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Penn State men, women happy to join inaugural Big 10 conference for lacrosse

Monday, 3rd June 2013

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Girl's/Women's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/3/13
From Press Release

The Big Ten Conference formally announced the establishment of men’s and women’s lacrosse as conference sports on Monday morning. The official announcement, which took place at Johns Hopkins University, adds lacrosse with corresponding championships for the 2015 spring season.

“We are very excited for the institution of Big Ten men’s and women’s lacrosse, with competition beginning in 2015,” stated Dave Joyner, Penn State Director of Athletics. “Men’s and women’s lacrosse has a long and successful tradition at Penn State and in the Mid-Atlantic and we embrace the opportunity to help lacrosse continue to rapidly grow throughout the country. We look forward to continuing to build partnerships with the other Big Ten schools sponsoring lacrosse. It’s a great pleasure to welcome Johns Hopkins as an affiliate member; an institution with tremendous academics and lacrosse achievement.”

Big Ten Conference rules allow for a league championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport. Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan already sponsor men’s and women’s programs as do Maryland and Rutgers, who will join the Big Ten for all sports on July 1, 2014. The Northwestern women and Johns Hopkins men will round out the newly formed Big Ten lacrosse lineup. Formation of potential Big Ten Conference tournaments will be announced at a later date.

Penn State’s men’s team will play one final season in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2014, and the women will compete in one final season with the American Lacrosse Conference. The Nittany Lion men won the outright CAA regular season title in 2013 and the women finished in a three-way tie atop the ALC standings.

Johns Hopkins will join the Big Ten as an associate sport-affiliate member in men’s lacrosse only as approved by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C). Hopkins plans to contact the Committee of Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which features all Big Ten members and the University of Chicago, about joining the prestigious academic consortium. Rutgers and Maryland will join the CIC next month.

“Our staff is thrilled about the formation of the Big Ten Lacrosse Conference,” Penn State men’s lacrosse head coach Jeff Tambroni said. “It is symbolic of the expansion of our sport and the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Penn State lacrosse.

“I am so excited for the future of Big Ten women’s lacrosse,” said head women’s lacrosse coach Missy Doherty. “As our sport expands across the country, it has been great to see so many institutions value and embrace the sport. As a result, we now have lacrosse represented in one of the best conferences in the country. We’re grateful to the ALC for providing our program the opportunity to compete against the best teams in the nation and we’re looking forward to embracing our new role as a Big Ten program.”

The future Big Ten men’s lacrosse conference boasts an impressive number of NCAA Tournament appearances (92), NCAA Tournament victories (120), NCAA semifinal appearances (50) and championships (11) among the six members. This past season alone had Ohio State, Maryland and Penn State in the NCAA Tournament hosting games as the three, six and eight seeds, respectively.

Hopkins, which had made 41 straight NCAA appearances before this season, has nine NCAA titles to its name as the most storied program in lacrosse history. The Blue Jays have won a total of 44 national championships since 1898 when including victories prior to the NCAA lacrosse era, which began in 1972.

Penn State men’s team has continued its improvement under Tambroni, the 2013 CAA Coach of the Year. The Nittany Lions returned to the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time since 2005, while winning a school record 12 games. Penn State was led by junior first-team All-American Austin Kaut (Springfield-Delco), who was named national goalie of the year and returns all its starting defensemen from the nation’s second best scoring defense. Penn State rattled off a perfect CAA regular season (6-0) while placing six on the All-CAA First Team.

The Big Ten women’s conference will be the most decorated league when it comes on board in 2015. The six schools have combined to win 19 national titles during the NCAA era (1982). Penn State owns five national titles including the 1987 and 1989 NCAA championships. Northwestern has seven NCAA titles, all of which have come since 2005, while Maryland has 10 titles, the last of which came in 2010 when it defeated Northwestern.

Penn State has continued its national ascension since Doherty took over the program’s reigns prior to the 2011 season. In her three years, Penn State has posted three straight 10-win seasons, while this spring recording the program’s most victories since 1999. The Nittany Lions advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second straight year and appeared in back-to-back NCAA championships for the first time since a three-year span from 1995-97.

Under her guidance, Penn State defeated its highest ranked opponent since 2007 with a 16-11 upset victory against then-No. 2 Florida. The Nittany Lions also finished a perfect 9-0 at home to complete its first undefeated home campaign since 1991. In her three seasons in Happy Valley, Doherty has coached six Nittany Lions to IWLCA All-America accolades, including 2013 second-team recipients Kelly Lechner and Maggie McCormick and third-team honoree Katie Guy as well as 14 all-conference members.

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