We now briefly interrupt your thirst for sun and sand, barbecues, and the never-ending quest to finally reel in the big one, strictly to serve notice that the City of Brotherly Love is in the direct path of a blizzard. A Penn State White Out if you will! If all goes well, conditions may linger late into the upcoming holiday weekend. Of course, it’s not October in Happy Valley and I’m not talking Old Man Winter. What I am talking about is our red-hot Penn State men’s lacrosse squad, that just so happen to be in the midst of a historic run for the ages. After Sunday’s 20-14 quarterfinals win over Loyola, the Nittany Lions have punched their ticket to the NCAA Final Four in the most friendly of locations: Philadelphia, PA.
Let me make it clear right now, if you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet, it’s high time you caught the fever. It didn’t take me long to figure out why lacrosse earned the reputation of being the quickest sport on two feet when out of nowhere it was Penn State LAX leading the way. The pace and scoring are so fast and so furious, they’ve evoked shades of Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter, and the ’94 football squad. In fact, combined with the 25-10 win over UMBC in the first round, Penn State became the first team since Syracuse in 1990 to reel off two straight 20 point games in the tournament.
Now, I may be new to all this, like most of you, but I know enough to remember the ‘Cuse once reigned supreme over college lacrosse, dating all the way back to the days when Jim Brown carried a stick for the Orange. To be mentioned in the same breath as them tells me all I need to know about this team. Head Coach Jeff Tambroni has assembled a real contender that has managed to rock the sport’s traditional blue-bloods back on their heels all season long and they’re expected to be even better down the road. Grant Ament, Mac O’Keefe, and Jack Kelley represent the triple-threat on offense. Chris Sabia is a bona fide pest to any opponent on D, Gerard Arceri is the X-factor on faceoffs, and goaltender Colby Kneese has done his best to keep the net as clean as can be. And that’s only naming a few that helped lead Penn State to a 17-1 overall record.
In a season full of firsts, the only thing now that stands in their way is revenge and three traditional powerhouses doing everything they can to deny the new sheriff in town. The winner of Duke-Virginia lays in wait to crown the king on Monday, but first on the docket is a 2:30 face-off with Yale, Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. The Nittany Lions look to avenge a lone blemish on an otherwise stellar season during the rematch. The Eli came away with a one point, 14-13 win over Penn State on their own home turf in New Haven, Connecticut, way back on February 23, just as the season started heating up. Since then, the Nittany Lions have reeled off 13 straight, gained and maintained their first-ever No. 1 ranking, won their first Big Ten Championship, recorded their first NCAA tournament win in program history, and now they stand at the pinnacle. All that’s left is the all-hands-on-deck call to White Out the City of Brotherly Love this weekend and roar our Lions to victory!