To freshman Danny Henneghan, the Nittany Lions' 1-2-3 face-off punch keeps opponents guessing.
"It's hard for teams to be able to beat three different face-off guys all in one game consistently," Henneghan said.
Offensive coach Byron Collins thinks the versatility gives the Lions a unique advantage and said the Lions' effectiveness in the circle puts Penn State at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association in face-offs.
On Sunday against Notre Dame, the Lions will be tested in that area -- the Fighting Irish held a .556 face-off percentage last year, topping the Lions' .542. The Penn State 1-2-3 punch, consisting of Britt, Henneghan and his older brother Charley Henneghan, will challenge the Irish this weekend.
Britt, a senior midfielder, has a slower move and muscles his opponents for the ball. Charley Henneghan pulls a quick move, looking for the fast break while, Britt said, Danny Henneghan is the hybrid.
Danny Henneghan described his move as a "quick clamp." After the clamp, he either pushes the ball forward for a fast break or pulls it backward.
Charley Henneghan said he and his younger brother have the objective of winning the face-off within one second. For the older Henneghan, having multiple options in the circle lessens the burden for the face-off players. If he has a bad day, Britt will pick him up and vice versa.
On top of the versatility, the Henneghans' fast starts can also allow the Lions to tally a quick goal if needed.
"That's a huge advantage for us especially the fast breaks -- just possessing the ball more than them," Charley Henneghan said. "We have above 50 percent, but this year we're going to have well above 50 percent."
Greg Sampson is the another option at face-off, though the responsibility lies primarily with the Henneghans and Britt. Collins said the Henneghans and Britt have trouble with the grinders, so Sampson will play in those scenarios if the 1-2-3 punch can't find success.
"You throw in someone like Sampson who has a totally unique style," Collins said, "and that gives face-off people trouble."
Collins characterized Sampson as the team's grinder, someone who battles and digs for the ball instead of possessing one quick move.
With the Lions' face-off potential intact, coach Glenn Thiel said the Lions want to be in the high 50 to 60 percent range in face-off percentage.
The wing position is also vital for face-offs, but the Lions have lost several long-stick players who could play those positions.
"We may count on the face-off guy himself to gain possessions," Thiel said. "Face-off is almost as important as the goaltender for winning lacrosse games."