Penn State Men’s Lacrosse’s Defense Growing Stronger Despite Injuries
Teams will always have injuries but what matters is how they work through them.
Penn State men’s lacrosse’s injuries are seeming to pile up as Jack Fracyon, Jack Posey, Jon King, Sean Donnelly, and Mark Sickler are each recovering from injuries ahead of the Nittany Lions’ season opener on Saturday.
Fracyon underwent knee surgery within the last eight months, fighting to return as the starter for his junior season. The goalkeeper got on the field in a preseason scrimmage against Army in an optimistic look at the timeline of his return.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni touched on the difference between looking good on the field versus getting back on the field every day to play a contact sport. To Fracyon’s credit, though, his recovery has been significant, and he’s pushed to put himself in a position to contribute to the team.
“He was terrific all day Saturday and certainly we relied on him quite a bit,” Tambroni said. “Jack was seeing the ball really well and probably stole a few that he shouldn’t have, but he has done this over time, so it’s a luxury to have him in goal. We just want to make sure that we take advantage of having him back there.”
With Fracyon rehabilitating from injury, so is the leader of his back line: Jack Posey.
Posey played in 15 games for the Nittany Lions last season before leaving with an injury during the NCAA Tournament semifinal game against Army. Although there’s no timeline for his return, Posey is a constant leader on and off the field as captain, fortifying the defense.
In Posey’s absence, Kevin Parnham has taken over to lead the back line. Parnham missed some of the beginning of last season with an upper-body injury but hasn’t looked back since his return.
“I think he was our best defenseman this week,” Tambroni said. “His greatest growth is in his leadership and maturity off the field. This past weekend, in Jack’s absence, I thought he took over that leadership role and covered a really good Army defensive team and really good Army attackmen.”
Parnham has been sitting in on leadership meetings for the last two years, always showing an extra drive that sets him apart. Once Posey returns, the two will combine their direction and ability for whoever is in the net.
Despite two crucial players in Posey and Fracyon out injured, Penn State’s defense has remained sturdy and proven that it’s an unaffected piece of a resilient team.
Parnham and Alex Ross easily stepped up to the plate against Army in the scrimmage, and Will Costin started in place of Posey.
Tambroni applauded Ryan Huff’s performance against the Knights, noting he’s someone who “brings the juice every day” and inspires the team.
“He sacrifices his body and plays just so hard. We talked about the identity of a tough team, both mentally and physically, and he just lays his heart on the line every day,” Tambroni said.
With a strong group of returning defensemen and promising newcomers, Penn State’s defense isn’t slowing down despite its setbacks. With Fracyon pushing every day to be 100%, it won’t be long until the Nittany Lions surpass their momentum from last year.
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