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Men’s college preview: PSU-Abington looks to improve

Friday, 24th February 2012

Categories Boy's/Men's, College  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/24/12
From Press Release

A new year has dawned on the Penn State Abington men’s lacrosse squad as the Nittany Lions have officially turned a corner into the 2012 season as the program enter its fourth year of being a varsity sport.

The anticipation of becoming NCAA full members in the Fall 2012, the lacrosse program will be able to reach new heights attracting four year student-athletes. With the emergence of local and out of state high school student-athletes coming to Abington and graduating should clearly identify Penn State Abington as a four year institution.

The Nittany Lions begin their 2012 season on Saturday as they travel north to Newburgh, N.Y., to take on Mount Saint Mary’s College.

Head coach Keith Brandon will see four members of the team returning from last season, meaning he will have to rely on a number of new student-athletes to fill the gaps left by those departing either through graduating or transferring to University Park. The toughest loss for Brandon is replacing last season’s top goal scorer for the Nittany Lions, Justin O’Brien who led the team with 20 points (17 goals, 3 assists).

Nonetheless, Brandon and the entire Nittany Lion program have reason to be excited. Entering the year with a tremendous sense of optimism, the Blue and White sport energized veterans to go along with the exuberance of the newcomers.

“I want to build a program where we’re creating a brotherhood and we’re using the brotherhood to build leaders,” Brandon said. “Without leadership, one can not be successful on or off the field.”

ATTACK

Despite the departure of several outstanding offensive pieces from last season’s squad, the Nittany Lions do sport a number of talented student-athletes in the attack to begin the year: Kieran Ragan (Father Judge), a 2009 Northern Division Second-Team All-Catholic League pick; sophomore Dan Goldstein (Methacton) and freshman Ryan Dasch (Archbishop Ryan).

MIDFIELD

Sophomore Chris Antkowiak (father Judge) returns for his second season to pace the midfield and senior Christopher Calhoun (Archbishop Ryan) had 36 groundballs last year as a defensive midfielder. Sophomores Mokhtar Alhindi (Hatboro-Horsham) and Marcello D’Amore (Abington) will look to be significant contributors while newcomers Arya Kermanshah and Matthew Stern (Lower Moreland), and sophomores William Caine (Father Judge) and Joe Gonzalez (Father Judge) add depth to the midfield.

FACEOFF

Calhoun has the early edge as Abington’s top choice at the X with Antkowiak as the top backup.

DEFENSE

Defense could be Abington’s questionable point. The Blue and White will hope to be more aggressive and disciplined on the defensive end in 2012. Sophomore Steve Hamlet will be called upon to be a leader for the defense as they look to create a tight wall in front of the cage. Junior Andrew Carter (Calvary Christian) hopes to become a strong presence and sophomores Christopher Cruz (William Tennent), Robert Shulski (Hatboro-Horsham) and Jason Leonhardt (Father Judge) and freshman Andrew Girondo (Upper Dublin) will look to add depth.

GOALKEEPING

Sophomore Trevor Jones returns to man the pipes this season. Jones put together a solid season last year as he posted 129 saves. Girondo will serve as the backup.

OUTLOOK

Despite the team’s youth, the Nittany Lions are optimistic. “All we can control is working hard, learning, and improving as a team every day,” Brandon said.

2012 Men’s Lacrosse Schedule, Penn State Abington
Date Opponent Time/Result
2/25/2012 @ Mount Saint Mary’s College 1 p.m.
3/3/2012 @ Albright College 1 p.m.
3/7/2012 @ Marymount University 5 p.m.
3/10/2012 @ Hilbert College 1 p.m.
3/17/2012 Vs. Alvernia University 1 p.m.
3/21/2012 @ Misericordia University 4 p.m.
3/24/2012 Vs. Thiel College 1 p.m.
3/31/2012 @ Wells College 3 p.m.
4/7/2012 Vs. Cazenovia College 12 p.m.
4/14/2012 Vs. SUNYIT 1 p.m.
4/18/2012 @ SUNY Morrisville 4 p.m.
4/21/2012 Vs. Keuka College 1 p.m.
4/25/2012 Vs. SUNY Cobleskill 4 p.m.
4/28/2012 @ Medaille College 12 p.m.
5/4/2012 North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship

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