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Offensive Depth, Strength On Faceoffs Key To First Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Win Over Maryland

No. 1 Penn State men’s lacrosse took down No. 2 Maryland on the road Sunday night with a final score of 13-10. The win was significant for a number of reasons: It was both teams’ Big Ten opener, but it was also the Nittany Lions’ first victory over the Terrapins since lacrosse became a varsity sport at Maryland in 1924.

“It was a good deal of satisfaction for our entire program,” head coach Jeff Tambroni said “But I also think there was a great deal of perspective that went along with that. It was a stop along the way, and our guys were excited about the opportunity to have finally secured a victory over a really competent team.”

Although his name didn’t appear on the scoresheet, junior Gerard Arceri was a key piece of the victory. Arceri went down with an injury against Maryland last season, but this year was a completely different story for the faceoff specialist.

In this matchup, the faceoff ace tallied a 69.2 percent win rate at the X against Maryland’s quality faceoff unit, and he also picked up 10 ground balls for good measure.

“Gerard was able to get better as the game went on. He seemed to be stronger, he seemed to be faster as the game went on,” Tambroni said. “And when we really needed him the most, he seemed to be at his best and most consistent.”

Tambroni also noted how important some of the contributions from younger players were. Tewaaraton award candidate Grant Ament, who sat out the Nittany Lions’ previous game with an injury, registered only two assists, but freshman Jack Traynor stepped up to the plate and provided a spark for the Penn State offense with two goals.

Sophomore Jack Kelly also provided offensive production for the Nittany Lions — he paced Penn State’s offense with a hat trick of his own. That’s not to discount the production of stars like Ament and sharpshooter Mac O’Keefe, who added his 37th and 38th goals of the year in the win.

As far as Kelly is concerned, however, Tambroni is proud of how he fills whatever role the team needs him in.

“He’s been a star for us in practice,” Tambroni said. “He’s been a star for us throughout the course of the year because he continues to keep getting better and better, and he puts a lot of pressure on an opposing team’s defense. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s multifaceted; he can feed, he can shoot, and he can dodge.”

The team started off red-hot by taking an 8-1 at the end of the first quarter. However, Penn State’s offense went cold for the next quarter-and-a-half, which allowed Maryland to go on a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 8-7 midway through the third quarter

Tambroni felt his offense could’ve been much better in its decision-making after the first quarter.

“At the end, I thought we were probably our own worst enemy at times [during Maryland’s 6-0 run],” Tambroni said. “We took some ill-advised shots from some ill-advised locations, were a little impatient, and certainly didn’t collaborate as much or as well as we did early in the game.”

During the course of that Terrapin run, however, Tambroni never thought his team was losing control of the game.

“We had a full dose of respect for our opponent, but I really felt like Gerard is always going to give us a chance and he proved us right in that regard,” he said. “I felt like our defense was just playing extremely sound, so we felt like at least we were going to stay in the game. Whether or not we were going to keep the lead or not, we were going to stay in the game.”

Despite overcoming a huge challenge in College Park, the Nittany Lions’ road doesn’t get easier anytime soon. Penn State will next take on No. 7 Ohio State at 7 p.m. Sunday in Panzer Stadium.

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About the Author

Navin Zachariah

Navin is just your average Dallas Cowboys fan from "right outside of Philly." A biology major, Navin hopes to one day cure the Cowboys of Jason Garrett. He is one of the select few who actually like The Chainsmokers. And if you see someone who looks exactly like him around campus, it could actually be his identical twin brother. Navin always trusts the process. Feel free to contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @nzach3.

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