and to have some struggles in his first start only to back it up with a much stronger performance."
Kneese earned his first start February 11 in a 21-15 win against Hobart. He also started between the pipes last Saturday against Cornell, helping the Nittany Lions secure a 20-10 win.
Despite strong performances from both goalies so far, Tambroni said he is still likely to use the two-headed monster of Schreiner and Kneese in net, opting to wait a few more games before making a final choice of a starter.
For the goaltending unit, preparing for games is how victories are secured. Assistant coach Chris Doctor broke down the preparations the goalies make during the week.
"They usually have an individual session during the week," Doctor said. "Sometimes guys will come in before practice starts or in the morning and they'll get half an hour of extra work. All four of them do that."
Doctor said during practices, all the goalies have time to warm up in net, and then break up into stations where they're needed. Some of them will work with Tambroni with the offense shooting on them while another goalie might work with associate head coach Peter Toner focusing on defensive game plans. To finish out practice, the whole team works on live drills, such as man-down scenarios, half-field exercise and riding and clearing segments.
Doctor said that when he's not working with his faceoff players he tries to give the goalies extra attention and help with any developmental exercises. He also praised the veteran defense in aiding whichever goalie is in net at the time, especially Kneese as a freshman.
"We've communicated to Colby that he is the goalie, obviously, but he's just another member of our defense," Doctor said. "Knowing that he doesn't have to take on the burden of being the best part of our defense, his role is to just be one of seven guys that communicates and talks through things and help keep the ball out of our net."
Doctor said that as a freshman seeing a lot of playing time between the pipes, it's important for Kneese to know he's not alone, adding that all four of the goalies encourage one another to play their best."Some of them are classmates, some of them are older," Doctor said. "Will is the oldest guy we have so he's kind of the teacher, Jack and Colby are the younger ones, and Scollins is a little bit of both. It's a unique situation to have four guys who are not only close in age, but also as a group. It's fun to have a competition knowing that guys are pushing each other every day."