STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - The Penn State men's lacrosse program is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons as announced on the selection show televised by ESPNU on Sunday night. The Nittany Lions earned an at-large bid and a subsequent eight seed from the selection committee. PSU will host the Ivy League champion Yale Bulldogs.
"It was a gratifying feeling," head coach Jeff Tambroni said after the bracket was revealed. "Certainly after last year's disappointment not to have gone into the playoff after all the work those guys had done, especially for our seniors last year. To see these guys celebrate the way they did tonight...that elation of all their hard work and preparation is paying off for that very moment was gratifying for our coaching staff and for our team."
Penn State (12-4) will continue its record-setting season on Saturday, May 11 at Penn State Lacrosse Field for a 2:30 p.m. opening faceoff. The Nittany Lions were ranked in the top 10 all season in the Ratings Percentage Index, the main criteria by which the NCAA selection committee determines the 16-team field.
The winner of the Penn State-Yale matchup will move on to a quarterfinal at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. Against the Syracuse-Bryant winner. The Orange are the overall No. 1 seed.
The Nittany Lions are making their third NCAA appearance following showings in the 2003 and 2005 tournaments. In 2003, Penn State fell at Towson, while in 2005 PSU lost a 14-10 contest at Maryland.
Penn State has put together one of the best seasons in school history, rattling off the most wins in a single season (12), longest winning streak in a season (10), playing the most games in a season (16, in the NCAA First Round), while posting its first perfect regular-season conference season at 6-0 in the CAA. Penn State also won its first postseason contest by defeating Massachusetts in the CAA Semifinals on Wednesday before falling to Towson in the title game.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni was named the CAA Coach of the Year for the second time in his career, one of three individual award winners as PSU swept the CAA honors. Additionally, Penn State placed six Nittany Lions on the All-CAA First Team including Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) who was named the CAA's Player and Defensive Player of the Year, while TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) was named Rookie of the Year. Sanders was an All-CAA Second Team honoree.
Joining Kaut on the top CAA squad were leading scorer Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.), faceoff specialist Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.), long-stick midfielder Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.), defenseman Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.) and top scoring midfielder Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.).
For Tambroni, this will be his ninth team he's taken to the NCAA Tournament as he led the Cornell Big Red to eight appearances in his 10 years.
--PSU Athletic Communications--