For the Penn State men’s club lacrosse team, its preseason No. 2 national ranking is just another sign that it once again belongs amongst the elite lacrosse clubs in the country.
The Nittany Lions open their season this spring with their highest ranking in 10 years, which resulted in their last national championship in 2001. Penn State has won its division, the Keystone Division, each year since 1996, yet in recent years, division titles haven’t always translated into national success.
“We’re really aiming at the top notch teams this year,” club president Matthew Logeman said. “We want to knock them down and establish ourselves as a club power.”
The Lions will have a chance to match up against some of those top teams early and often this year. Their spring schedule boasts the early season Beltway Bash at Maryland, which will feature some of the best clubs in the nation, including No. 1 Salisbury and No. 5 Maryland. The rest of the schedule is highlighted by a showdown with No.7 Princeton, before the regional and national playoffs in late April.
“We really wanted to get some big teams on the schedule…to set the tone for the season,” said vice president Jordan Haller. “We want to make sure teams around the country take notice that we’re not the type of team that just beats up on smaller clubs, we’re here to make a statement.”
Yet, for a team that has championship aspirations, the Nittany Lions feature a surprising lack of individual star power. Instead, the club is filled with depth and features strong units at every position, highlighted by a talented attack and experienced defense, Logeman said.
Logeman hopes the Lions can ride that depth and team-first mentality to success into the national tournament, which runs from April 29-May 1.
“We have to play as a team. A lot of players are great individually, but if we come together and play as a unit there’s no reason anybody should be able to stop us,” Logeman said. “We have all the components, we just need to put them together.”