For what it’s worth, Yale had nothing left in the tank on Monday in their bid to repeat as National Champs. Sadly for us, it was probably at Penn State’s expense they fell so flat in the final. During semifinal play, the Eli managed to rip the Nittany Lion defense to shreds right from the jump on Saturday afternoon and effectively smothered Penn State’s quest to be crowned the new kings of LAX. Falling behind 10-1 in the first quarter just wasn’t going to get it done on this day or any other, although the Nittany Lions did come roaring back to get within three several times. Unfortunately, State could not close the gap as they took it on the chin, 21-17. Poor defense, being on the winning side of only 30% of the face-offs, and most likely a lot of big stage jitters cost us in the end.
The rematch with Yale wasn’t the outcome we brought the blizzard to Philly for, but one thing is for sure, those Lions did not go down without a fight and they have nothing to hang their heads over. It was a season full of firsts for this up-and-coming program, but one that ultimately saw the grand prize slip away. That said, the arrival of Penn State men’s lacrosse reverberated loud and clear throughout the season. As new as I am to the sport, I can’t say for certain if we’re ahead of schedule or right where we’re supposed to be, but one thing I do know is that WE ARE here to stay.
Attackman Nick Spillane was the lone senior to take the field on Saturday and Penn State returns most of its key elements that helped the squad rise to a first-ever No. 1 ranking which they rode that all the way to the Linc in Philly and the NCAA College Lacrosse Final Four. That includes but is not limited to All-Tournament honoree Grant Arnet (a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, lacrosse’s version of the Heisman), Mac O’Keefe, Chris Sabia, Jack Kelley, and of course, head coach Jeff Tambroni, the architect of it all. Despite a loss in the semifinals, the Nittany Lions will most likely enter 2020 holding onto that No. 1 preseason ranking and will be considered a major threat next year.
By now, the dust has settled and we’ve returned to our usual pace this time of year. All eyes are on football of course, next up on our sports agenda. I guess I kind of figured this newfound LAX-fever we caught hold of this spring would have faded away already, but here I am still thirsting for more. A sea of white in late May? A blizzard in Philly? Who would have thought? There we were rallying our squad like only Nittany Nation can and always does. Brick-by-brick they say, and I have a feeling this year was just a taste of what’s to come!