Twelve Newcomers Will Join the Men's Lacrosse Squad for the 2002 Campaign
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., June 27, 2001 - Penn State head men's lacrosse coach Glenn Thiel announced that 11 freshman and a transfer from the University of Maryland Baltimore County will be joining the Nittany Lion squad beginning the 2002 campaign. The Nittany Lion coaching staff is looking to replace a senior class which graduated 12 players last year, including a starting goalkeeper.
Jesse Tarr is one of three players from the Keystone State who will be joining the squad next spring. A native of Media, Pa., he attended Penncrest High School where he was named a high school All-American this past season. A 6-2, 175 pound defenseman, Tarr is a two-time all-state selection at that position.
Erik Blindenbacher set the Pennsylvania career scoring record, recording 245 goals in four seasons at Lower Merion High School. Hailing from Ardmore, Pa., the 5-11, 180 attackman is a two-time high school All-American and was also an all-state performer twice. Last spring, Blindenbacher scored 53 goals en route to setting the state career mark.
Also from the State of Pennsylvania is attackman John Eremus. Eremus comes to Penn State by way of the Haverford School in Haverford, Pa. A midfielder, he was names all-state in 2001.
Derek Howells is a 5-11, 185 pound midfielder who graduated from Niskayuna High School in Albany, N.Y. A high school All-American, he was twice picked all-section, while participating in the Empire State games twice. A scholar athlete, Howells played in the North-South All-Star Classic this spring.
Josh LaGrow hails from Syracuse, N.Y. An all-conference pick at Christian Brothers Academy, he was named to the Central Empire State squad twice. The 6-4, 230 pound goalkeeper will challenge for a starting role at the position and try to fill the shoes of Nittany Lion four-year starter Matt Vallone who graduated this spring.
A 5-11, 170 pound midfielder from Penn Yan, N.Y., Ken Mayville was a member of the New York State Championship squad with Penn Yan High School.
Also signing with the Lions is Yanni Hufnagel. He is a 6-foot, 175 defenseman from Scarsdale, N.Y. He attended Scarsdale High School for four years.
The Lions sign two from Washington, D.C. Will Jones attended DeMatha High School where he was a second team all-metropolitan selection twice and a first team all-conference pick. Also lettering in football while at DeMatha, he was selected to play in the North-South Classic. Jones is a 6-2, 185 pound midfielder.
Joining Jones on the squad from the nation's capital is Will Cutler. Cutler is a 5-11, 180 pound midfielder who can also play attack. He comes to State College from St. Johns College and is a first team all-conference performer. He was also named All-MAC twice.
A 2000 Bay State All-Star, Mike Bailey will join the Nittany Lions this spring. A graduate of the Severn School in Severna Park, Md., he looks to add depth to the Nittany Lion squad as a 5-11, 175 pound midfielder.
Mike Jacober comes to Penn State all the way from Providence, R.I. The 6-foot, 175 pound midfielder is a high school All-American out of the Moses Brown School. Named all-state twice, he was named the team's Most Valuable Player and was selected to play in the East-West All-Star game.
The final signee of the 2002 class is a transfer Dave Smith from ECAC conference rival UMBC. A starting defender for the Retrievers, he helped UMBC to a one-goal win over the Lions this spring in State College. Smith originally hails from Ellicott, Md., and attended Mount Hebron High School.
"We are very excited about this group of student-athletes," says coach Thiel. "Jesse Tarr will be a great addition to the defense, as will Dave Smith. Josh LaGrow will remind PSU fans of Matt Vallone in the goal with his 6-4, 230-pound size. Derek Howells, Will Jones and Ken Mayville will be impact players very soon. At the attack end of the field, we expect John Eremus to be a creator and Erik Blindenbacher to be a great shooter as he was at Lower Merion. Obviously, time will tell, but this class has the makings to replace our departing seniors very quickly."
The Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team was 7-6 overall in 2001, and fourth in the ECAC with a 2-4 record.