Tambroni and Staff Gameplan For Hofstra's Canadian-Born Scorers
April 27, 2011
By Will Donley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Every lacrosse fan is aware of the impact that Canadian-born lacrosse players are having on college lacrosse. It seems that every team has a Canadian-born player - generally a pure goal scorer - leading the way. This trend is not new to the 21st century. These players have been scoring goals for college lacrosse teams for years.
The most famous Canadian-born duo must be Gary and Paul Gait. This set of twins exploded onto the college lacrosse scene in 1897. With confidence, bravado and a flair for the dramatic, the Gaits won three championships at Syracuse. They continued their successes after college, winning championships - indoors and outdoors - and earning Hall of Fame inductions in 2005.
Delaware's John Grant, Jr. was not far behind the Gaits. Entering NCAA lacrosse in 1998, Grant, Jr. only played two years for the Blue Hens. He is, perhaps, the most decorated lacrosse player of all time. With indoor and outdoor championships, as well as world championships, and individual player of the year awards, Grant, Jr. is one of the most recognizable Canadian-born lacrosse players.
There have been contemporary Canadian-born lacrosse players that have made their mark, as well. Virginia's A.J. Shannon helped lead the Cavaliers to the NCAA Championship in 2003. After spending time at Duke and Bryant, Zack Greer finished his college lacrosse career in 2009 as the NCAA's all-time leader in goals and in points.
Coach Tambroni and his staff are well aware of the potent scoring abilities of players with names like the Gait, Grant, Jr., Shannon and Greer. This week, though, they are much more concerned about players with names like Card and Lincoln.
Jay Card (Caledon, Ontario) and Jamie Lincoln (St. Catharines, Ontario) are first and second, respectively, in scoring for Hofstra. They are dynamic Canadian-born finishers that can score from anywhere on the field.
Card, a senior attackman, leads the Pride with 40 points. He has tallied 27 goals and added 13 assists. Card is a two-time honorable mention All American.
Lincoln, also a senior attackman, has scored 27 goals and added eight assists for 35 points this spring. He also earned honorable mention All American laurels last year. Lincoln transferred to Hofstra last year after playing two seasons for Denver. There, he scored 53 goals and added six assists in only 26 games.
In the fashion of most Canadian-born players, Card and Lincoln only play with their dominant hands. Because Card is right-handed and Lincoln is left-handed, however, they provide a balance to Hofstra's offense.
Defenses must content with Card on the right-handed wing and Lincoln on the left-handed wing. If either player is neglected, he is savvy enough to get himself open to catch the ball and score.
When given the opportunity to work together, either on or off the ball, they are as deadly a combination as any in NCAA lacrosse. Five of Lincoln's eight assists have come on Card goals. Card has assisted Lincoln three times this season, as well.
The Nittany Lion defense must smother this potent duo must with tough on-ball defense and team-defense fundamentals. If Penn State's short stick defensive midfielders can stifle Hofstra's initiators, then the Nittany Lion defense will not have to slide and will be able to cover the Pride's off-ball players like Card and Lincoln. When they do have to slide to Hofstra's initiators, the Penn State defense will have to rotate quickly to cover Card and Lincoln, who both have the ability to find shooting space.
Card and Lincoln are crafty players, though. Regardless of how well the Nittany Lions play on defense, these two Canadian-born players will get open for scoring opportunities. When that happens, Penn State's freshman goalie Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) will have to contend with their quick releases. Kaut will have to anticipate their shots. Otherwise, the ball may be in the back of the net before he has the chance to react.
Penn State has its own Canadian-born player to compete with Hofstra. This Nittany Lion does not score goals like Card and Lincoln, though. He defends them.
Freshman defenseman Ryne Sternberg (Toronto, Ontario) has started four games for the Nittany Lions. He has seen significant time in all of Penn State's games this spring, either at close defense or as a long stick defensive midfielder. Sternberg is a tremendous athlete that can run with any player in the country.
Sternberg and the rest of the Nittany Lions take on the Pride this Saturday at 7 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y. With a No. 1 seed for the CAA tournament on the line, expect added physicality and intensity throughout the game. Too, Hofstra will be looking for revenge after Penn State defeated the pride last season in overtime.
Will Donley, Senior Attackman, Penn State Men's Lacrosse Team, GoPSUsports.com