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Nittany Lion Men's Lacrosse Awaits NCAA Fate

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the day of the 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament selection show, let's take a look at what the Nittany Lions need to fall in place to receive one of nine at-large bids.

Tournament Information:
61 teams compete in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse. By season's end, the field is narrowed to just 16 teams that compete in the NCAA tournament.
Seven conferences receive automatic bids if they win their conference tournaments (America East, BIG EAST, Colonial Athletic Association, ECAC, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic, Patriot League).
The remaining nine spots in the tournament belong to at-large bids.
2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships will take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Conference Championships:

NOTE: All rankings are Men's Lacrosse RPI.

ECAC Championship (May 4, 2012)

- No. 3 Loyola Md. def. No. 15 Fairfield, 14-7
- Loyola earns automatic bid for winning ECAC.
- What Penn State needed: A Loyola win was a plus for the Nittany Lions, as Penn State needs as many favored teams to win their conference championships as possible.

Patriot League Championship (May 4, 2012)
- No. 6 Lehigh def. No. 9 Colgate, 16-14
- Lehigh earns automatic bid for winning Patriot League.
- What Penn State needed: A Lehigh win was a positive for Penn State, although Colgate may still earn an at-large bid.

America East Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 39 Stony Brook def. No. 40 Albany, 14-8
- Stony Brook earns the automatic bid for winning the America East.
- What Penn State needed: The loser of this contest will not receive an at-large bid in the tournament, meaning that the outcome did not affect the Nittany Lions.

BIG EAST Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 19 Syracuse def. No. 29 St. Johns, 12-4
- Syracuse earned the automatic bid for winning the BIG EAST.
- What Penn State needed: The way things unfolded in the BIG EAST was a blow to the Nittany Lions after St. Johns defeated Notre Dame.  The fact that Notre Dame will likely an at-large bids could hurt the Lions' chances.

CAA Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 2 UMass def. No. 20 Drexel, 18-12
- UMass earns the automatic bid for winning the CAA.
- What Penn State needed: The Nittany Lions needed UMass to win to avoid the Minutemen taking up another at-large bid if they were to lose.

Ivy League Championship (May 6, 2012)
- No. 22 Yale vs. No. 12 Princeton
- What Penn State needs: The Nittany Lions need Princeton to win this game, because Yale is not likely to receive an at-large bid if they are defeated.

MAAC Championship (May 6, 2012)
- No. 48 Canisius vs. No. 32 Siena
- What Penn State needs: Due to the low RPI rankings of these two teams, the team that falls in this contest most likely will not receive an at-large bid.

Where the Nittany Lions stand:
- 9-6, 5-1 CAA
- RPI: 11
- Top 5 RPI wins: Notre Dame
- Top 25 RPI wins: Drexel, Ohio State, Villanova, Hofstra
- Penn State can be considered a "bubble team" as of right now because the Nittany Lions are riding on several outcomes to boost their chances of earning an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Lions Pull Off Dramatic Comeback on Senior Day

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It is unusual for a 14-game regular season to be summarized in just a single game, but with the way the Penn State men's lacrosse team battled back against Hofstra on Saturday, that is exactly what was done.


The Nittany Lions erased a four-goal deficit heading into the fourth quarter to score a dramatic 9-8 double overtime victory over Hofstra on Senior Day.

"Our play today was an example of what we have been like all year," said head coach Jeff Tambroni following the victory.

"We battled through some adversity this year but we fought back and continued to believe in ourselves and our system and we found wins at the end of the year," Tambroni said. "That is the same way we battled today."

The Nittany Lions were quickly put in check after Hofstra scored four-straight first quarter goals.

"We started off really slow but we kept the faith and we continued to believe," said senior attackman Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.), who registered his 97th, 98th and 99th career goals against the Pride.

"We said we needed possessions and we needed to execute small details like getting ground balls--we knew if we did that, then we had a chance."

Entering the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions found themselves down by four goals with NCAA Tournament hopes in their minds.

Execution of details and possession time translated into an emphatic comeback that was sparked by a Mackrides' goal just a minute into the final quarter.

Following Mackrides' score, Penn State piled on five of the next six goals that would be scored in the game, including a dramatic score with just 18 seconds remaining from sophomore Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) that sent the contest into overtime.

In the sudden death overtime period, the Nittany Lions had trouble gaining possession, but lockdown defense held Hofstra from scoring, and sent the game into a second overtime frame.

"There was no magic formula for our defense," said assistant coach Peter Toner. "We just figured out what Hofstra was doing and we were able to make adjustments on defense that kept the ball out of the net."

The Pride secured possession yet again in the second overtime period, but a fantastic between-the-legs-save by goaltender Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) gave the ball back to the Nittany Lions, and led to the game-winning score.

"I knew that [one of Hofstra's attackman] was a righty from our scouting report," said Kaut. "I knew he would try to go to the right side of the net and I noticed that they liked to shoot in the five-hole, so I guessed correctly and ended up making the save."

The save gave the Nittany Lions possession with just under two minutes remaining in the period. After a Penn State timeout, sophomore Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) and Matt Mackrides executed a play that led to Sturgis flinging the ball into the back of the net and securing the sudden-death victory.

"The game-winner was all about putting two of our best scorers out there in Shane and Matt and letting them work together," said Tambroni.

Once the comeback was complete, the team rushed the field and celebrated around Sturgis, whose goal secured the team's fifth win in a row.

"To cap off the season with an overtime win for our seniors and our entire team was something special," said Tambroni.

The comeback wouldn't have been possible without a key chain of events that turned the momentum in favor of the Nittany Lions.

A dramatic game-tying shot, lock-down defense, a crucial save, and a well executed play led to the emotional victory.

As for the play of the seniors, Mackrides wasn't the only veteran making an impact.

Senior attack Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) registered three points, midfielder Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) caused a turnover and picked up five ground balls, and defenseman Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) picked up one ground ball before leaving the contest after an apparent head injury.

The win caps off the regular season and gives Penn State a 5-1 record in the CAA, translating into the second seed in the CAA Tournament.

The Nittany Lions will host Drexel on Wednesday in the semifinal round of the CAA playoffs, and barring a win and a Massachusetts loss, the team could host yet another CAA Tournament game on Saturday, May 5.

Wednesday's faceoff against the Dragons is set for 7 p.m.

Men's Lacrosse Seniors Reflect on Career

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While Saturday's game against Hofstra won't be the final home game for the Penn State men's lacrosse team, it is sure to be an emotional night for the seniors.


The CAA matchup and final regular season game will serve as "Senior Night" for Penn State's five graduating players.

All five seniors have played influential roles for the Nittany Lions at one point or another, each with at least a season's worth of starts under their belts.

"It is going to be a weird feeling putting that jersey on for the last time," said attackman Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "Being with these seniors for the past four years has been a great journey and it means everything to me."

Mackrides is entering Saturday's contest with 96 career goals, which is tied for sixth all-time in program history.

As for his plans after graduating from Penn State, the consistent scorer plans on pursuing a career with Major League Lacrosse. He was drafted 26th overall in the 2012 MLL Draft by the Chesapeake Bayhawks.

"I am excited for the opportunity and the experience to play for the Chesapeake Bayhawks but for now my focus is on Penn State lacrosse," Mackrides said.

Mackrides has not been alone on the attack for Penn State throughout his four prolific seasons--he is joined by fellow senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.), who is in the midst of a career-high season in multiple statistical categories.

"It has been the best part of my day everyday to come in here and compete with these guys," said Forster.

The redshirt senior has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, losing the 2008 and 2010 season to knee injuries. This season has been injury-free for Forster and he is leading the team in all offensive categories.

"It has been a relief [to be injury-free], knock on wood, and I feel a hundred times better than last season," he said.

On the other side of the ball, seniors Dave Baker (Havertown, Pa.), Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.), and Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) are also starting to feel the emotions arise as their collegiate careers wind down.

"I feel like we are never really done with Penn State lacrosse," said Baker. "We may be graduating but we will always feel like a part of this team."

Baker started 13 games in 2010 in the goal for the Nittany Lions and remains an integral part of the team as he provides leadership and motivation on the sidelines.

Following graduation, Baker plans to pursue a master's degree in education.

Helping Baker out on the defensive side of the ball is defenseman Ryan McGarvey, who scored his first-career goal this season from nearly the length of the field in a loss to Bucknell.

The preseason All-CAA defenseman has appeared in 40 games for the Nittany Lions over the course of his career and has been the foundation of the tenth-best scoring defense in the country during 2012.

Joining McGarvey in a consistent career of appearances is midfielder Ryan Link, who has appeared in 43 games in his career and leads the team in caused turnovers.

Link is a diverse player, whose abilities include playing on both sides of the field and switching from short-pole to long-pole at points during games.

The relatively small senior class, making up only five of a 38-man roster has been influential in the team's late season push towards the playoffs.

"From start to finish they have done an unbelievable job," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "They set the culture for this team on and off the field."

Coach Tambroni, in his second year as head coach, joined the program after this group of seniors already had two seasons under their belts.

"They are leaving this place better than they found it," he said.  "
Their legacy is embedded in a very strong foundation and I hope when they look back they will see their footprint on Penn State lacrosse for years to come."

Faceoff against Hofstra is set for noon on Saturday. Win or lose, the team will host a first round game of the CAA Tournament on May 2 at 7 p.m.

Lions Push Towards the Playoffs With Emphatic Win

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The pouring rain and physical Delaware attack couldn't slow down a dominant team performance by the Penn State men's lacrosse squad on Saturday night.

The conference foes didn't waste any time, each scoring a goal within the first four minutes of the opening period.


With four first-half lead changes, the contest started as an evenly matched battle, but the Nittany Lion took control after the break.  The team exploded out of the locker room after halftime and scored four-third quarter goals on their way to a 13-9 win.

"We made a few adjustments at halftime but overall we stuck to our game plan," said senior captain Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "This win is exactly what we needed as a team and we came out and did it tonight."

Mackrides registered his 23rd, 24th,and 25th goals of the season on Saturday night, making it the ninth multi-goal game of the season for the senior.

The captain was one of five Nittany Lions finding the back of the net against the Blue Hens, and four of those five put up multi-goal performances.

"We knew we needed to come out hot in the second half," said sophomore attack Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.). "It didn't matter who or what it was, but we needed a spark."

LaCrosse may have been that spark for the Nittany Lions himself, scoring three second-half goals--including a score just 55 seconds into the third quarter.

"It really was a team effort tonight," said LaCrosse. "If Danny Henneghan didn't get hot we never would have had the possession time that we did."

Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) was instrumental in Penn State's third quarter push. The junior won five of seven faceoffs in the period, contributing to the Nittany Lions dominant second half possession time.  

Another spark for the Lions was sophomore attack Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) who tallied four goals and two assists during the rainy contest.

Sturgis attributed his dominant offensive performance to his teammates and their ability to move without the ball.

As Penn State started to pull away in the second half, the game took a physical turn. Delaware was called for two unnecessary roughness penalties in the final minutes, but the Nittany Lions kept cool heads.

"Credit our seniors--they have done a great job of setting the tone of our team," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "We remain who we are here at Penn State. We preach to our players to play with emotion but not to let their emotions get the best of them."

The sound of the horn at the end of the fourth quarter meant more than just a win to the Nittany Lions. In their first year playing at the new Penn State Lacrosse Field, the team clinched a No. 2 seed in the CAA Tournament, earning the right to host a playoff game.

"Clinching the No. 2 seed is huge," said sophomore goaltender Austin Kaut. "The CAA is such a competitive league and having our first playoff game be at home is a big deal for us."

The team hosted a CAA Tournament game last season, but lost in overtime to Massachusetts.

"It takes a lot of stress of our backs just to have two more home games," said LaCrosse. "It will be a good way to get settled in to the playoff mindset having a home tournament game."

Before the team can gear its mindset towards hosting a CAA Tournament game, they must get through Hofstra first.

"We need to win as many games as we can and start thinking about the big picture...and that starts with Hofstra," said Tambroni. "In no way shape or form are we looking too far ahead but it is important for us to keep up the momentum and get another win."

Penn State will host Hofstra next Saturday for the final game of their regular season. Faceoff is set for noon at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Relationship Between Goalies Helps Kaut Flourish

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By Jackson Thibodeau, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second season in a row, sophomore Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) is among the top goalies in the nation, serving as a security blanket for his team's defense.

"Goalies are like the quarterback of the defense in lacrosse," said Kaut. "As a goalie it's my responsibility to communicate with the defense and make sure everyone is in their spot."


Starting in the net for the second-straight year, Kaut is continuing to exhibit spectacular play that earned him CAA Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman.

In his impressive rookie campaign, the net minder topped several NCAA statistical lists, including save percentage (.635) and saves per game (13.64).

"Austin is one of the best goalies in the country, and it's great to work with him," said teammate and fellow goalie Conor Baucum (Chevy Chase, Md.).

Baucum, a junior, has seen limited in-game action in the net, and has found other ways to help out his team.

"I've become kind of a 'rah-rah' guy on the sidelines," said Baucum. "This is what I can do to help the team and if it keeps up the enthusiasm, then we can play better as a result."

Sparking intensity and motivation is not the only method of contribution for Baucum. He and fellow goalie Dave Baker (Havertown, Pa.) help on the offensive side of the ball when they stay back at practice and tend the net while the offense practices their shooting and accuracy.

"We have a really tight-knit pack of goalies on this team, and that's how it should be," said Baucum. He explained how the three goalies share tips and strategies to help each other improve.

As for Kaut, the presence of the other goalies on the roster helps him stay sharp.

"Having them nipping at my toes at practice to get my spot keeps me going," said Kaut. "It prompts me to work hard on and off the field to become the best goalie I can be."

Kaut has seen the majority of the action in the goal this season, and his put up impressive numbers against challenging opponents and skilled offenses.

The goalie ranks in the top 10 in the nation in goals against average and save percentage, which is an impressive feat considering the competition he has faced.

The Nittany Lions have faced eight ranked opponents this season, and of those teams, Kaut has tended the net against four teams in the top-ten in scoring offense.

In a loss to No. 16 Bucknell, Kaut allowed nine goals, which is significantly less than the astounding 13.33 goals per game average scored by the Bison.

The sophomore still has a difficult test ahead, as the team will face four-straight conference opponents to round out the season.

"We are ready for our upcoming games," said Kaut. "We have our work cut out for us because we need to get some wins and get a nice spot in the CAA tournament."

The Penn State men's lacrosse team will face Drexel in Philadelphia on Saturday. Faceoff is slated for 2 p.m.

Third Quarter Surge Lifts Lions Over Villanova

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By Jackson Thibodeau, 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.


"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, 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.


"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, 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.


"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, 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.


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, 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.


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.