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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 16 Penn State men’s lacrosse team hosts Robert Morris on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Panzer Stadium in the final game of the season-opening four-game homestand. Penn State is 2-1 on the early season, all at home.
Robert Morris enters the contest with a 1-2 record, but both of their losses have come by three or fewer goals to either ranked or receiving vote’s opponents.
Spectators for men’s lacrosse may park in the lower portion of lot 44, which is reserved parking for the Lacrosse events on Saturday. Fans are asked to not park in the back of the Multi-Sport facility due to the team tent areas.
Saturday will be Boy Scout Day at Panzer Stadium, and following the conclusion of the game, select Penn State men’s lacrosse student-athletes will be available for the first autograph session of the season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Penn State men’s lacrosse team used an impressive faceoff performance from sophomore Gerard Arceri to take down visiting Stony Brook, 15-8, in the first regular season game played in the newly minted Panzer Stadium.
Arceri finished the game winning 20 of his 27 faceoff attempts, adding 16 ground balls, and three points with two goals and his first career assist.
Penn State also got an impressive performance from junior Kevin Hill as he put in a game-high four goals on just five shots. Sophomore Mac O’Keefe finished three goals, while freshman Bobby Burns, junior Nick Spillane, and sophomore Dylan Foulds all added two points. Burns and Foulds each added one goal and one assist, while Spillane dished out two dimes.
NITTANY LIONS BUILDING IN DEPTH
The Nittany Lions present a menacing starting lineup on both attack and defense that can cause problems for many teams. Beyond their starters though, there are a lot of question marks on both sides of the ball at an early point in the season.
The challenge for Tambroni and his staff is motivating the rest of the team to step up and make meaningful contributions.
"Inevitably, every student-athlete wants to play, everybody wants to contribute on game day because they work so hard," Tambroni said. "The onus falls on Jeff Tambroni. It's my job to make sure there's a grander purpose than coming in here and playing. There's got to be a reason why these guys come here."
Although the message starts with the coaching staff, it is then on the team to uphold it in the locker room and on the field.
Headed into its fourth matchup of the year, Tambroni hopes this is a point of significance that Penn State can buy into.
"We have to provide that purpose and perspective that it's more about being a part of something bigger than yourself, about the preparation over four years and about being great teammates," Tambroni said. "If these guys can encapsulate that perspective, it makes it a little bit easier."
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PENN STATE ON BTN
Penn State will be featured on the Big Ten Network four times, along with two ESPNU coverages which were announced earlier this month.
The Nittany Lions will be the first game of the season to be aired on BTN as Penn State’s contest against Stony Brook on Saturday, February 17 will be aired live at 2 p.m. ET.
Penn State will also be on BTN for their conference games against Maryland, Rutgers, and Michigan.
The Terrapins will come to Happy Valley on Sunday, April 8 for a 7 p.m. game, and the Nittany Lions’ home ‘Senior Day’ contest against Michigan on April 28 at 11 a.m. will also be aired. The Michigan game will be a Penn State doubleheader as the women’s lacrosse team will also take on Michigan for their ‘Senior Day’ and will be aired at 2 p.m.
Penn State’s road trip to Rutgers will be on BTN at 7 p.m. on April 22.
ARCERI NAMED BIG TEN SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK (2/20)
Penn State men’s lacrosse sophomore Gerard Arceri was named the Big Ten Specialist of the Week, as well as, being named to the USILA Team of the Week for his dominating performance against Stony Brook.
Arceri was a key cog in the Nittany Lions’ offense as he went 20-27 on the faceoff, including a commanding 9 of 10 in the opening quarter that led to three goals in the first 1:03 of the game. The sophomore from St. James, N.Y., finished the game with a career-high 16 ground balls, and three points, scoring two goals and dishing out his first career assist. This was Arceri’s first career multi-goal game and he finished with a season-high .741 faceoff winning percentage.
O’KEEFE NAMED B1G OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK (2/13)
Mac O’Keefe was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Hobart, as announced by the league office on Tuesday afternoon. O’Keefe scored a team-best five goals against Hobart, adding an assist as well. The attackman added four ground balls and one caused turnover. He scored three of Penn State’s goals during a crucial second half 8-1 run that gave the Nittany Lions the lead and the win after being down 7-6 at the half. His assist came during that run as well.
This is the second-straight Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor for Penn State as Ryan Keenan was honored last week. Freshman Jack Kelly earned Freshman of the Week honors as well last week. O’Keefe now has two
KEENAN, KELLY EARN B1G HONORS
Following the first week of action, the Penn State men’s lacrosse team saw senior midfielder Ryan Keenan and freshman midfielder Jack Kelly earn Big Ten weekly honors as Keenan was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and Kelly took home the Freshman of the Week honor, as announced by the league office on Tuesday afternoon.
Keenan, who was named a member of the USILA DI Team of the Week on Monday, earns his first career honor from the Big Ten after putting together a career performance against Villanova. The middie scored a career-high five goals and added two assists on the way to a personal best seven points. He also scooped up five ground balls in the game. His five goals put him in a four-way tie atop the NCAA goals per game leaderboard.
Kelly took home the Freshman of the Week honor after scoring two goals in his first collegiate game. His two goals came on his only two shots of the game. He also added two ground balls and a caused turnover.
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.
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.