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At Home in Happy Valley

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By Maria Canales, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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."

Nittany Lions Gearing Up for Spring Break

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By Maria Canales, student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's lacrosse team has started its season off strong, looking to continue that early success heading into its spring break games. With two home outings and one road game on deck next week, the Nittany Lions are excited for the opportunities.

Beginning Saturday, the No. 5 Nittany Lions host No. 8 Penn in a showdown that has historically been a nail biter. Last year, Penn State fell to the Quakers 11-7 in Philadelphia to open its 2016 spring break games, but this time around, head coach Jeff Tambroni believes his team is prepared for an exciting game.

"I would say they definitely present a more complete package than any team that we've faced so far," Tambroni said of Penn. "Villanova's offense was very good, Hobart's offense in transition was very good, Robert Morris did a great job going from defense to offense in each team. Each team has presented a different challenge." 

Tambroni is expecting the Quakers to come to Happy Valley looking to shut down the Nittany Lion trio on attack featuring freshman Mac O'Keefe, sophomore Grant Ament, and senior Nick Aponte, who have all seen success this season. He also expects Penn to present steady defensive play, heading into the matchup with a goalie who has been very successful so far this season, and a young but talented offense.

"If you look at their entire package, the way they're coached, the way they've assembled this group, it will certainly be not just on paper, but on the field, our most complete and competitive game to date," Tambroni said. 

After hosting the Quakers Saturday, the Nittany Lions will have a quick turnaround before hosting Furman Tuesday. Following a few days off, Penn State rounds out spring break heading to Boston to face Harvard Saturday, March 11. 

Tambroni is excited for the spring break games because it gives the Nittany Lions an opportunity grow closer over the break, all benefitting team chemistry in the long run. Since Penn State is off from classes next week, the Nittany Lions will have more time to spend each other, with a bit of a break from school work. 

"I think it's a good opportunity for us to just step back a little bit," Tambroni said. "You have the opportunity 24 hours a day to be with your kids and I think it's extremely important time for us to enhance the relationship with our guys because we have the chance to spend more time with them."

Veteran team members also agreed that spring break provides the opportunity for the team to build camaraderie and focus more on the task at hand, while also taking a much needed break from the grueling schedule they've had since the beginning of January.

Senior defenseman Peter Triolo said that while spring break is a great opportunity to relax a bit from schoolwork, it by no means is a break from practice or the focus required to remain competitive on the field.

"This week we want to worry about this week and eliminate distractions and play to the potential we can play at," Triolo said. "That's what we're worried about right now. Next week it's going to be an awesome week, spring break is always a time when the guys get to be together 100 percent of the time."

For Triolo, spring break is always a learning opportunity for both upper and underclassmen alike.

"We want to continue to play and have fun out there," Triolo said. "It's kind of hard dealing with school and midterms. It can be hard getting out on the field every day, competing and battling, it gets tedious, especially for some of these underclassmen. We just want to be there for them, answer any questions they have and taking it one day at a time."

O'Keefe Powers Penn State Past Villanova

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer 

VILLANOVA, Pa. - No. 9 Penn State men's lacrosse showed up at Villanova Stadium Saturday afternoon motivated once again to display its offensive power from last week's victory. After a slow start, the Nittany Lions secured a 17-12 win against the Wildcats, marking the first time the Nittany Lions have opened the season with a 4-0 under head coach Jeff Tambroni.

Freshman attacker Mac O'Keefe kept the large Penn State crowd entertained, scoring eight goals for the Nittany Lions. With a team-high eight goals, O'Keefe broke his own freshman single game scoring record that he set in just the first week of the season. 

"He makes it look so easy," Tambroni said. "I know how hard he works to put himself in that position, so he is reaping a lot of rewards from his work ethic."

On attack, the trio on the front lines featuring O'Keefe, sophomore Grant Ament, and senior Nick Aponte accumulated 13 of the 17 goals scored Saturday. Ament netted three goals for the second time this season, scoring all three in the third quarter. 

Tambroni credited Villanova's defense with holding their own during the first half, forcing the Nittany Lions to be more creative on offense. However, it was Ament's third-quarter performance that sparked the Penn State motivation to pull away in the second half.

"Grant was just super aggressive and I thought our offense became a lot more confident and aggressive because of it," Tambroni said. "He played with a lot of enthusiasm and today out there in the third quarter. He just looked like he was having a lot of fun."

Ament's performance also gave Penn State the opportunity to relax a bit during the second half and settle into a scoring groove. The Nittany Lions scored three unanswered goals to end the third quarter, wrapping up a seven-goal frame that sent Penn State surging ahead 14-8.

At the other end of the field, freshman goaltender Colby Kneese remained steady throughout the game, making 11 saves in the first half alone. Saturday's contest marked Kneese's third start of the season.

"We knew he was going to be tested today, these guys shoot the ball from all areas and they shoot the ball very well," Tambroni said. "Colby had a great week of practice, we were very pleased with the week of practice that he had and just knowing that he was going to be the starting goalie this week without looking back, having a game under his belt really helped."

Kneese made 18 saves on Saturday afternoon, securing a .600 save percentage. 

"He continues to keep getting better," Tambroni said. "We needed every save that he had today."

Off the field though, Tambroni was pleased with the large turnout of fans who made the trip to support the Nittany Lions. Both Villanova and Penn State share a similar color scheme, but the constant "We Are" chants ringing down from the bleachers, only added fuel to the team with a large support system behind them.

"This has always been a thrill for us heading back into the Philadelphia area whether it's Penn or Villanova, we're extremely grateful for our alumni base," Tambroni said. "You talk about Penn State in general, you talk about passion, you talk about loyalty and these lacrosse fans are no different. It was nice to see a group like this come out and support these guys."

Depth Builds Strength in Goal

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By Maria Canales, 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."

Team Effort Propels Nittany Lions

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By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 11 Penn State (3-0) men's lacrosse dominated on both ends of the field in a 20-10 win against Cornell (0-1) Saturday afternoon. The Nittany Lions held the Big Red scoreless the first 17 minutes of play, while the offense found its stride in the second quarter.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni praised associate head coach Peter Toner's command of the defense as the stepping stone that sparked the productive first quarter for the Nittany Lions.

"I thought we got off to a sluggish start offensively, but I thought our defense really played well," Tambroni said. "They were just sound and a lot of stuff that coach Toner talked about coming out of the Hobart game really reflected the way we practiced this week."

On defense, Tambroni complimented freshman goaltender Colby Kneese's confidence between the pipes. Kneese made nine saves in 52 minutes of play.

Starting in the faceoff circle, freshman Gerard Arceri continued to showcase his talent at the 'x.' Arceri, who last week was named the Big Ten Specialist of the Week, won 15-of-21 faceoffs. Once command of the faceoffs was established, the Nittany Lions gained control of possession time.

From there, Tambroni looked toward the midfielders and attackers to set up smart plays and find their way into the box. Key for the Nittany Lions was another strong performance from freshman Mac O'Keefe, who netted five goals on 10 shots. However, it was the depth at attack that pushed the Lions past the Big Red.

Sophomore attacker Grant Ament had a standout third quarter, netting three of his career-high six goals in those 15 minutes. During the fourth quarter it was all about freshman attacker Conor Smith, who came off the bench and scored three goals.

"It's awesome to see a guy like Conor Smith, who's getting the same amount of reps as all of us in practice, but doesn't always get the game exposure that he necessarily should," Ament said. "He's a great player and to see that pay off is awesome for him." 

Also entering the game for the Nittany Lions making an immediate impact was sophomore midfielder Robby Black. Black had the assist on senior midfielder Matt Sexton's lone goal of the game, which came in the fourth quarter. 

After a steady performance from the defense and an outstanding performance from the offense, the Nittany Lions are excited to build off a strong win against a program that has made the NCAA tournament five times in the last seven years. It's also the second season in a row the Nittany Lions have started out 3-0 on the year.

"I think the one thing I take away from today, from top to bottom just about everybody had a chance to go in there and compete today," Tambroni said. "I thought when their number was called, it may not necessarily show up on the score board, but a lot of stuff that they did put us in a position to finish the game the way they did. I was proud of the way guys came off the bench." 

Tambroni concluded that Saturday's win was really the product of his team coming together and acting as a unit. 

"At the end of the day we can feel good that it was a team effort and a team win," Tambroni said. 


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