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Third Quarter Surge Lifts Lions Over Villanova

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a back-and-forth first half, a goal scored just seven seconds into the third quarter sparked an offensive streak that led the Penn State men's lacrosse team to a win over Villanova on Saturday.

Junior midfielder Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) secured the opening faceoff in the third quarter, charged down the field and dished a pass to sophomore Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) who dumped the ball into the net.

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"We haven't been a real second half team all season," said goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.). "We really needed to come out with energy and click on all cylinders and that's what we did."

Kaut had a superb outing, tallying 17 saves. The sophomore entered Saturday's contest with an impressive .600 save percentage, which is ranked sixth in the nation.

"Austin was awesome today," said sophomore attack Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.), who scored two goals and tallied an assist against the Wildcats. "If you shoot from the outside, not many goals are going to go in against him."

Forcing shots from the outside was exactly what Coach Tambroni and the Nittany Lions planned to do heading into the game.

Tambroni stressed to his team that they would be in good shape if they didn't allow inside looks, which is something they allowed a lot of in last week's loss to Bucknell.

Kaut wasn't alone in his efforts to quiet Villanova's high-powered offense. Physical play from the defense contributed to 13 clears, seven forced turnovers, and 28 ground balls secured - all of which aided the goalie in his impressive outing.

The tough defensive play was reflected on the other side of the field, as clears and turnovers provided the offense with transition opportunities.

"Any time we can get transition goals is a plus for us," said senior midfielder Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.). "It gives our defense some time to rest and gives our offense a good opportunity to put goals on the board."

Link gets a taste of both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The midfielder switches between a long pole and a short pole several times throughout games.

The senior forced two turnovers and secured three ground balls in the contest against Villanova.

Penn State's offensive firepower was distributed evenly against the Wildcats, as nine different Nittany Lions were credited with a point in the game.

Seniors Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) and Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) were atop the scoring list for the Nittany Lions, each registering five points.

"I think the offense shared possession and responsibility today," said Tambroni. "We never got away from the game plan and that allowed us to meticulously go through the game and secure a win."

Saturday's game served as the final non-conference game of the season for Penn State. The team will now enter the heart of their conference schedule, facing four-straight CAA opponents to close out the regular season.

"We needed a win like this heading into conference play to get our momentum back," said Forster.

Penn State will travel to Philadelphia next Saturday to take on Drexel. Faceoff is set for 2 p.m.


Men's Lacrosse Searching for Consistency at Home

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's lacrosse team suffered its fourth-straight home setback (4-5) on Tuesday night, dropping a non-conference
contest to No. 16 Bucknell by a score of 9-6.

The Nittany Lions went into the game fresh off of their first conference victory of 2012, but the fifth overall loss of the season drops the team below .500.

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"It hurts to go down like this," said senior defenseman Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.). "We have been in almost every game we've lost. We gave it our all today but we just came up a little bit short."

McGarvey tallied his first collegiate goal during the game, and did so in breathtaking fashion.

As Bucknell pulled their goalie to create more defensive pressure on the ball, McGarvey came up with possession and launched a shot nearly the length of the field into the empty net near the end of the first half.

The game was tied entering halftime, but quick scoring and possession control from Bucknell in the third quarter put the game in the visitor's favor.

"We made a choice to limit their looks by playing zone," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "It certainly took the air out of our sails offensively because we didn't have the ball at all."

Penn State was limited to only two shots during the third period, and also found difficulty in clearing the ball throughout the second half.

"It wasn't a case of playing selfish as much as it was not being as aware as we should be offensively," said Tambroni.

Tambroni also attributed his team's setback to the fact that they were forced to play with too much urgency after falling behind quickly in the second half.

As the need to score became more pressing for the Nittany Lions, Bucknell was able to take advantage of the urgency and force six-second half turnovers.

The team will try to move past this loss just like any other, as they have to start preparing for a weekend home game against Villanova.

Next weekend's game against the Wildcats will serve as the final non-conference matchup for the Nittany Lions, followed by four straight CAA games.

As the team tries to shake off their fourth-straight home loss, coaches and players are looking for ways to improve and get some much-needed wins.

"It's the same as always," said sophomore attack Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.). "Hard work, paying attention to details, and teamwork. If we get those three things done, then we have a chance."

Saturday's game against the 12th-ranked Wildcats will serve as the eighth contest of the season against a ranked opponent for Penn State.

Villanova is coming into the contest hot off of an upset victory over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

"Next weekend's game is a must-win," said freshman midfielder Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.). "If we can beat them it will set us on the right track for conference play."

Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Lions Will Look to Leadership to End Losing Streak

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's lacrosse team lost their third straight home game on Tuesday night, suffering a 9-5 setback to Lehigh.

Emotionally drained from a heart-breaking loss to UMass, the Nittany Lions appeared to have rallied at the beginning of this contest, only to run into scoring difficulties in the second half.

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"After the loss to UMASS I thought the guys did a good job of rallying," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "They came out here with a lot of energy...we got a little selfish and Lehigh exposed us."

After the energetic outing in the first quarter, an abundance of penalties and failed extra-man opportunities plagued the team.

"We came out strong and fast, firing on all cylinders," said junior midfielder Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.). "I'm not sure what happened at the end of the game...we just couldn't consistently push a play through."

Six Nittany Lion penalties resulted in three extra-man goals for Lehigh in the second half alone, widening the lead too far for a Penn State comeback.

"We just need to be under more control and stay out of the penalty box," said senior defenseman Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.).

What began as a close, competitive contest was then dominated by the Mountain Hawks after a scoreless third period from the Nittany Lions.

"We didn't do the little things tonight," said Tambroni. "We provided Lehigh with too many opportunities versus having them earn the opportunities."

The loss, which dropped the team below a .500 record, marked the fourth loss of the season to a ranked opponent.

For Coach Tambroni, an increase in confidence and leadership could help get the team back on track.

"Confidence could be an issue moving forward," said Tambroni. "We have to execute every day if we want to be confident."

The Nittany Lions are now entering the bulk of their conference play, in which five of the final seven games will be against CAA opponents.

Second year assistant coach Peter Toner feels that it is important for the team to not underestimate upcoming opponents, as the remaining teams on the schedule aren't currently ranked.

"The season certainly isn't going to get any easier," said Toner. "Every conference game is always tough and physical."

For the players, losing three straight has signaled that they need some improvement, and practice is how they can achieve it.

"We play how we practice," said Henneghan. "At our next practice we need to hit the ground running and try to turn this season into the way we want it to go."

For coaches and players alike, improvement will come through an increase in the team's confidence.

"We need to stay confident, believe in ourselves, and try to get better every day," said sophomore Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.).

The Nittany Lions will take the field again on March 24 when they take on Saint Joseph's for a CAA matchup. Faceoff time is set for 1 p.m.

Lions Won't Dwell on Overtime Loss

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State men's lacrosse team hosted Massachusetts on Saturday in front of hundreds of fans on a sunny spring day in Happy Valley.

The matchup between ranked CAA foes was a back-and-forth battle, consisting of seven lead changes, including Massachusetts's game-winning goal in overtime.

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The sudden-death goal scored by UMass left the Nittany Lions heartbroken and deflated, but Coach Tambroni and his team know that they can't afford to dwell on the loss.

"If we start to feel sorry for ourselves and keep licking our wound for the next couple of days, then we will end up hurting ourselves in the long run," said Tambroni.

As the Nittany Lions will try to move past the painful loss, coaches and players look to ensure that the team will learn a valuable lesson from the setback.

"We need to understand the good things that happened in this game," said Tambroni. "Just the way we competed was a huge step in the right direction for this team."

Senior captain Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) feels that the loss could even serve as a momentum boost for the team.

"We gave them a great show on our home turf but we just came out on the wrong end," said Mackrides. "We can improve from this and take it into our next game."

Mackrides played a pivotal role for the Nittany Lions in the near-upset, tallying three goals and one assist.

The senior's resilient efforts kept Penn State in the game, as two of his three scores came at crucial moments to tie the contest up.

The Nittany Lions controlled the possession for the final minutes of the fourth quarter, as they looked to draw up a play for Mackrides to get off the last shot and break the tie.

Penn State was unable to score in the final possession of regulation, sending the game to sudden-death overtime.

"Matt had been in that situation before," said Tambroni, referring to Mackrides' game-winner against Notre Dame in overtime earlier this season. "We felt like we would give ourselves the best opportunity to score if the ball was in his stick at the end of the game."

Massachusetts scored the game-winner less than three minutes into the extra period, controlling the ball and not giving Penn State an opportunity on offense.

"We were confident heading into overtime," said Mackrides. "Danny Henneghan fought as hard as he could to win the faceoff in overtime but unfortunately UMass came up with possession and we didn't get another chance."

The loss serves as the third of the season for Penn State, as well as the team's second straight home setback.

"Out of our three home games, I felt like this game was the first time we actually competed as a team on our home turf," said Tambroni.

Penn State will have to move on quickly from the loss, as they will play host to 11th-ranked Lehigh on Tuesday night.

 

The game will be the fifth straight against a ranked opponent for the Nittany Lions and will end the team's three-game homestand.

Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.


Home Loss Gives Team a New Perspective

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- A season-long three-game home stand began for the Penn State men's lacrosse team on Saturday, giving the team with an early wake-up call.

The Denver Pioneers defeated the Nittany Lions 14-6 on the sunny day in Happy Valley, handing Penn State just its second loss of the season.

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The loss capped the opening portion of the season, to which head coach Jeff Tambroni describes as "Phase One".

Coach Tambroni had mentioned earlier in the season that an important goal for his team was to have a winning record after the first five games of the season, known to the team as "Phase One".

"We accomplished our goal so to speak," said Tambroni. "We wanted to try to set the standard of winning in 'Phase One', and we did that in the sense that 3-2 is the best record anyone in this locker room has had."

The Nittany Lions' 3-2 record is the best record that any of the 38 players on the roster have had through the first five games during their collegiate careers.

As for providing the team with a wake-up call, Coach Tambroni feels as if this home loss can give his squad an estimation of where they stand compared to the nation's elite.

"We have a long way to go," said Tambroni. "I know that. Our coaching staff knows that, and our players have an idea of that and this loss gives them some perspective."

The Nittany Lions have faced a tough schedule in the opening portion of the season, facing three-straight and four overall ranked opponents.

Saturday's loss ended the team's three-game winning streak, including two huge road victories over then second-ranked Notre Dame and Creator's Trophy rival Ohio State.

Coach Tambroni said that the coaching staff attempted to put together as competitive of a schedule as possible in order to give the team an adequate estimation of their abilities.

As for Saturday's game, the setback signified the first-ever loss for the Nittany Lions on their new home turf.

Penn State had difficulty containing the fast-paced attack of the Pioneers, including Denver's premier senior attackman Mark Matthews, who scored four goals in the contest.

"They moved the ball really well against us," said sophomore defenseman Kessler Brown (Springfield, Va.). "It just seemed like they were one step ahead of us the whole game."

Brown secured two ground balls in the contest, but was unable to force any turnovers to slow down the opposition.

Denver came out roaring on offense, tallying ten goals in the first half, including a deflating score with just one second left in the half.

Coach Tambroni was disappointed with his team's efforts in the first half of play.

"It has been two games in a row that we have come out here on our new turf and played absolutely flat for the first 30 minutes of play," said Tambroni. "It's almost like we don't start playing until the second half."

Penn State was down 10-2 heading into the locker room at halftime, and four second-half goals weren't enough to put together a comeback against the then-11th-ranked Pioneers.

Junior midfielder Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) had a breakout performance, striking the back of the net twice to increase his season goal tally to five.

The Nittany Lions will face yet another ranked opponent next weekend, as the squad will open up conference play with a duel against fellow CAA opponent and third-ranked Massachusetts.

"Phase Two starts with one of our toughest opponents," said Tambroni. "We are aware that this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint."

Faceoff time is set for noon on Saturday at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Team Unity Helps Freshmen Adjust

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Just three games into the regular season, several freshmen have already made a sizeable impact for the Penn State men's lacrosse team.


The youth-laden team, consisting of only four seniors, has called on their younger counterparts to become key contributors at this early point in the season.

"Our younger guys have brought a lot of fresh energy to the field," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "They have made up for their inexperience with a lot of hard work."

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More than a quarter of the Nittany Lion roster is made up of freshman, making their class the largest represented class on the team.

In the opening three games of the Nittany Lions' season, freshmen have already accounted for six points (four goals and two assists).

Freshman attackman Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) has recorded three of those points for Penn State, scoring a goal in his collegiate debut against North Carolina and striking again with a goal and an assist in the home opener against Michigan.

Manley was recently rewarded for his contributions to the team, being named the Colonial Athletic Association's Rookie of the Week last Monday.

"It feels great to be named rookie of the week," Manley said. "It is still a long season and we as a team are going to continue to focus on getting better out there as a group and not just individuals."

Manley is not the only freshman displaying his talents at this early point in the season...he is joined by other point scorers and two defensive starters.

"I like to remind myself that nothing, including playing time, is ever guaranteed," said freshman defenseman Jack Donnelly (Toronto, Ont.). "Every week I come to practice and continue to work hard to make sure I am prepared for our next game."

For Donnelly, collegiate lacrosse brings a completely new style of play. Not only does the native Canadian need to adjust to a new speed, but also a new game all-together. The freshman is accustomed to playing box lacrosse, which is a version of the sport played on a much smaller surface with smaller goals.

Donnelly is accompanied by another freshman, JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.), as a defensive starter. The duo has combined to force five turnovers and collect seven ground balls.

Outstanding offensive and defensive play from freshmen most recently made an impact in Penn State's upset victory over then No. 2/4 Notre Dame.

Freshman Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) picked up two ground balls and tallied a second quarter goal during the upset in South Bend.

Defenseman JP Burnside credits the early impact that freshmen have had to the team's togetherness.

"The camaraderie on this team has definitely helped us younger players adjust," said Burnside. "The older guys always have our back and have helped us out from the day we stepped on campus."

The youthful team can be seen in action again next weekend when they travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Win Over Michigan Serves as Milestone for Nittany Lions

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- A halftime spark propelled the Penn State men's lacrosse team to a victory over Michigan on Saturday.

Following a slow start, the Nittany Lions came out of the locker room after halftime with a flurry of shot attempts and goals.

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The slow start was characterized by turnovers and missed shots but was quickly turned around when Penn State scored nine times in the third quarter.

"In the first half we were playing as a group of individuals when we needed to play like a team," said freshman attack Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.).

Manley tallied a goal and an assist during the contest, making it the second-straight game with a score for the freshman.

For second-year coach Jeff Tambroni, the slow start could be attributed to the team's focus.

"I was hoping we would come out and establish a tone earlier in the game," Tambroni said. "Maybe our guys were a little too amped up and excited about playing for the first time on our new field."

The victory served as a milestone for the Nittany Lions, as it was their first ever win on the new Penn State Lacrosse Field and the first win of the Creator's Trophy series.

The Creator's Trophy is an award that was established by Coach Tambroni, Michigan head coach John Paul, and Ohio State head coach Nick Myers.

The trophy signifies the up-and-coming presence of lacrosse in the Big Ten Conference. One of the three Big Ten Conference lacrosse teams will be awarded the trophy each season if they can earn a perfect 2-0 record against their conference counterparts.

"This win was awesome for us," said senior attack Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.). "It was great to get a win in our first game on our new field and move one win closer to the Creator's Trophy."

Forster was one of nine Nittany Lions scoring in the game, as he tallied five total goals and three assists.

Along with his coaches and teammates, Forster was disappointed in his team's first half struggles.

"I thought we could have played a lot better in the first half," Forster said. "I was glad to see us get back to the basics, move the ball around and get everyone involved in the second half."

The win over the Wolverines does not only serve as the first of the season for the team, but also the first of what Tambroni describes as "phase one".

The team's first phase is described as the first five games of the season...two of which have already been played.

"Our goal is to win phase one," Tambroni said. "If we can go 3-2 or 4-1 in our first five games, we will feel like we have accomplished that goal and it would have been against some pretty good competition."

Penn State's 16-9 victory over Michigan evens the season record up at 1-1 in non-conference play.

The Nittany Lions will be in action again on Sunday, Feb. 26 when they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame at 1 p.m.

Henneghan's Specialties Provide Team with Momentum

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- As junior Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) steps up to the midfield line for an opening faceoff, he knows that he is not alone out there.

"We approach a faceoff in a very team-oriented aspect," said Henneghan. "When I head out to the midfield line, I know it's not just a battle between myself and my faceoff opponent. It is a combination of me, my teammates lined up on the wing, and our opponents."

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The midfielder is entering his second season as the Nittany Lions' faceoff specialist and has won over half of the 300 faceoffs he has taken in games since suiting up in a Penn State uniform.

Faceoffs run in the family for the Henneghans, as Danny's brother Charley was also a faceoff specialist at Penn State from 2006-'09.

Faceoff successes appear as a single-man effort on the stat sheet, but the junior attributes his achievements to his teammates.

"I have to give the most credit to my teammate Tim Golder," said Henneghan. "I wouldn't be where I am today without him. He pushes me and makes me a lot better and I try to do the same for him."

Henneghan and sophomore attack Tim Golder (Cochranville, Pa.) compete in faceoff drills against one another in nearly every practice. While both players gain experience and knowledge from the drills, the loser of the drills is subject to pushups.

Henneghan is not the only Nittany Lion that attributes his faceoff success to teamwork, but coaches do as well.

"We are hoping that possession by committee is more of what we will become as a team as we work through the season," said Jeff Tambroni, who is entering his second season as Penn State's head coach.

Although the team plays a crucial role in improving Henneghan's chances of winning a faceoff, the entire squad gets a boost when the junior is playing well as an individual.

"When Danny plays well, we get an enormous advantage on the field in possession time and momentum," Tambroni said. "It is nice to have the luxury of a specialist like Danny with that mentality and capability."

The opening faceoff in Saturday's game against Michigan will be more than a routine start to a contest for Henneghan and the Nittany Lions. It will be the beginning of a new legacy that Penn State lacrosse is striving to create.

"I can't wait to get out on our brand new field in front of our fans," said Henneghan. "It should be quite the experience walking out for that opening faceoff for the first game at our new home."

Henneghan and the Nittany Lions look to significantly improve their faceoff win percentage in this game compared to the last outing at the season opener against North Carolina. In 28 faceoff attempts, the team only won nine, contributing to North Carolina's control of possession and eventual victory.

"I just need to get back to basics," said Henneghan. "I need to stop worrying about what the referees and my opponents are doing and instead I need to focus on myself and what I have done in faceoffs throughout my career."

The Penn State men's lacrosse team will take their new field for the first time this Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Michigan Wolverines.

Intensity Runs High at Season-Opening Scrimmage

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State men's lacrosse team opened the exhibition season on Saturday afternoon against Army.

For head coach Jeff Tambroni, the exhibition game served as an important experience-builder for the young team.

7385219.jpeg"It is very important for our young guys to get experience this early in the season," said Tambroni. "This game had the potential to break in our freshman pretty quickly, given the athleticism and physicality that Army plays with."

Freshman Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) wasn't phased by the speed of Division I athletics in his first collegiate game against opponents other than his own teammates.

"The pace of the game was definitely faster than high school," said Manley. "I felt prepared for the speed from our preseason and fall practices."

Manley and his teammates were pleased with the crowd drawn inside of Holuba Hall for the contest.

"We tried to get the word out about our scrimmage," said senior Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "It was really nice to look over and see our fans cheering us on and giving us a good show."

The Nittany Lions are hoping that they can continue to draw big crowds, especially with the addition of a new lacrosse-only facility to call home.

"We understand that we are in the middle of a building process," said Tambroni. "We have to put a product on the field that people will want to come out and support."

Coaches and players hope that intensity and execution can assist in creating the crowd-drawing product that they strive for.

"The intensity on our sideline is awesome," said Mackrides. "I love playing for these guys and this team because when you make a play out there, they scream for you. The intensity was high and that's the way it should be."

The Nittany Lions will face Johns Hopkins next Saturday in Baltimore, Md., and will look to bring that same intensity against a perennial power in college lacrosse.

The game will be the second and final exhibition game of the preseason before the Nittany Lions open the regular season against North Carolina in Kennesaw, Ga.

"This is a huge week for us because it is really our last week of preparation before we start playing for real," said assistant coach Peter Toner. "We have to play with intensity for 60 straight minutes when we face Johns Hopkins next Saturday."

Some players suggest that they have to bring more than just intensity into next weekend's contest.

"We need to bring heart," said sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.), "We have to come out flying around and execute all of the small details. We have to make sure we do everything right."

Executing and focusing on the small details was something that the team did well in Saturday's first scrimmage against Army.

Coaches and players saw an upside to their game, but scrimmages are used as building blocks for the regular season.

"I am hopeful that we will learn a lot from this game," said Tambroni. "We had some highs in the first half but some real lows in the second half. We have to do a better job of tightening up."

The Nittany Lions will play away games the next two weekends, before returning to University Park for their regular season home opener against Michigan on Sat., Feb. 18.

Nittany Lions Eager to Begin 2012 Season

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- As the opening faceoff inches closer for the Penn State men's lacrosse team, coaches and captains stress the importance of focus and detail to the team.

Less than one year ago, the Nittany Lions were ousted from the playoffs in an overtime loss to UMass in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals. With the heartbreaking loss still fresh in their minds, coaches and players look to learn from last year's mistakes.

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"The game last year against UMass is something that gets us motivated," said senior captain Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.). "We are going to bring a lot of focus to every single play and detail this year, which could have helped us avoid that loss last season."

The goal that abruptly ended the Nittany Lions' season came just 1:37 into the overtime period, effectively ending Jeff Tambroni's inaugural season as head coach of Penn State (7-7, 4-2 CAA).

This season, the coaching staff has expectations of the team to exceed last year's win total.

"Everyone being a year older is going to help us out this season," said Peter Toner, entering his second season as assistant coach. "We played a tough schedule, got a playoff opportunity against UMass, and hopefully it lights a little fire in their belly with the way it ended last year."

The Nittany Lions have only four seniors on the roster entering this new season. The team may not consist of many veterans, but they insist that leadership and success are found in other forms.

"We come together very closely as a group," McGarvey said. "The leadership on our team comes from the whole collective group, not just a few seniors...it is a collective effort."

Leading a team that consists mainly of freshmen and sophomores presents a very important role for the team captains.

"We need to bring the young guys on board and make them realize how important every season is," said senior captain Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "We want to get as far as possible. Our goal is always that National Championship, but we are just going to move one day at a time."

Surrounding the lacrosse program is the hype of the newly constructed lacrosse field near the Bryce Jordan Center. The new field, constructed of a synthetic FieldTurf, lays lower in the ground for better sight lines and improved visibility of the ball.

The major construction finished recently, allowing for the men and women's teams to begin using the field for practice and games if the weather permits.

"The new field is very exciting for us as players," said senior captain Ryan Link (Englewood, Co.). "We will be the first to get out there and cement our legacy on that field. Penn State lacrosse is starting to generate a lot of excitement across campus."

The field is intended for lacrosse only activities, and provides a home to the lacrosse program after years of playing on numerous fields around campus. Not only does it benefit the current program, but also has meaning for recruiting.

"Our recruits will get to see the level of commitment that the athletic department has in Penn State lacrosse," Toner said. "Now it is up to the team to work hard every day to make sure that we are taking this program in the right direction."

The Nittany Lions hope to host their first game on the new field on March 10 against Denver.

Before the season officially gets under way, Penn State will play in two exhibition games. The Nittany Lions will host their first exhibition game on Sat., Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. against Army in Holuba Hall. The next exhibition game will be played on Sat., Feb. 4 vs. Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md.

"While we love scrimmaging against each other, it is great to get another opponent out there on the field," Mackrides said. "It motivates us in practice to know that Army is coming in just a few days or that Johns Hopkins, one of the best teams in the country, is just in a couple of weeks."

The Nittany Lions will open the regular season on the road on Sat., Feb. 11 against North Carolina in Kennesaw, Ga.