Men's Lacrosse Traveling to Play for Parkinson's Series
Oct. 14, 2011
By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The series, in an effort to benefit the ProjectSpark foundation, will help in raising money toward finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. The teams and coaches are looking forward to an exciting weekend and helping contribute toward a great cause.
The six-featured men's teams are set to play on Saturday. Penn State will kick the tournament off against Army at 9 a.m and close the tournament against Johns Hopkins at 1 p.m.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni says the team is looking forward to the tough competition and being a part of the fight against Parkinson's.
"We are excited to play teams like Army and Johns Hopkins," said Tambroni. "These teams have been in the playoffs over the last couple of years and will be considered some of the nation's top 10-to-20 teams. It will be great in helping us measure our guys up. It allows us to build a depth chart as we move out of the fall and into the spring. Our number one priority is going to the tournament and playing hard, but not putting too much stock on the score."
While competition is important for the squad, it is not the only focus during the fall season for the Nittany Lions.
"We have tried not to put too much emphasis on this particular competition or our scrimmages in the fall," said Tambroni. "While competition is important, we put more emphasis in the off season on our physical conditioning and the chemistry of our team. Going out there we hope we are going to play hard and play together."
This is the first year the Penn State men's lacrosse team will take part in the tournament. Christian Cook, a former Princeton lacrosse player, established the tournament last year. The idea behind ProjectSpark sponsoring the Parkinson's Lacrosse Series is to highlight young male and female athletes who are fortunate enough to be able to play "the fastest game on two feet" in order to help those whose own mobility suffers from this disease.
Tambroni says the team and coaching staff are honored to not only participate in the tournament, but also contribute toward to the cause.
"We talk to our guys a lot about doing something far greater than just themselves," said Tambroni. "Being a part of not just the program, but also the event and the sport of lacrosse itself to create notoriety not just for Penn State or the sport, but something outside of those things. So this couldn't be a better lineup for us. Aside from playing great competition, being a part of something that's going to help Parkinson's is just a wonderful thing and hopefully it will be a great turn out and experience for all of us."
The Nittany Lions will begin their travel by bus to Alexandria, Va. on Friday. With two days of travel the squad is looking forward to building team chemistry and preparing for road games in the future.
"We have some really important away games early on in the spring," said Tambroni. "Traveling to play UNC, Notre Dame and Ohio State. So this is an opportunity to get our guys on the bus and give them an opportunity to find a routine. This is great way for the freshman to get a feel for how we get into the locker room, how we dress, how we get on the bus, the expectations of how we travel and what we expect the evening before we compete. It's a great way for the team to learn how to prepare themselves mentally from the hotel, to the locker room, to the field. Those are things that can't be replicated unless you actually go out and do them. "
After the Nittany Lions scrimmage Johns Hopkins on Saturday at 1 p.m. the team's fall season culminates and the squad will look ahead to the spring season.