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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 12 Penn State men’s lacrosse team hosts in-state foe Villanova at 1 p.m. in Holuba Hall on Saturday afternoon in the Nittany Lions’ season and home opener.
The Nittany Lions are 6-1 in season openers under head coach Jeff Tambroni, while also holding a 6-1 record in home openers.
Penn State will host nine events on Saturday with six events on the East side of campus starting between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Traffic will be heavier leading up to the men’s ice hockey game at 4 p.m. and fans arriving and parking for the 6 p.m. men’s basketball game may have a further walk to the venue than normal.
Parking for those attending the men’s lacrosse game will be available in the Stadium West and Jordan East lots or in the Orange-C lot at the Hastings and McKean Road intersection. Admission is free.
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The Trio of juniors Chris Sabia and Grant Ament and sophomore Gerard Arceri were named to the USILA Preseason DI Player of the Year Watch List. They were also named as Penn State’s Big Ten Players to Watch. Sabia was named an Inside Lacrosse Preseason Second Team All-America honoree, while Arceri was named to the Third Team and Ament earned Honorable Mention.
QUAD CORE OF CAPTAINS
The 2018 Nittany Lion squad will be led by senior middies Ryan Keenan, Tanner Peck, and Tripp Traynor, and redshirt junior defender Mike Aronow. When asked about their leadership skills, Head Coach Jeff Tambroni mentioned how each was different, and together they provided a well-rounded leadership core. The quartet has helped the Nittany Lions’ program come from a 5-9 record in their freshman season to an improved 12-4, and a No. 1 ranking in the national poll in their junior year, and will look to build upon in 2018.
The blue-collar work ethic of Penn State men’s lacrosse has been a mainstay under Coach Jeff Tambroni, and even using a brick to symbolize what that means has been in play for a few years, but following the 2017 season, the now-graduated seniors of 2017 gave Tambroni a brick with the engraving “Leave it better than you found it... Class of 2017.” “We wanted an identity piece,” Tambroni said. “We wanted our program to think about a symbol more visually instead of just conversations with our guys about what we want it to look like. Also, there is a second brick that is passed around by the team to the player with the “most brick mentality” every week. The player who holds the brick chooses who deserves the brick the following week, and they pass the actual brick on to the next deserving player.
Penn State In the Polls
The Penn State men’s lacrosse team was preseason ranked No. 12 by both the USILA coaches vote, as well as the Maverik Media Poll. However, the Nittany Lions were picked at No. 5 in the Big Ten Coaches poll, leading Michigan. While this may seem confusing, the Nittany Lions are one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the USILA poll, with reigning NCAA Champion Maryland coming in at No. 1, Rutgers at No. 7, NCAA finalists Ohio State at No. 8, and Johns Hopkins at No. 11.
Penn State Athletics as a whole is seeing a lot of success here in the midst of crossover season, having had 10 teams ranked this week; seven in Top 10.
As of Jan. 29
Penn State Wrestling – No. 1
Penn State Women’s Fencing – No. 3
Penn State Men’s Fencing – No. 4
Penn State Women’s Lacrosse – No. 4
Penn State Men’s Gymnastics – No. 5
Penn State Men’s Track & Field – No. 8
Penn State Men’s Volleyball – No. 9
Penn State Men’s Lacrosse – No. 12
Penn State Men’s Hockey – No. 17
Penn State Women’s Track & Field - No. 24
PSU ON ESPNU
ESPN announced its spring lacrosse television schedule on Wednesday evening with Penn State men’s lacrosse receiving national coverage on ESPNU twice this season. The Nittany Lions will travel to Ohio State for their Big Ten season opener and will be featured on ESPNU on Saturday, March 31 at 3 p.m. ET. Penn State will also be featured on ESPNU on when they host Johns Hopkins on Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m.
Penn State men’s lacrosse moved to 4-0 to open the 2017 season for the first time since 1992 when they defeated Villanova, 17-12, at Villanova Stadium on Feb. 25, 2017.
Mac O’Keefe set a freshman record for goals in a game, logging a game-high eight goals on 11 shots. The eight goals are the third most in a single game for Penn State.
Penn State holds a 17-6 All-time record over the Wildcats, but since the 2008 season, it has been equal
LAST FIVE vs. VILLANOVA
Date Winner H/A Score
2/25/17 Penn State A 17-12
2/27/16 Villanova H 19-9
2/21/15 Villanova A 11-7
3/29/14 Villanova H 9-7
3/30/13 Penn State A 7-6
Midfield | 6’1” | 175 | Smithtown, Long Island, New York | Smithtown East
Midfield | 5’10” | 190 | Shrewsbury, Pa.| Boys’ Latin
Midfield | 6’1” | 180 | Scarbrough, Ontario, Canada | Birchmount Park
Midfield | 5’8” | 155 | Haverford, Pennsylvania | The Haverford School
Midfield | 5’11” | 180 | Medford, New Jersey | Shawnee
Defense | 6’0” | 175 | Richland, N.J. | St. Augustine Prep
Defense | 5’11” | 185 | West Grove, Pennsylvania | Avon Grove
Midfield | 6’0” | 180 | Beverly Hills, Michigan | Brother Rice
Defense | 6’4” | 220 | Aurora, Colorado | Regis Jesuit
Goalie | 5’8” | 180 | Pittsford, New York | Salisbury School
PSU TIES PROGRAM WIN RECORDS
With the Nittany Lions eclipsed the 12-win mark in the 2017 season with a victory over Michigan. Penn State matched the program record for wins in a season with 12, set by the 2013 team. The 2017 team was just the seventh to reach double-figure wins.
Faceoff man Gerard Arceri also returns after winning 61.8 percent of his faceoffs in 2017, the sixth-best mark in the country and second-most by a freshman. He won 196 of his 317 attempts and scooped up a team-best 103 ground balls.
NITTANY LIONS SET HISTORICAL STREAK
- Penn State began the 2017 season on a historical win streak, going 10-0 through the opening 10 games of the season.
• Following Penn State’s win over Ohio State, the Nittany Lions continued the best start in program history at 10-0. Prior to the 2017 season, the best record to begin a season at Penn State was 7-0, achieved by the 1992 team.
• With the win over OSU (4/2/17), Penn State remained one of two undefeated squads nationally at 10-0. Penn State’s 10-game win streak was the best in the country.
• With Penn State’s victory over Ohio State, the Nittany Lions matched the longest single-season win streak with 10-straight. The win also saw Penn State earn its seventh ever season with double-figure wins.
• With the win against Cleveland State (3/25/17), Penn State went undefeated in the non-conference slate for the first time in program history at a perfect 9-0 mark. Penn State first became a conference member in 2000 when the team joined the ECAC before transitioning to the CAA and eventually the Big Ten.
MAKING THE MARGIN
Despite a defense that ranked 38th in the country with 10.69 goals allowed per game in 2017, PSU still had the twelfth-best scoring margin last year, winning games by over two and a half goals per game. Its 13.31 goals per game were the sixth-highest in the nation.
Attackman Mac O’Keefe logged the freshman scoring record on April 30, scoring four goals to eclipse the 44 goal mark set by TJ Sanders in 2013. O’Keefe would earn the program record for single-season goals on with three goals against Towson (5/13/17). O’Keefe’s 51 goals are the most in a single season in Jeff Tambroni’s seven-season tenure at Penn State.