Nittany Lion Men's Lacrosse Team Travels to Loyola for ECAC Lacrosse League Opener Saturday
ON THE AIR
Penn State enters the game with an 0-1 mark after its hard-fought 8-4 loss at No. 12 Notre Dame in its season opener last Sunday. Nate Whitaker scored three of Penn State's four goals in the game, which was tied 3-3 heading into the final period. Freshman keeper Drew Adams had an outstanding collegiate debut, collecting 16 saves in the contest.
Penn State is being led by Whitaker and senior classmate Greg Gurenlian, who had Penn State's other goal, four ground balls and won six of 16 face-offs.
Loyola, receiving votes in the 2/21 Inside Lacrosse media poll, dropped a tough 11-10 decision at No. 11 Towson on Saturday. The Greyhounds nearly came back from a 9-6 fourth period deficit to grab the win. Middie Oliver Bacon led LC with three goals and an assist in the game while attackman Phil Grillo added three goals.
After this weekend's game at Loyola, Penn State will return to action next week with two more road games. The Nittany Lions will battle Dartmouth at St. Paul's School in Baltimore, Md., on Wednesday, March 8, at noon. The Lions will also trek to Ohio State for a noon game on Saturday, March 11.
PENN STATE RANKED NO. 16 IN LATEST INSIDE LACROSSE MEDIA POLL
LIONS GO 2-0-1 IN EXHIBITIONS
BENJAMIN, GURENLIAN AND WHITAKER NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
Benjamin, a defender, is a three-year letterman and started all 15 games for Penn State last year. He notched 25 ground balls, which was fifth on the team. " Keith is our team's defensive organizer on the field," Thiel said. "He is well respected by his teammates and will be a good leader for the young defenders in our freshman class."
Gurenlian, middle/face-off middie, was voted team Most Valuable Player last season after leading the team in ground balls with 111 and scoring 12 points off five goals and seven assists. Gurenlian led Penn State in face-off percentage at (.636) and was second on the team in shot percentage (.500). "Greg is very intense, motivational and physically demanding," Thiel said. "He will be an outstanding captain and leader for this squad. We expect his roll to be expanded on the field as well, with offensive midfield runs added to his already outstanding contributions during face-off play."
Whitaker, attackman, was a second team All-ECAC pick last season and was once again Penn State's leading scorer in 2005 with 44 points off 31 goals and 13 assists. Both goal and assist totals were team bests and his three game-winning goals was tops on the team as well. "We look for our attack unit of Nate, John Eremus, Max VanArsdale and Brian Boyle to really feed off Nate's ability to finish for us," Thiel said.
THREE NITTANY LIONS EARN PRE-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN HONORS
Gurenlian was named a third-team pre-season All-American as one the face-off specialist. A captain on this year's team, Gurenlian had a .636 face-off percentage last year, winning 194 of 305 attempts. He notched 12 points on five goals and seven assists as well. He also led Penn State with 111 ground balls. Whitaker was named to the Honorable Mention squad on attack. The senior captain was Penn State's leading scorer in 2005 with 44 points off 31 goals and 13 assists. Whitaker collected 17 ground balls as well. Heim, a junior, was also on the Honorable Mention squad as midfielder. Heim scored 33 points during his sophomore campaign, scoring 22 goals and dishing off 11 assists. He also nabbed 24 ground balls.
SOPHOMORE MAX VANARSDALE OUT FOR YEAR
NITTANY LIONS LAND IN TOP THREE OF ECAC LACROSSE LEAGUE PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 9-6 season that saw them win a share of the league crown with a 5-1 mark. Penn State also earned its second trip to the NCAA Tournament in three years. Thiel's squad returns seven starters and 24 lettermen from a season ago and is coming off a solid 2-0-1 exhibition slate.
Georgetown has been picked first by the league coaches for seven straight years and has won the title five times during that span. Massachusetts and Penn State shared the league crown last season with identical 5-1 records. Rounding out the league poll is Loyola (4), Fairfield (5), Hobart (6), Rutgers (7) and St. John's (8).
WHITAKER AND HEIM NAMED TO ECAC LACROSSE PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE TEAM
Heim, a junior, was a 2005 All-ECAC Lacrosse first team pick last year after scoring 33 points off 22 goals and 11 assists. He and Whitaker are both Inside Lacrosse honorable mention preseason All-Americans this year as well. Massachusetts senior Sean Morris was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Jack Reid, also of Massachusetts, was named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Penn State opens up its regular season this coming Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Notre Dame. The Nittany Lions, under the guidance of veteran head coach Glenn Thiel, are coming off a 9-6 season that saw them win a share of the ECAC Lacrosse title with a 5-1 league record and earn their second trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament in the last three years.
WHITAKER'S SCORING STREAK STILL ALIVE
WHITAKER AND HEIM NAMED TO ECAC PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE TEAM