By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - After Penn State men's lacrosse beat Robert Morris in its season
opener last Saturday, head coach Jeff Tambroni had time to evaluate the film
from the game.
The Nittany Lion specialists came out in full force. At the faceoff 'x,' freshman midfielder Gerard Arceri made a big impact in his first collegiate game. Arceri went 21-for-30 in the faceoff circle, and netted his first career goal less than 10 seconds into the first quarter.
"Gerard is just so quick off the whistle, I think it starts there." Tambroni said. "He just prepares so hard in the week of practice that his performances are won and lost well before he even takes the field."
Tambroni credited Arceri's work ethic for giving him a solid foundation, but said that senior midfielder and fellow faceoff man, Billy Lombardi, has done an outstanding job encouraging his younger teammates to do their best in practice and games.
"If you look at the statistics and how well Gerard did, I'll bet you he'd be the first one to tell you that Billy Lombardi is the guy who just pushes him on a daily basis," Tambroni said.
Lombardi played in 14 games for the Nittany Lions last year, and finished 104-219 at the faceoff 'x.' He also led the team in ground balls with 37 on the season.
Freshman midfielder Nick McEvoy will be also competing for some time in the faceoff circle this season. McEvoy played for Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., winning back-to-back WCAC Championships in 2014-15.
Between the pipes, Tambroni gave the nod to junior goaltender Will Schreiner to start in net last Saturday against the Colonials. During the 2016 campaign, Schreiner started all 15 games for the Nittany Lions and ended the season with a .458 save percentage. He played a little more than 21 minutes in net for the Nittany Lions on Saturday, making three saves.
Freshman goaltender Colby Kneese finished Saturday's contest in net for the Nittany Lions, securing a .615 save percentage. Kneese made eight saves during 38:45 minutes of play.
"It's been great to have some competition in there," Tambroni said of the goaltender position. "Will is definitely a little bit more poised in his style, a bit more consistent. I would consider Will to be a little more traditional in his approach. He calculates angles and anticipates shots really well."
Tambroni noted Schreiner's style contrasts with Kneese's style.
"Colby, he has a little bit more of a flare for the dramatic," Tambroni said. "He's willing to take a few more risks out of goal, but can make the big save at any time."
Tambroni also emphasized both Schreiner and Kneese have great hand speed, an important quality for a goalie.
Additionally, the Nittany Lions fill out their depth chart at the goalie position with sophomore Trevor Scollins. The Marshfield, Massachusetts native saw playing time in three games last season with a .538 save percentage.
Tambroni said the friendly competition between all three have allowed each player to get better throughout the preseason, especially the competition between Schreiner and Kneese."I think these guys realize their role as teammates before competitors," Tambroni said. "They're doing a wonderful job of getting out there and supporting one another, knowing that the team is what's most important."