No. 9 Lions Host Michigan Saturday at Holuba Hall

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Jack Donnelly

Jack Donnelly

Feb. 6, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State men's lacrosse team opens its 2014 campaign by hosting future Big Ten foe Michigan at Holuba Hall this Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission is free to the game and fans will receive schedule posters while supplies last.

Game 1: February 8, 2014 • 1:00 p.m. • Holuba Hall • University Park, Pa.
VENUEHoluba Hall (Indoors, turf; 1,250)
SERIES RECORDPenn State leads 2-0
LAST MEETINGFeb. 9, 2013: PSU 11-6 (at Michigan)
NEXT TIME OUTSaturday, Feb. 15 vs. Loyola, 1 p.m
Penn State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Fans attending the men's lacrosse game can park for free in Orange Lot F near Holuba Hall or Orange Lot C off McKean Road for free. If lots are full, additional parking can be found in the East Parking Deck located off Bigler Road and Curtin Road. Parking in the Nittany Apartments is strictly prohibited.

The Limited Bag Policy is in effect for this contest. Contents brought to the game must be in a clear, gallon-sized bag or a jacket.

• Penn State opens 2014 at home in Holuba Hall vs. Michigan
• The Nittany Lions and Wolverines face off for the third time; PSU has won all three times
• Penn State downed Michigan 11-6 in Ann Arbor, Mich. a year ago
• Michigan and Penn State join the newly formed Big Ten Conference for lacrosse in 2015
• Penn State is 8-5 in season openers at home since 1978, 18-17 overall in that time
• PSU is coming off historic 2013 season and enters 2014 ranked in the top 10
• Penn State was selected to win the CAA regular-season crown for a second straight year
Austin Kaut, Tom LaCrosse, Steven Bogert, Tyler Travis & TJ Sanders named Preseason All-CAA; Kaut named Preseason Player of the Year
Austin Kaut named Preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse
• Kaut on pace to become Penn State's all-time saves leader
TJ Sanders (44 goals) and Shane Sturgis (27) return as Penn State's top scorers
Gavin Ahern, Tom LaCrosse and Tyler Travis lead the team as captains
• Head coach Jeff Tambroni is in his fourth year at the helm of the Nittany Lions
• Nittany Lions host Loyola next week in first of four straight ranked opponents

In its third season as a Division I varsity program, Michigan plays its final season in the ECAC Lacrosse conference in 2014. The Wolverines went 1-13 a year ago, but return 31 letterwinners and 8 starters. Its biggest loss didn't come from graduation last year, but from an injury to star goalkeeper Gerald Logan (211 saves, .563 sv. percentage). Midfielders Kyle Jackson (26 points in 2013), Mike Hernandez (21) and Thomas Paras (19) provide the main attacking punch, while David McCormack (11 goals in 2013) and Will Meter (10) are the top two returning attackmen. Sophomore Brad Lott (47.1 win pct. in 2013) will again feature at the faceoff X, while fifth-year senior JD Johnson anchors the defensive unit following his 25-ground ball, 13-caused turnover season last year.

All-Time Series: Penn State leads 2-0
PSU Streak: 2 wins
First Meeting: 2/18/12, PSU 16-9
Last Meeting: 2/9/13, PSU 11-6
Last PSU Win: 2/9/13, 11-6
Last MICH Win: n/a
Largest PSU Win: 16-9, 2/18/12
Largest MICH Win: n/a
PSU Goals vs. MICH: 27-15
Tambroni vs. MICH: 2-0

2/9/13: W, 11-6 -- A
2/18/12: W, 16-9 -- H

Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State compete for the Creator's Trophy, which is a competition between the three current Big Ten lacrosse schools. The trophy was created to honor the rivalries between the three current Big Ten schools that play North America's first sport. Today, Native Americans still refer to lacrosse as "The Creator's Game" as the trophy is intended to pay homage to the sports heritage and budding rivalries of the Big Ten schools. PSU won the 2012 title, while Ohio State earned the 2013 trophy.

Feb. 8: Michigan at Penn State, 1 p.m.
March 1: Penn State at Ohio State, 1 p.m.
April 12: Michigan at Ohio State, 11 a.m.

Penn State is ranked seventh and ninth by both nationally recognized preseason polls as announced on Monday, Jan. 27. The Warrior/Inside Lacrosse rankings peg Penn State seventh, while the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) has PSU ranked ninth, tying the highest preseason ranking in school history (1992).

The Nittany Lions have continued their rise to national prominence under fourth-year head coach Jeff Tambroni following the program's third NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013. Penn State faces a challenging schedule with six opponents being ranked in each poll.

Overall (Since 1978): 18-17
Home (Since 1978): 8-5
Road (Since 1978): 10-11
Neutral (Since 1978): 0-1
Under Tambroni: 2-1

Penn State was predicted to win the Colonial Athletic Association for a second straight year it was announced Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 22) in voting conducted by the coaches.

The Nittany Lions, which went 6-0 in CAA play last season and has won its past 11 regular-season games, received 23 points including three first-place votes. Trailing Penn State in the preseason poll was Towson (21 points, 2 first-place votes) and Drexel (18, 1) in second and third, respectively. UMass (12), Hofstra (11) and Delaware (5) rounded out the six-team order.

Penn State's CAA regular-season title was just its second conference trophy (ECAC, 2005) and the first outright championship. The 2014 season will serve as the final year in the CAA before the Nittany Lions enter the Big Ten in 2015. The Nittany Lions will not participate in the CAA Tournament due to conference by-laws pertaining to departing members.

Reigning CAA Player and Defensive Player of the Year Austin Kaut was tabbed by the league's coaches to repeat that honor in 2014. Kaut swept the CAA yearly accolades last year before being named the nation's top goalie and Penn State's first USILA All-American first-teamer in over 80 years.

Joining Kaut on the Preseason All-CAA Team are 2013 All-CAA First Team honorees Tom LaCrosse, Steven Bogert and Tyler Travis as well as 2013 All-CAA Second Team pick TJ Sanders. Senior attackman Shane Sturgis and junior close defenseman JP Burnside were two of five honorable mention candidates for the preseason All-CAA team.

The Nittany Lions led all CAA members with five preseason picks followed by Towson (4) and Drexel (2). UMass, Hofstra and Delaware each had one representative on the 14-player list. Including the honorable mentions, PSU led the way with seven laurels with UMass adding two honorable mentions and Drexel having one.

On Dec. 10, senior Austin Kaut was named to the Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Second Team. A 2013 first-team USILA All-American honoree, Kaut is a three-time All-CAA First Team goaltender, and was named the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. winner as the nation's best collegiate goalie. Senior midfielder Tom LaCrosse and sophomore attackman TJ Sanders earned honorable mention from the Inside Lacrosse staff.

Last season's Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award winner as the nation's top collegiate goalie, senior Austin Kaut will be relied upon as the backbone of the Nittany Lion defense. Kaut registered the nation's third-best goals-against average (7.37), while making a career-best 194 saves. His dominance showed through by making 10 or more saves in 12 games along with three 16-save showings. His .610 save percentage ranked second in the nation en route to CAA Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Austin Kaut has made his stamp in the Penn State record books with a full season remaining. In net, Kaut ranks fifth all-time in saves with 552. He only needs five to catch J.J. Pearl (557, 1989-92), 12 to match Kevin Keenan (564, 1996-99) and 19 to catch Joe Guterding (571, 1979-82). Drew Adams (2006-09) is the all-time saves leader with 694. If Kaut continues his pace of 12 saves per game, he'd surpass Adams in mid-April.

Sophomore TJ Sanders enters 2014 with bigger expectations than a year ago. Sanders, the leading scorer on the team from last season with 44 goals, tied for 15th in the nation in goals per game (2.59) following a stellar freshman season in 2013. Sanders was named the CAA's Rookie of the Year after leading the conference in scoring, while garnering a spot in the All-CAA Second Team, the only freshman recognized on either of the All-CAA teams.

Penn State will once again feature one of the toughest non-conference schedules in Division I lacrosse. The Nittany Lions face six teams ranked in the USILA Coaches and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse Media polls this season. Using the coaches poll alone, the Nittany Lions see three top 10 teams and five in the top 15. Beginning next week, PSU faces four straight ranked opponents in No. 12 Loyola, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 14 Ohio State and No. 4 Denver, with the last three of those coming on the road. Just two non-conference games are to be played against unranked teams: Michigan (Saturday) and Dartmouth (March 18). March 22-April 12 presents another set of challenges when No. 10 Albany and No. 20 Villanova come to Happy Valley before PSU hits the road for its only two road CAA games at Drexel and Towson.

Penn State's success last year revolved around the number 10: as in goals scored and goals allowed. When Penn State tallied 10 or more goals the Nittany Lions were 10-2. More importantly, when PSU allowed less than 10 goals, Penn State went an unblemished 11-0. All five losses came when allowing at least 10 goals and only once did Penn State yield a victory (15-12 vs. Denver on Feb. 19).

Entering 2014, Penn State features six scorers who have tallied hat tricks in their careers: TJ Sanders (9 times), Shane Sturgis (6), Tom LaCrosse (3), Gavin Ahern (2), Kyle VanThof (1) and Steve Aitken (1).

TJ Sanders 9
Shane Sturgis 6
Tom LaCrosse 4
Gavin Ahern 2
Steve Aitken 1
Kyle VanThof 1

The Nittany Lions had one of the finest seasons in the storied history of the program. Penn State set a program record with 12 wins, 17 games played, its first USILA First-Team All-American in over 80 years and the program's first outright conference title. Over the previous two seasons, Penn State has won 21 games, tying the program's most wins in a two-season span (1995-96). Moreover, Penn State earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2005.

Most teams fare better at home, but not the Nittany Lions. Penn State excels on the road, especially in true road games. With last year's win at Hofstra to close the regular season, Penn State has ticked off a school-record 12 straight true road wins. In 2013, Penn State went 7-0 on the road after going 5-0 in 2012. The Lions' last road loss was Apr. 30, 2011 at Hofstra. Penn State has won 14 of its last 15 true road games.

Penn State rattled off the most consecutive wins in NCAA Division I in 2013 with a 10-game streak from March 16 to May 1. The 10-game streak is the longest single-season win streak in PSU history and was just one off the all-time mark. The 1991-92 teams strung together an 11-game win streak from April 20, 1991-April 11, 1992.

The senior trio of Gavin Ahern, Tom LaCrosse and Tyler Travis were selected as Penn State men's lacrosse captains announced Tuesday, Oct. 8 by head coach Jeff Tambroni.

LaCrosse was Penn State's top scoring midfielder last year during the Lions' run to the NCAA Tournament. LaCrosse bagged 23 goals, five assists and 28 points en route to an All-CAA First Team selection and a USILA honorable mention All-America nod. During the team's annual awards banquet, LaCrosse was given the Hard Hat Award for his hard work, persistence, work ethic and "blue collar" standard.

Travis has become a reliable shutdown defender for the Nittany Lions that was also an All-CAA First Team honoree in 2013. Tyler forced 14 turnovers, fourth on the team, along with 31 ground ball pickups, which ranked fifth for the Lions. Last season was Travis's first full season with PSU following injuries and will complete his fifth year this season.

Ahern, the 2013 recipient of the inaugural Tom Hayes Nittany Lion Teammate Award, has been the consummate teammate for the Blue and white. As a junior attackman off the bench, Ahern notched six goals, three assists and nine points in 17 appearances. Ahern has 27 career goals along with nine assists in his first three years at Penn State.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni is in his fourth year on the Penn State sidelines, winning 28 games in the past three years and taking the 2013 team to the NCAA Tournament. Tambroni's side ascended to eighth in the USILA poll, the highest ranking ever, and would go on to win 10 straight games at one point. Despite falling in the NCAA Tournament to Yale, Penn State hosted its first ever NCAA Tournament game following the hosting of the entire 2013 CAA Tournament. Tambroni has also led Penn State to three straight top two finishes in the CAA and has a 15-3 regular-season record in the conference in three years. More information on Tambroni and his career can be found on page 8.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni and assistant coach Chris Doctor will be assistant coaches for the United States and Iroquois Nationals Teams. Tambroni has been with the U.S. team since 2012 and Doctor was added to the Iroquois side in August. The FIL World Championships are set for July 10-19 in Denver, Colo.

Two Penn State men's lacrosse alumni will fight for a spot on the U.S. team that goes to the World Championships this July in Denver. Drew Adams (`09) and Matt Mackrides (`12) are among the 30 players left in the candidate pool. In all, 23 members will be on the official roster come July.

Head coach Jeff Tambroni welcomed the newest class of Nittany Lions in August including two transfers. The most experienced of the group is Cole Yeager, a graduate student transfer from Yale who will feature at the faceoff X. Yeager missed 2013 due to injury, but as a sophomore in 2011, ranked fourth in the country with a 64.8 faceoff winning percentage.

Five freshmen were ranked by Inside Lacrosse in the top 100 including 29th-ranked Nick Aponte, 36th-ranked Mike Sutton, 44th-ranked Nick Mazza, 83rd-ranked Lucas Maloney and 100th-ranked Peter Triolo. Rounding out the class are freshmen Billy Lombardi, Dan Craig, Tyler Chambers, Cole Rainier and sophomore transfer Anthony Santo.

Penn State hosts No. 12 Loyola Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. The game is currently slated to be played at Penn State Lacrosse Field between the former ECAC rivals. The Greyhounds travel to No. 7 Virginia Thursday night at 7 p.m.



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