Men's Lacrosse Announces Team Awards for 2005 Season
University Park, Pa., May 19, 2005 - The Penn State men's lacrosse team announced its team awards at the annual team picnic in a vote by the coaching staff recently. Seven awards were distributed with three senior being honored.
The George Pittenger Award, which is given to the most valuable senior went to senior captain Marc Young (Devon, Pa.). Young started in 10 of 15 games this season while collecting 14 ground balls. He registered three shots against Ohio State, Notre Dame and Fairfield. Young is known for his physical play in the defensive-midfield unit, which gave the Lions a strong option to go to in pressing situations. He joins a list of 57 other Nittany Lions who have earned the award in memory of George Pittenger, a Nittany Lion lacrosse player who was killed in action in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army. The Pittenger Award is the oldest award given dating back to 1947.
Senior defenseman Jesse Tarr (Media, Pa.) was honored as the Lockhart Memorial Award winner given to the best defensive player on the team. Tarr was second on the team in ground balls with a season-high, 50. He tallied two goals against Bucknell and finished with five ground balls games against Notre Dame, Mt. Saint Mary's and Rutgers. He also recorded three assists on the season. The distinction is in memory of Andrew Lockhart, a 1962 Nittany Lion All-American defenseman.
Sophomore defenseman Devin Kennedy (Germantown, Md.) was presented the Nick Thiel Award as most improved player on the team. The award is in memory of Glenn N. "Nick" Thiel, Penn State coach from 1935-1956. Kennedy started in 11 of 12 games this year including the NCAA Tournament first round game against Maryland. He collected nine ground balls on the year and had two games where he picked up two ground balls against Stony Brook and St. John's.
The Hoover Ground Ball Award and the Friends of Penn State Lacrosse Team Most Valuable Player both went to junior midfielder Greg Gurenlian (Springfield, Pa.). Gurenlian saw action in every game this season and collected a season-high 111 ground balls, which is first on the team, first in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and fourth in the NCAA. He was also first in the ECAC in face-off percentage and second in the NCAA with a .636 average. Gurenlian earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honors twice this season for performances against Hobart, Mt. Saint Mary's and Fairfield. He was also named to the ECAC Weekly Honor Roll after scoring two goals and one assist against Loyola.
Junior attackman Nate Whitaker (Great Falls, Va.) was given the Friends of Penn State Lacrosse Top Scorer Award. Whitaker led the team in points (44), goals (31) and assists (13) while picking up 17 ground balls. After scoring one goal and one assist against Maryland, he extended his scoring streak to 42 games having scored at least one point in every game he has played in as a Nittany Lion. Whitaker earned ECAC Offensive Player of the Week honors after finishing with five points against Bucknell and two goals and two assists versus Rutgers. He was also named to the ECAC Weekly Honor Roll four times for performances against Villanova, St. John's, Fairfield and Duke. At the start of the season Whitaker was also named to the ECAC Preseason All-League team.
Senior captain Mike Jacober (Providence, R.I.) was presented with the Nittany Lion Club Academic Award for excellence in the classroom. Jacober competed in 14 games this season scoring goals against Loyola, St. John's, Georgetown and Maryland.
Penn State fell to Maryland, 14-10, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on May 14. The tournament berth was the second for the Lions in three years and the second in school history. Penn State finished with a 9-6, 5-1 record, which was good enough for a share of the ECAC title with Massachusetts and a No. 11 ranking in the Geico/STX Coaches Poll at the end of the regular season.