Recently in Men's Lacrosse Category
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It has been a season of streaks for the Penn State
men's lacrosse (2-3) so far in 2013. The No. 18 Nittany Lions look to get back
in the win column with trip to Amherst to face No. 19 UMass (3-3) on Saturday
to open CAA conference play.
Penn State is coming off of its third-straight loss against Lehigh last
Saturday. Senior midfielder Travis Crane (Parkville, Md.) said that the team has to put the focus on playing well
in the CAA and not about the national rankings.
"Starting the CAA 1-0 is the focus and to get back on a winning streak,"
Crane said. "We want to improve all this week and then the result will take
care of itself."
CAA play will be critical for the Nittany Lions, and UMass poses the
tallest task right from the jump. Not only are the Minutemen reigning CAA
conference champions, but they also defeated the Nittany Lions 9-8 in overtime
last season in Happy Valley. Senior attacker Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.)
said there is a little extra fire coming into the game.
"It's our first CAA game it's a huge game coming up," Forster said.
"Especially because [UMass] beat us at home the past two games in overtime.
It's a little added motivation."
Head coach Jeff Tambroni isn't changing anything tactically or with
personnel for the matchup with UMass. He said the factor missing the recent
three-game slide is the ability to make key plays down the stretch.
"It has nothing to do with our effort or our talent," Tambroni said. "It
has a lot to do with playing in the moment and with enough discipline,
especially when the game gets tight, to provide us an opportunity to win
An encouraging sign for Penn State against Lehigh was its resiliency to
battle back after trailing 5-1 at halftime. That resiliency to battle back must
be on display against a UMass, especially on the defensive end late in games.
The Penn State defense has given up 30 goals in the second half compared to 18
in the first.
"We're a resilient group, but we need to focus on finishing games," Crane
said. "We put ourselves in positions to be successful. Now it's just about
making plays in the moment at the end of games."
UMass is currently on a three-game losing streak, as well. After impressive
victories against No. 4 North Carolina and Harvard, the Minutemen face the same
challenges as the Nittany Lions.
The UMass offense is feeling the loss of 2012 USILA All-American and CAA
Player of the Year senior Will Manny, who was injured in the victory against
North Carolina. The diminutive attackman was the catalyst of the Minuteman
attack, scoring 44 goals and dishing out 33 helpers in 2012.
The Minutemen score by committee, unlike Penn State's attack-driven
offense. Five players have tallied double-digit points, led by senior attackman
Kyle Smith with 15 points.
Penn State's attack trio continues to rack up the points, scoring 41 of the
team's 54 goals this season. Freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) continues to
impress, scoring five goals in each of his last two games. The three-time CAA
Rookie of the Week leads Penn State with 18 goals.
"For a freshman he plays with such tremendous poise," Tambroni said of
Sanders. "He is an extremely passionate and fiery young man. He is so invested
in his teammates with the way he studies the game. Everything he does is about
putting our team in a position to win.
On the defensive end, Penn State's experience between the pipes is an
advantage. Junior Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) continues to look strong for the
Nittany Lions, and is now 98 for 105 on clears this season.
UMass boasts freshman Zach Oliveri in net, who hasn't played like a rookie
so far this season. The Ronkonkoma, N.Y. native is 21st in the NCAA with a 8.91
goals-against average and fourteenth in save percentage posting a .579.
The two CAA foes are similar in a variety of ways this season. Crane said
that the two teams have a mutual respect for one another, and they are both going
to come out hard to open up conference play.
"We try and take every game one at a time," Crane said. "When you play a
CAA opponent you know it is going to be a dogfight. This being the first game,
there is a little bit more incentive to start off 1-0 in the CAA."
Tambroni doesn't want to dub Saturday's matchup as a must-win game because
it is still so early in the season. He knows his team can play better, and with
more urgency in practice, the success will come.
"We have to keep grinding and that the mindset of the group is that every
game is a winnable situation and a 'must win,'" Tambroni said. "I think these
guys are competitive as a group and they know what's on the line."
UMass is Penn State's fifth-consecutive ranked opponent. The Minutemen lead
the all-time series 10-4. The game will be play on Saturday at 12 p.m. at
Garber Field in Amherst, Mass.
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lacrosse is considered a niche sport because of how
minute details can affect the outcome of a game. It is not a sport purely dictated
on speed and athleticism. There are many games-within-the-games in lacrosse
that makes every matchup exciting.
One of the most critical, but sometimes overlooked, aspects of lacrosse is
a faceoff. Possessing the ball is the only way of having a chance to score and
assuring the other team doesn't. While
Head coach Jeff Tambroni is still searching for consistency in all aspects of
his team's game, he said that faceoffs are one of the main positives in the
Senior midfielder Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) has shouldered the
load on faceoffs so far this season, taking 117 of Penn State's 118 draws. His
.598 winning percentage is ranked twelfth in the nation among his fellow
"When he's been on, he has been really in the zone," Tambroni said. "He has
given us ample opportunity to be successful as a team and has worked so hard
this year alongside the other faceoff guys. He seems to be having a lot more
fun this season."
Henneghan attributes his success to increased reps, both on and off the
practice field. The healthy competition with his teammates while practicing
faceoffs has helped prepare him for game days. The preparation has helped him
so much that Henneghan feels his greatest competition comes on the practice
"The biggest help is the guys that are taking faceoffs with me," Henneghan
said. "It's gotten to the point where the guys I'm practicing against, in my
opinion, are better than the guys I'm going up against in the actual games.
When it's time for the game it feels a little bit easier because they are so
good in practice."
Competition in faceoff practice is nothing new to Henneghan. His brother,
Charley, also went to Penn State and was a fellow faceoff man. Henneghan said
that they started playing lacrosse at the same time and would practices draws
in their backyard. It would be the start of successful careers for the Henneghan
"It almost natural because the first time I ever picked up a lacrosse stick, I
was doing faceoffs," Henneghan said. "That was my first exposure I ever had to
the whole sport. That's where I started and I had an older brother to practice
against, so that played a major role."
Henneghan said that thorough preparation and a strong mentality play key
roles in faceoffs. He said that "faceoffs are a game within the game" and that he
scouts his faceoff combatant as much as the team scouts the opposition.
"I like to find out what they do specifically so I can see how I've done
against their move," Henneghan said. "If I had the opportunity to go against
the guy in years past, it helps me know if what I do will be successful."
Henneghan brings a sort of swagger to the faceoff X, and is confident that
he can beat is man on every draw. The extra work this season and support of his
teammates has helped him gain confidence.
"A big part is knowing that you will beat the other guy in every faceoff,"
Henneghan said. "This is the first year where I've kind of had that edge. The
extra practice has paid off in that area."
Every faceoff man has a go-to move. Henneghan's is a pinch and pop, where
he clamps down on the ball with the head of his stick and pulls the ball
forward. He said it was the first move he learned and that he has been doing it
since high school.
The pinch and pop is an offensively minded move that sparks transition is
won cleanly. Penn State has relied heavily on transition this year, and
Henneghan plays a major role. Penn State's attackers have been lighting the
lamp at an incredible pace so far this season, and Henneghan feels his job
becomes more important to the success of the offense.
"They finish on a lot of their chances," Henneghan said of the attack, "and it
makes it more important for me to have a successful move because if I can
consistently push the ball forward, it's going to lead to more goals."
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 8 Penn State men's lacrosse (2-2) dropped
its second-consecutive overtime game 10-9 against No. 16 Ohio State on Saturday
at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.
After a slow first quarter that saw both teams trading blows in a 2-2
tie, Penn State's offense took form and unleashed a rally of goals. The offense
went silent in the second half and could not muster the same flow as the first
half. Head coach Jeff Tambroni said it is still early in the season and this is
a good learning experience for his team.
"We came out strong in the first half, but this is three games in a row that we
haven't been able to finish games," Tambroni said. "It's disappointing. We have
some quality leaders here and we had opportunities to put this game away in the
The Lions were backed behind five goals from freshman TJ Sanders
(Orillia, Ont.). Sanders continues to build on his hot start to the season and
now has 13 goals in four games this season. His 15 points are tied for the team
lead with red-shirt senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.). Forster scored a
goal against the Buckeyes and added three assists.
The offense struck early and often in the second quarter and from a
variety of ways. Sanders scored three of his five goals in a four minute
stretch, all coming from inside five yards of the crease. His most impressive
goal actually came on a play made by junior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton,
The Buckeyes ran an aggressive ride that pulled their midfielders and
defense higher toward the offensive zone to force a turnover. Forster was left
unguarded at his attacking restraining line and Kaut fired a missile that was
right on the money. Forster made a quick pass to Sanders who threw a few fakes
at Ohio State keeper Greg Dutton before scoring.
Despite the offensive outburst from Sanders, the freshman said it doesn't mean
much to him because the team let the game slip away.
"Scoring five goals is great but it doesn't matter than much when we lose the
game," Sanders said. "Winning is the most important stat. We played really well
in the first half and the second half we were pretty stagnant. They made
adjustments and we didn't adjust to their energy."
Junior Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) continued his consistency as a
depth scorer with a second quarter goal. VanThof dodged down the left and cut
to middle, freed his hands and ripped an overhand shot that beat Dutton high.
VanThof's classmate Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) netted his sixth
goal of the season during the streak and provided a dodging presence that
opened up some space in the Ohio State zone defense.
Ohio State's zone defense kept the Nittany Lion offense in check in the second
half and they came out with more energy in the second half. Junior Shane
Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) scored in the fourth quarter, his first goal in
seven quarters, to tie the game at 9-9.
Tambroni said that his team played too tentatively in the second half
and they need to work on being more poised on offense to get better shots. He
also credit's Ohio State for its resiliency and perseverance to fight back.
"If they can claw back from 8-2 and have a lot of energy coming out in
the second half, they probably deserve to win," Tambroni said. "I think their
goalie played well in the second half."
Tambroni will give his troops some much needed rest before preparing
for a date with No. 19 Lehigh on Saturday in the Whitman's Sample Independence
Classic at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's lacrosse (2-1) aims to keep the
Creator's Trophy in its trophy case with a matinee with No. 16 Ohio State (3-0)
on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Nittany Lions took home the inaugural Creator's Trophy last season in a
battle between three Big Ten schools, Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State. The
trophy goes to the team that wins both games against the other schools. Penn
State is half way there, defeating Michigan 11-6 to open the season.
Penn State has had success over Ohio State recently with a 6-4 record over
the past ten meetings. The Nittany Lions visited Columbus, Ohio last season and
came out with a 5-2 victory. Sophomore midfielder Michael Richards
(Skaneateles, N.Y.) said the fate of the trophy lies in the team's hands.
"It is a statement game for us knowing that they are a rival of our and
that we are playing for the Creator's Trophy," Richards said. "Knowing that the
trophy is already in our building is a huge positive for us. If we had to send
that trophy to another school it would be devastating for us."
The Nittany Lions are amid a five game stretch playing top 25 opponents.
Ohio State will be the third consecutive ranked opponent Penn State this
season. The Buckeyes bring a high-powered offense into Happy Valley, having
outscored opposing team 41-22 so far this season.
Richards said that the team needs to tighten up on defense to prepare for
Ohio State's offense. Penn State needs to be more disciplined, but practice has
helped the team adjust.
"Going against our offense every day and how high powered they are
definitely helps us out," Richards said. "It shows us what we need to work on
Penn State and Ohio State have a lot in common in terms of their personnel,
strong goaltending and a balanced attack on offense.
Ohio State is led by senior attackman and preseason second team All-American,
Logan Schuss, who has netted 10 goals and dished out five assists to begin the
season. He is joined up front by freshman Carter Brown, who is making a name
for himself with six goals and eight assists early in the season.
Penn State flaunts a freshman-senior duo as well. Senior Jack Forster
(Jenkintown, Pa.) has scored nine goals already this season. He teams up with
freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) and junior Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.)
to form a potent scoring attack that scored 25 of Penn State's 35 goals this
season. Forster led the Nittany Lions
with a hat trick in last week's overtime loss to No. 3 Notre Dame.
Saturday's game will once again feature a battle of the goalkeepers. Second
team All-ECAC goalie Greg Dutton is eighth in the nation with a 7.07
goal-against average. Facing a top-flight goalie can be intimidating, but focus
will be key for the offense.
"Knowing that he's a highly ranked goalie makes me focus even more,"
Richards said. "I know that if I don't put the ball in a good spot he's going
to save it and start the transition the other way."
Opposing Dutton on the other side of the field for Penn State is junior
Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.). Kaut has been a rock for Penn State between the
pipes and brings a calming presence to the defense. His ability to make crucial
saves and then spark Penn State's lethal transition offense is what makes him a
spectacular goalkeeper. Kaut is allowing 9.21 goals per game, good for
twenty-fourth in the nation.
Kaut and Richards chemistry on clears is a major reason why Penn State is
operating at .951 clearing percentage. Both players are the major reason for
the early success of the transition offense. Richards' speed and vision allow
him to take the ball into the offensive end by himself and open space for his
"That's the biggest part of my game," Richards said. "We work on that every
day making sure that we get goals off of transition. With the change in the
rules, the game is so much faster that you have to convert on those
Penn State and Ohio State is sure to be a fast paced game with no shortage
of scoring. Richards said it may not be goals and saves, but the things not on
the score sheet that will make the difference.
"We need to focus on the little parts of the game like groundballs,
hustling and getting the ball off the ground," Richards said. "If we do that,
we should be successful."
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Coming down the stretch, the eighth-ranked Penn
State men's lacrosse team was playing some its most inspired lacrosse of the
early season against third-ranked Notre Dame. It appeared as though there might
be an upset brewing in an electric environment at Holuba Hall in front of the
Penn State faithful.
For the second straight season, the Nittany Lions (2-1) and Fighting Irish (2-0)
duked it out and needed overtime to decide a winner. In a game that saw 18
goals, seven ties and three goals in 24 seconds to end regulation, Notre Dame
ultimately prevailed with a game-winning goal by freshman Matt Kavanagh with
1:34 left in overtime.
Despite the heartbreaking loss for the Nittany Lions, head coach Jeff
Tambroni was pleased with his teams' effort.
"There's a difference between losing a game and failing to create an effort
on the field," Tambroni said. "Notre Dame was one goal better in overtime, but
that's high praise because Notre Dame is a very good lacrosse team."
In a rollercoaster game, Penn State held an 8-7 lead in the last minute of
play. Notre Dame tied the game with 24 seconds left, and took the lead on a
goal on the ensuing faceoff just seven seconds later. Tambroni credited Notre
Dame's persistence to tie and take the lead late in the game after trailing so
The Nittany Lions battled back with some fight of their own with 17 seconds
left on the clock. Junior midfielder Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) had magic
in his stick, dodging at the restraining line and letting fly a left-handed
shot on the run that beat Notre Dame's All-American goalkeeper John Kemp to
force overtime with .6 seconds remaining in regulation.
"My teammates [cleared] through because they realized there was no time
left," LaCrosse said. "They let me get to my left and I shot it at the goal and
hoped for the best."
It was a big goal for the junior, who scored three goals against Notre Dame
and has stepped into a bigger scoring role this season for the Nittany Lions.
Tambroni credits his team's mental toughness to not get discouraged after
surrendering the lead.
"To have the peace of mind to win a faceoff and then to have the poise,
knowing the clock is running down to get a good shot against a first team
All-American goalie," Tambroni said, "that says a lot about [LaCrosse] and a
lot about our team."
Tambroni said that Penn State did not lose the game due to a lack of
effort. Both teams played an evenly matched game across the board and played in
a defensive battle. Junior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) is proud of the
team's effort and said the game was decided on by one more good chance by Notre
"We knew it was going to be a defensive battle all day," Kaut said. "Both teams
played really well and it just comes down to maybe working a little harder and
getting one more ground ball."
The effort also came in large part from depth at the midfield. Redshirt
junior Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) and sophomore Kyle Zittel (Eden, N.Y.)
scored key goals to give Penn State a two-goal lead at the start of the fourth
quarter. Freshman Sammy Davis (Pittsfield, Mass.), sophomore Michael Richards (Skaneateles,
N.Y.) and junior Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) played great on the defensive
end and provided Kaut with options in the clearing game that finished 23-for-24
on the day.
Tambroni hopes that Penn State and Notre Dame can rekindle a rivalry that
stems from the epic battles on the football field in past years. Notre Dame has been a national powerhouse
lacrosse program for the last six years and Tambroni can see a rivalry coming
if Penn State continues to build as a program.
"I hope we get to the point where they consider us a rival," Tambroni said.
"If we get to that point when people put us in that conversation with Notre
Dame, then we'll take that as a compliment."
Despite playing well, the team has to put the emotional loss on the
backburner and turn its focus to the upcoming game against Ohio State.
"We played real hard today and competed," Kaut said. "We just have to think
about the next game, Ohio State this weekend, and put this one behind us."
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The journey doesn't get any easier for Penn State men's
lacrosse as they welcome third-ranked Notre Dame to Happy Valley on Sunday.
The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions will face their second top 10 opponent in two
weeks following a 15-12 victory over No. 9 Denver last weekend. Like Denver,
Notre Dame is coming off of a road victory against now 14th-ranked Duke. Penn
State has a tall task ahead preparing for a well-rounded Fighting Irish team.
Head Coach Jeff Tambroni said that Fighting Irish deserve the high ranking
based on their finish last season and win against Duke. Notre Dame's success
has picked up where it left off last season, finishing 13-3 and making it to
the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. One of those losses was a 4-3 loss at
the hands of the Nittany Lions.
Tambroni said the grinding defensive game last season wasn't one that lacrosse
pundits would consider a great game. Both teams are stocked with offensive
talent and the faster pace to the game this season should be a recipe for an
"Notre Dame gets a lot of publicity because of their defensive end and they are
very talented and well coached back there," Tambroni said. "But they are very
capable on the offensive end as well after putting up 13 goals against Duke. It
should be fun game."
Notre Dame boasts one of the top defenses in college lacrosse, allowing just
6.31 goals-per-game last season and allowing five goals to Duke in its 13-5
victory last Saturday. It is led by All-American senior goalie John Kemp. Kemp
led the nation in goals-against average (6.27) and save percentage (.683).
Penn State has proven to be a high-scoring offense, scoring 8.7 goals-per-game
last season, and averaging 13 goals-per-game in two games this season. The
attack unit of senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.), junior Shane Sturgis
(Downingtown, Pa.) and freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) have combined to
score 21 of Penn State's 28 goals this season.
"They've done a great job and taken turns during the course of the game,"
Tambroni said of his attack. "They are starting to get comfortable with one
another. Hopefully they can continue to share the ball and complement each
other. They have come in to watch extra film this week and have practice very
Each attackman brings something different to the table making them hard
to defend. Sturgis is a great facilitator and dodger from behind the net.
Forster has a great shot both on the run and when given room and Sanders is
sneaky in finding space in the defense and finishing his shots. The one thing
they all have in common is they can score from anywhere.
The offense will rely on the attack to generate offense against the stingy Notre
Dame defense. The extra attention on the attack may open up opportunities for
the midfielders to create some shots. Sophomore Kyle Zittel (Eden, N.Y) and
junior Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y) each scored against Denver, and
hope to continue the trend this weekend.
Scoring goals will be less of a challenge for the Nittany Lions against
Notre Dame if they continue to work well in transition. Possessing the ball
will be crucial in limiting Notre Dame's scorers from getting in a rhythm.
While the offense conjures up ways to solve Kemp and Notre Dame's
defense, junior goaltender Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) will be busy stopping the
high-octane Fighting Irish offense. Kaut finished last season sixth in the
nation in save percentage (.584) and tenth in goals-against-average (7.93
Notre Dame returns its five leading scorers from last season, as well as
adding highly touted freshman attackman Matt Kavanagh to the mix. Kaut isn't
focusing on Notre Dame's offense, but rather achieving the teams' objectives.
"We just have to focus on us," Kaut said. "We just going to practice hard, play
hard and get a good scouting report from our coaches. Hopefully we'll come out
on our home turf and come out with a victory against Notre Dame."
The home opener gives the Penn State faithful their first real chance at seeing
the No. 8 Nittany Lions. Tambroni is happy to rest his players after two
weekends of travel. He said it makes preparing easier when travel is not in the
equation and the team can focus on just playing lacrosse.
Kaut is used to the travel by now, but admitted that he is anxious to see how
the team measures up to a very talented Notre Dame team in front of the home
"Hopefully we get a good showing at the game with a top-five team coming in,"
Kaut said. "We're going to come out and play hard. Traveling isn't anything
different, but playing at home with the fans there is always exciting."
Tambroni has said from the start of the season that he wants to climb up the
ranks and compete in the postseason. He is happy to be ranked eighth in the
country, but knows there is still more to accomplish. A win over a
well-established and experienced team like Notre Dame could ignite a lot of
confidence for Penn State moving forward.
Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Head Coach Jeff Tambroni has his sights set on the
successful season for Penn State (2-0) come playoff time, not just a quick 2-0
start right out of the gate.
But it is hard not to get excited after a monumental 15-12 victory over
ninth-ranked Denver on Sunday (Feb. 16) in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Moe's
Southwest Grill Lacrosse Classic. Denver had knocked off top-five opponent,
Duke, the previous week. The Nittany Lions knew they had an opportunity to
upset a potential postseason team and could do it on national television. Tambroni
credited his team for preparing well and coming ready to play a
"We have a lot of respect for them and their coaching staff," Tambroni said
of Denver. "After what they did to us last year, that's why our team felt as
good about the effort as much as, if not more than, the result on Sunday."
Goaltender Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) was wide-eyed at the sight of EverBank
Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kaut made 10 saves and the Nittany
Lions rose to the occasion on the big stage and came out with a victory to be
"That was the biggest stage I've ever played on," Kaut said. "It was really
cool to be in that stadium, on the grass and to have our team come out fired up
and take care of business."
Tambroni stresses that preparation is a key to success. He evaluates each
week the level and intensity of preparation.
This week, it was Kaut that made note of the team's preparation and
scouting report, especially on the defensive end, that paid off with a victory.
"Our defense played really well, both long-stick middies and short-stick
middies," Kaut said. "[Denver's] three starting middies are some of the best in
the nation and our guys were able to shut them down. I was really proud of
CAA Player of the Week Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) led the offense. The
junior netted four goals in the victory over Denver, bringing his total to a
team-leading eight in two games. He was joined on attack by red-shirt senior
Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) and freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.), who
combined for seven goals between them.
Sturgis said that his teammates helped create opportunities for him to
score and his shots were falling. His ability to dodge from behind the net,
causing the defense to slide, opened up shots for himself and hi s teammates.
Sturgis added that it was a fun experience playing on a big stage, but more fun
that the team finished shots and got the win.
"We have good chemistry and everyone is feeding off each other and playing
around," Sturgis said of the offense. "The more we communicate the better the
The sunny Florida sky can be a distracting environment, especially for a
young team like Penn State. Tambroni was pleased with the leadership of his
upper-classmen and the response by his players.
"I give the guys credit for the way they handled the entire atmosphere,"
Tambroni said. "It isn't something that we're accustomed to. That's not normal
for the Penn State program. For them to play with poise and play hard says a
lot about our leadership and our captains."
Tambroni admitted it was a fun weekend and great victory, but the team's focus
now shifts to this weekend's opponent, third-ranked Notre Dame (1-0). Penn
State faced off against the Fighting Irish last season in South Bend, Ind. and
grinded to a 4-3 OT victory.
Notre Dame is also coming off of a victory against Duke and poses another
challenge for Penn State in the early season. Hopefully the success from the
previous two victories carries into Sunday's matchup with the Irish.
Penn State will get some much-needed rest after traveling the past two weekends
to Michigan and Jacksonville. An extra day of rest coupled with a week of
intense practice should pay dividends for the Nittany Lions against Notre Dame
"I think it comes down to preparation and that helps us for games on the
weekends," Kaut said. "We practice really hard and it's paying off so far this
By Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It has been a long wait for the No. 15 ranked Penn
State lacrosse team in anticipation for the regular season. The time has come
to put on the jersey and take the field on Saturday as the Nittany Lions head
to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan.
Junior attackman Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) is pleased with the
preparation and mindset of the team. Although the team has played competitively
in its two scrimmages and worked hard in practice, Ahern said that game days
are on another level.
"We just want to get back out there and put everything we've been working
on into a game," Ahern said. "Finally we get to strap it up against someone
else and see what we're made of."
Head coach Jeff Tambroni has seen the anticipation and excitement levels
rise within the last week. Keeping the team focused on preparing for Michigan
has been the goal of the week.
"They've done a great job of remaining focused and we've been impressed
with how they handled the first two scrimmages," Tambroni said. "They still
understand that our record is 0-0 coming out of the preseason. Nothing really
matters except what happens against Michigan in game one."
Tambroni expects to see a new-look offense this year. He admitted that last
season's offensive attack was conservative and predictable. This year's group
looks to be more explosive and better in transition.
"They are more mature and they believe in each other a lot more," Tambroni
said. "Those factors have helped us with the addition of the freshman and the
young talent added to the mix."
The NCAA implemented a shot clock this season when teams are called for a
stall warning and must keep the ball in the offensive box. Playing a slow,
possession-based style of attack may be a dying breed, but Tambroni still
preaches being judicial and deliberate with the ball in the offensive end.
"The game when it's played at its best is when it's played at a high
speed," Tambroni said. "We try to teach our guys how to read a defense and read
a particular play when they are faced with certain obstacles. Teaching them how
to be better lacrosse players versus being solid in a system of lacrosse is
Depth will play an even bigger role now with the faster tempo. Redshirt
Senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.), junior Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.)
and Ahern will be joined by freshmen TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) and Matt Sexton
(Niskayuna, N.Y.) to jumpstart the Nittany Lion attack.
The midfield is paced by senior Nick Dolik (Bloomfield
Hills, Mich.), junior Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and senior captain
Travis Crane (Parkhill, Md.). Sophomore Erik Myers (Del Mar, Calif.) and
freshmen Tom O'Neil (Shamong, N.J.) and Sammy Davis (Pittsfield, Mass.), among
others, are expected to provide offensive depth. Getting contributions from
multiple players and staying fresh will be key to competing for a playoff spot.
"It's allowed us to practice a little more efficiently," Tambroni said.
"Our guys are fresher and making plays. These guys have all contributed at a
level where we feel we can play a lot more people this year than we did last
year. With the rule change, transition it's a necessity."
Learning an offensive system can be a difficult task. The freshmen have
stepped right into their roles, and look comfortable among the veterans.
"The freshman have fit right in and bought into the system," Ahern said. "I've
learned a lot from them and hopefully I've taught them a little something. They
are meshing in great."
Although the Nittany Lions compete in the CAA, the matchup against Michigan
has the same rivalry feel as any other sport on campus. Penn State, Ohio State
and Michigan compete for the Creators
Trophy that goes to the team who wins both matchups against the other two
teams. Penn State currently holds the trophy and looks to keep it in Happy
"We won it last year and we want to keep here at Penn State forever," Ahern
said. "Knowing what's on the line, the first step is Michigan and they are on
our way. We have to get through them and keep the Creators trophy where it
Tambroni said his players know what the matchup against the Wolverines
means across the University. They are treating this game just as they would a
"It goes beyond our league and more into the fabric of Penn State,"
Tambroni said. "Our guys are cognizant of that and hope to represent not just
our program, but our school within the Big Ten."
Penn State and Michigan will faceoff at 1 p.m. at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- In just a few weeks from now, Katie Guy will pick up her stick and lead the
women's lacrosse team onto the field for her final season as a Nittany Lion.
Guy has spent her
first three seasons at the midfield position; in 2013 she will switch to the
defensive end of the field to help her young team.
"We have a lot of
young people, a lot of young defenders right now and our team is pretty young
actually this year so I'm kind of just trying to bring them up to speed on the
system Missy (Doherty) implemented and make sure everyone is on the right
page," said Guy.
recently named Guy the x-factor of the Nittany Lions. She will fill the vocal
void left by former goalie Dana Cahill.
"It's hard because
this year is a whole new team. We lost Dana, our goalie last year, who was a
huge part of our defense for me, talking and stuff she was a huge leader down
there. I'm kind of trying to fill up her role a little bit. We're focusing on
this team this year so it's not the same as last year, we have a lot of good
players," said Guy.
Since Guy joined
the program in 2010, she has steadily improved her game and become a leader of
the team. The senior now looks to build on her recent success. As a freshman,
she appeared in eight games, grabbed eight groundballs, five draw controls and
forced a turnover.
As a sophomore, Guy
played in 17 games, scored four goals and had 19 draw controls. It set up her
best season yet as a junior. She helped lead the Lions to a 12-7 record,
started every game and was a huge part of the team's on the field
At the end of 2012,
she had recorded 30 draw controls, created 13 turnovers and scored five goals,
all career highs.
It was during Guy's
sophomore campaign when head coach Missy Doherty arrived on campus. She
implemented a system that transformed the team into an instant contender, and
helped Guy take her game to the next level.
"[Coach Doherty] is
definitely inspiring. She is hard on us sometimes, which I think we need. Other
times she is great to us," said Guy. "We practice hard, she gives us the
weekend off and she is not like a drill sergeant all the time but she's
definitely hard when she needs to be which I think we need sometimes too."
Guy, a senior
captain, has been in the program long enough now to know the expectations. The Nittany Lions advanced to the elite eight
at last year's NCAA Tournament, and are excited about the season ahead.
It's like alright, we have these expectations, let's build from them. We made
it to the eight last year, we can make it to the final four this year I have no
doubt in my mind. It's not like scary pressure it's sort of a little fire under
our behinds to work even harder this year."
The Nittany Lions
face a challenge in net this year with a new goaltender. Senior Ayla Harus and
freshman Emi Smith are competing for time in 2013, and Guy has helped both
"Both of them are
doing an excellent job, they're challenging each other and stepping up
everyday. I can truly say everyday they're getting better," said Guy. "It's
just exciting to see and as a defense we're just trying to focus our defense on
keeping the shots to the outside, I guess those are better angles for goalies
and that kind of stuff, so we're really focusing our defense more on how to
help them in the cage and help them get better."
Penn State plays in
one of the most elite conferences in women's lacrosse. The team will play NCAA
contenders in Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Florida and Maryland.
Guy said the team has embraced playing these tough opponents and actually looks
forward to the challenge.
"I figure if we're
in our conference playing these teams in big games then when we get to NCAAs we
won the first round, we were winning the first round because we were used to
playing such hard teams. Northwestern,
Florida even Johns Hopkins all made it to NCAA"s last year and they were all in
our conference so we had seen them once or twice. Once in the season and then
again in our conference final so we weren't really intimidated when we got to
the NCAAs because we were playing teams that hard all year. It's awesome."
Guy also said the
young team is doing very well preparing for the 2013 campaign. The freshmen and
sophomores have stepped up on the practice field and thoroughly impressed their
"They're doing a
pretty good job, a really good job, on their own stepping up. They're stepping
into the shoes of people that left last year I don't even really have to say
too much last year," said Guy. "Honestly, they're doing a great job, even just
little things though on defense we're trying to get our defense together to
slide sooner and communication is a huge part of defense, which we were lacking
a little bit, but the girls are doing a good job of stepping up, I'm very
The 2013 season will
mark the end of Katie Guy's Penn State career. She will be leaving a program
she has become the leader of. The senior is ready to hit the field in a few
weeks to start what should be an amazing run.
"I love this team
this year so I'm just excited to sort of take it as far as we can and sort of
leave it all out on the field I guess. I'm excited to just enjoy every moment
along the way," Guy said.
Pat White, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's lacrosse coach Jeff Tambroni
doesn't want to sound cliche when he says he wants the program to build one
step at a time, but that is exactly what they are doing.
"We look to prepare for the postseason, something that is not part of
Penn State's tradition," Tambroni said. "This is the 100th season of the Penn
State lacrosse and we have only been part of the playoff structure twice. [This
season] is more of a day-to-day grind to give our guys the opportunity to focus
on the details and the importance of preparation."
Penn State will play one more exhibition game against Johns Hopkins
next weekend before opening the regular season. The Nittany Lions have a tough
opening schedule, facing two Big Ten schools - Michigan and Ohio State. They
also play three teams ranked above them in the International Lacrosse poll in
No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 8 Lehigh and No. 12 Massachusetts. Those games will help
the coaching staff evaluate the team heading into CAA play.
"We have to focus on one game at a time while also maintaining the
scope of the season," Tambroni said. "We have to play well going into the CAA
and hopefully we compete and play to our potential. We have to be more
consistent and that we give ourselves a chance that we can play in the
Two key words Tambroni emphasized were culture and tradition. Penn
State has not made the postseason in 10 years, but has taken strides over the
last two seasons to come closer to the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions have
improved each season that Tambroni has been at the helm for Penn State and
finds itself at No. 15 going into the season, the highest ranking since
In some cases, a high preseason ranking can cause teams to take its
foot off the gas and complacency can set it. Tambroni embraces the respect his
team is garnering and expects it to inject confidence throughout the program.
However, they are still on the outside looking in at No. 15, and need to
continue to move up in the standings if they hope to compete in the postseason
"In the first six games we'll look up at our opponents and will be
considered underdogs in the rankings," Tambroni said. "We're in the progression
stage right now...I want them to feel confident and good about getting to that
point that they weren't at in year one and climbing up to the top rankings. I
want them to feel encouragement that we are moving in the right direction, but
nowhere near complacency or satisfaction. We have to move into the top 10 or win
Tambroni previously coached at Cornell, a program with a rich lacrosse
legacy. He brought with him to Penn State postseason and National Championship
experience, as well as knowledge of a winning culture that can propel a team to
the next level. His track record is a good starting point, but his players are
the key to success.
The team leadership falls upon the shoulders of the seniors and team
captains. The process of selecting captains took longer than in years past to evaluate
where the team was. Redshirt seniors Jack Forster and Travis Crane have
assumed the leadership roles, and will be vital to the development of the
"Since those captains have been announced, they have done an
unbelievable job of taking the ball and running with it," Tambroni said. "They
have hit the ground with such great stride that our leadership right now is
ahead of where we imagined it to be knowing where we were back in September.
We're at a point now where a majority of our guys have played for our coaching
staff and know what our expectations are. We don't have to teach as much, they
are now teaching our younger guys."
There is a foundation set for how the coaching staff wants the team to
play both offensively and defensively. The leadership of the experienced
players makes the teaching process for the younger players easier for Tambroni.
He can add nuances to his game plan because of the way the captains have taken
the new comers under their wing.
Tambroni's teams are known for running a grind-it-out type of offense
dependent on ball control and holding for smart possessions. Due to new rule
changes that have implemented a 30-second shot clock when a stall warning is
called, Penn State may have to adjust to a faster pace to the game.
The transition in style will be easier because of goaltender Austin
Kaut who was First Team All-CAA the past two seasons. His ability to stop shots
and control rebounds makes clearing the ball and getting into transition much
easier. The added depth at midfield and attack will help Penn State play a
faster style without tiring out.
"We need to play more guys this year because the pace is going to be a
lot quicker," Tambroni said. "We're being forced a little bit to play a pace
that may not have been so comfortable in the first two years. Through
recruiting and squad size we are in a better position this year to be able to
adapt to this rule change and not fall behind too much."
Tambroni doesn't want his team to think of success in terms of what the
scoreboard reads or by wins and losses. Building a program is a process, and
Tambroni wants his team to continue to make strides toward the ultimate goal.
"I want them to ask themselves what they want to look like at the end
of a game, end of a week, and the end of a season," said Tambroni. "If that
means you want people to respect your effort, and you want people to utter
words of respect and being role models, than I think we will have done a great
job when the year is over. Winning will be the byproduct of that kind of
effort, chemistry and a genuine investment in your teammates and that you will
do everything on a daily basis to be successful."