By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's lacrosse (9-3, 4-0 CAA) has once
again cracked the top-10 rankings, coming in at No. 9 after a 10-8 win over
Towson on Saturday.
While freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) paced the Nittany Lions with five
goals and junior goalie Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) won the battle of two
terrific goaltenders, Saturday was all about the seniors.
Kaut said the team wanted to thank the seniors for all their hard work and
leadership with a win on senior day.
"On a day like
this, a gorgeous day, senior day, we went out and played hard for our seniors,"
Kaut said. "They led us the whole way and we came out with a win."
Head coach Jeff Tambroni was proud of the production he got from the
seniors. He has preached all season that senior leadership is a key component
coming down the stretch, and Sanders agrees with him.
"Every team that
wants to do something special in a season needs great senior leadership,"
Sanders said. "That's what we have so we have to keep working away."
Let's meet the seniors that have contributed to the success and growth
of Penn State lacrosse.
Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.)
The redshirt senior has racked up the points during his six years at Penn
State and has been one of the most prolific scorers in Penn State history.
Forster has tallied 41 points this season to lead the Nittany Lions and has now
amassed 132 points in 50 games career games. He is four goals from tying John
Hollerbach for 10th all-time with 94 goals and two points from tying
Bill Hess for 10th in points with 134.
The wily veteran played a big role in the second half against Towson, scoring
an incredible no-look goal in the fourth quarter. He also got his teammates
involved with three helpers, all in the third quarter.
Forster extended his point streak to 24, dating back to March 3, 2012 and
has 11 career hat tricks. Tambroni lauded Forster's scoring ability, but is
even more impressed with his leadership qualities.
"His leadership, poise is about as good as I've been around," Tambroni
said. "He never gets rattled. Even in tighter situations he plays with the same
poise as if we were up five goals or if it was a summer league game. Our guys
feed off that."
Forster has had to persevere through an injury-plagued career at Penn
State, but he believes it has made him an even stronger leader.
"It's been a long journey and its sad it's coming to an end with the last
home game here," Forster said. "It means a lot and it should be very memorable."
Majoring in business, he still isn't sure what he will do after leaving
Penn State, but remains focused on the rest of the season. Forster couldn't
pinpoint one special memory, but highlighted the time he spent with his
"I'm thankful for all the friendships I made through all the years I've
been here," Forster said. "I met a lot of good guys and made a lot of great
friendship here. Hopefully this game will be my favorite memory."
Travis Crane (Parkville, Md.)
Sharing captaincy duties with Forster, Crane has made a big impact for the
Nittany Lions both on the field and in the locker room. Tambroni is proud of
the way he and Forster lead the team and presented themselves as players and
"As a worker, very few guys are at his level," Tambroni said of Crane. "He
comes to practice and comes to weights every day and gives absolutely
everything he has."
Crane said he was honored to be named captain and that it was a great way
to end his Penn State career.
"Knowing that the players and coaches have a lot of respect and trust in
you to lead the team in the right direction, it's an absolute honor to be in
this position," Crane said.
A transfer after his sophomore year, Crane has been one of Penn State's
most consistent midfielders on the defensive end. Before his last home game,
Crane said he was excited for the opportunity to wrap up his career playing in
Happy Valley against a Towson school that is only five minutes away from his
"I'm really looking forward to playing them and a CAA opponent and we want
to continue being undefeated in the CAA," Crane said before the win against
Towson. "I'm looking forward to playing with all these [seniors] in our last
Crane said that spending time with his teammates was something he will
never forget. His favorite memories from his career were wins against two
"Beating Notre Dame my junior year was my favorite moment," Crane said. "Then
probably this year beating Denver in the Moe's Southwest Classic was a big win
Crane just finished a graduate school program in education leadership and
said he will be working in New York City as a corporate stockbroker starting
Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.)
While not playing the flashiest position on the team, Henneghan has been
crucial to Penn State's success during his four years as the main faceoff man.
He finds his name in the Penn State record books, ranking sixth all-time in faceoff
percentage and is two ground balls away from 10th in Penn State
history with 202.
Henneghan said that looking back as a freshman, he never thought his last
game would come. He was excited about the senior day festivities, but also knew
that the team still has a job to do.
"Now that it's here, it's cool to be here with all these guys, my fellow
seniors," Henneghan said. "At the end of the day we want to make sure we're
prepared first as a class, and as a whole team. We just want to take care of
business on the field."
Henneghan's mindset since he was a freshman has completely changed, and he
said he is much more invested as a lacrosse player and a student of Penn State.
He said the past four years are something he will always remember.
"It's becoming an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life,"
Henneghan said. "Where I am now as a senior, it was everything that I hoped it
would be. It's something I will be able to cherish and look back on in years to
There have been many high points in Henneghan's career, but his favorite
has family ties dating back to practicing faceoffs in his backyard with the
person who introduced him to lacrosse.
"My freshman year getting to play with my older brother was very special,"
Henneghan said. "I think having an opportunity to play with him because it is
something I was never able to do. Getting to come here and play on a Division I
college team was something I will remember for the rest of my life."
Henneghan, a business major, has no set plan for after school, but joked
saying, "My goal is to make a lot of money."
Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
After struggling in the beginning of his senior season, Dolik has become an
offensive force during Penn State's seven-game winning streak, scoring six
goals and dishing out five assists. Tambroni admires the way Dolik never got
discouraged and continued to work his way into the offense.
"Instead of going in a different direction and feeling sorry for himself as
a senior, he got right back to work and has never looked back," Tambroni said.
"I think the correlation between Nick's success and our team's success is very
Dolik kept a business-like attitude heading into his last home game with
Penn State. He finished the game with a goal and an assist. Dolik noted that
there has been a major transformation in fan support throughout his four years.
"I feel like this
year we have our home team fans and it's really exciting," Dolik said.
"Everyone comes out and when we get a good day...it's exciting. I think it's
growing a lot from my freshman year to now. There are so many more fans so it's
fun and it's on the rise."
While it has been a successful season for the senior last hoorah, Dolik
said there is still a higher potential that the team can reach. The team is
expecting more from one another and Dolik said that relationship with his
teammates is something he will always remember.
"Hopefully we have more good experiences coming up," Dolik said. "Just
getting to know the guys and becoming that tight group has been awesome. All
the little experiences in the locker room and games and whatnot. You remember
scoring goals and games, but I'll just remember being with the team and those
Dolik described his Penn State experience as a growing process and one that
he is very fortunate to have had. He wants to finish out the year strong before
graduating and moving on to life after lacrosse.
"I'm trying to worry about the season," Dolik said. I'm looking to work out
east somewhere. Hopefully I find a job and might work up in New York City maybe
in insurance or something like that."
Drew Roper (Columbus, Ohio)
Roper has enjoyed his career at Penn State. Although scoring just two
goals, they both came in pivotal games for the Nittany Lions. He scored a game-tying
goal in the Nittany Lion's 4-3 overtime win at Notre Dame last season and the
eventual winning goal in a 8-3 victory at Towson. This season, Roper has one
assist in two games played.
Roper was excited for his last home game and to wind down an eventful Penn
State career. He said that through the coaching changes and the 100th
year of Penn State lacrosse that he has enjoyed the ride.
"We never thought this moment was going to come, and it won't hit us until
after it happens," Roper said. "I'm happy I'm with this group of guys for the
last home game together."
Roper played extended minutes on senior day and deservingly so. Roper made
a key pass on freshman TJ Sanders' (Orillia, Ont.) fifth goal. He also caused a
turnover in the final seconds to seal the win for Penn State, earning praise
from his coach.
"There's a guy
(Roper) who was on the bench for seven or eight games," Tambroni said, "and he
makes a big play there at the end of the game. We were thankful to come away
with a win in the last regular season home game."
Roper is proud of the way the team has prepared and displayed hard work
throughout the season, and attributes the team's success to Tambroni and the
"Coach came in two and half years ago and we've been working up to this point,"
Roper said. "We have to attribute it to all the hard work that we've done in
the past few years coming from a different coaching staff. It's all paying off
this year and hopefully we keep improving."
Roper said that beating Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. was his favorite
memory. He is a finance major and still figuring out his plans for after
Eric Davidheiser (Vashon, Wash.)
The senior midfielder has dressed in 11 games, taking five shots and
scooping up two ground balls. Davidheiser said that while others may be taking
the last home game as the end, he is looking forward to continuing to be part
of the Penn State family and is proud of his teammates.
"Obviously we still have games left this season, but even after this season
we will still be part of the Penn State Lacrosse family," Davidheiser said. "We
talk about leaving the place better than we found and I think this senior class
has done that. This team has fought through adversity and showed what the Penn
State way is."
Davidheiser admitted that it is sad that he won't see his teammates every
day, but looking back at his experience, he is proud of the way his team always
raised to the occasion.
"Each one of us has our own story and our own path that got us here,"
Davidheiser said. "That has made us so much stronger because we have these
outside stories to draw from and think on how we can do things differently. As
a whole, this class with the experience that we've had has the opportunity to
turn bad experience to good."
Davidheiser, like many of his other teammates, said that he will always
remember the upset over No. 2 Notre Dame last season. He said he was proud to
see one of his best friends, Drew Roper, score such a big goal in the game.
Davidheiser is an Economics major and is moving west to Seattle, Wash. to
take a job as a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual.
Conor Baucum (Chevy Chase, Md.)
Baucum has appeared in five career games for the Nittany Lions, including
two this season against Binghamton and Saint Joseph's.
Growing up 30 minutes away from Towson, Baucum said that it was special
having the Tigers be the team he ends his home career against. He knows that it
is not the end and hopes that the team can keep winning this season.
"It's huge to have this be the celebration of our four years," Baucum said.
"Even when I'm gone from here, I know I'll be coming back for games and I'm
excited to be part of this family."
Baucum said that the relationships he made throughout his career are
something he will remember for the rest of his life. He said that the win at
Notre Dame was special to him, but for other reasons than his teammates.
"For me, the Notre Dame win was different," Baucum said. "My best friend
was on Notre Dame and that was the only time we ever faced each other since
high school. Both of us being goalies,
it was special and that was the only time I've ever beaten him."
Baucum is a Communications Arts and Sciences major and hopes to go into
advertising after graduation.
David Spadacene (Bethel Park, Pa.)
Spadacene transferred to Penn State after spending two years at Presbyterian College. He has not suited up for Nittany Lions in his two seasons, but is still a major contributor in the locker room.
He said it is a sad experience going into the last game, but will cherish the time he had with his teammates.
"Being in the locker room at 5 a.m. on Friday mornings with the boys," Spadacene recalled as his favorite memory. "That anticipation going into workouts or practice and being with everyone and knowing it's that early in the morning and everyone is working hard is something I will always remember."
Spadacene is a Labor Studies Employment major and still has no plans for after graduation.
John Cugini (Springfield, Pa.)
Another transfer, Cugini spent two years at Denver University before coming to Penn State. Cugini has not seen playing time during his two years at Penn State, but recalled being accepted with open arms by his teammates as his most memorable moment.
"My favorite memory is becoming a member of the team," Cugini. "It was really exciting to finally be able to play with all these guys. Just finally joining the group and being accepted at first was very memorable."
Cugini is proud of what he and the team have accomplished during his brief time at Penn State.
"It's sad, but exciting to know that we made it to this point of senior day because as a freshman you think it so far away," Cugini said. "It's sad, but it's an accomplishment that I made it this far."
Majoring in Biology, Cugini hopes to get his degree and enter a helping profession.
Schmitt is the team manager for the Nittany Lions and is bittersweet about
the last home game. Although he will miss being around the team, he feels that
the senior class is leaving Penn State a better place than when the class came
Schmitt said that the standards of Penn State lacrosse have drastically
changed from when he came in as a freshman. He credits the coaching staff for
continuing to raise the bar and that the sky is the limit for the program
"I think it's amazing to see from a strategic management point of view,"
Schmitt said. "The goals that this program has set for itself and being able to
achieve some of those things and still set higher and lofty goals have been
While playing the last home game last weekend was special, Schmitt will
always remember all the fun and success the team had on the road.
"Just being on the road and bonding with the guys," Schmitt said. "Our
record on the road is incredible. The time and comradery having meals and being
on a set schedule with everyone together, we have had a lot of success. It's
attested to the togetherness of the program and how we hold ourselves when we
Schmitt will get his degree in Hotel Restaurant Institutional Management.
After graduation, he will be working for a fast-casual restaurant group called
the Taco Truck in the New York City area. Schmitt will be starting out in a
management position of a brand new restaurant and hopes to grow with the young