Intensity Runs High at Season Opening Scrimmage
Jan. 30, 2012
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
For head coach Jeff Tambroni, the exhibition game served as an important experience-builder for the young team.
"It is very important for our young guys to get experience this early in the season," said Tambroni. "This game had the potential to break in our freshman pretty quickly, given the athleticism and physicality that Army plays with."
Freshman Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) wasn't phased by the speed of Division I athletics in his first collegiate game against opponents other than his own teammates.
"The pace of the game was definitely faster than high school," said Manley. "I felt prepared for the speed from our preseason and fall practices."
Manley and his teammates were pleased with the crowd drawn inside of Holuba Hall for the contest.
"We tried to get the word out about our scrimmage," said senior Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "It was really nice to look over and see our fans cheering us on and giving us a good show."
The Nittany Lions are hoping that they can continue to draw big crowds, especially with the addition of a new lacrosse-only facility to call home.
"We understand that we are in the middle of a building process," said Tambroni. "We have to put a product on the field that people will want to come out and support."
Coaches and players hope that intensity and execution can assist in creating the crowd-drawing product that they strive for.
"The intensity on our sideline is awesome," said Mackrides. "I love playing for these guys and this team because when you make a play out there, they scream for you. The intensity was high and that's the way it should be."
The Nittany Lions will face Johns Hopkins next Saturday in Baltimore, Md., and will look to bring that same intensity against a perennial power in college lacrosse.
The game will be the second and final exhibition game of the preseason before the Nittany Lions open the regular season against North Carolina in Kennesaw, Ga.
"This is a huge week for us because it is really our last week of preparation before we start playing for real," said assistant coach Peter Toner. "We have to play with intensity for 60 straight minutes when we face Johns Hopkins next Saturday."
Some players suggest that they have to bring more than just intensity into next weekend's contest.
"We need to bring heart," said sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.), "We have to come out flying around and execute all of the small details. We have to make sure we do everything right."
Executing and focusing on the small details was something that the team did well in Saturday's first scrimmage against Army.
Coaches and players saw an upside to their game, but scrimmages are used as building blocks for the regular season.
"I am hopeful that we will learn a lot from this game," said Tambroni. "We had some highs in the first half but some real lows in the second half. We have to do a better job of tightening up."
The Nittany Lions will play away games the next two weekends, before returning to University Park for their regular season home opener against Michigan on Sat., Feb. 18.