Men's lacrosse sweeps CAA season awards

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State men's lacrosse swept the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association season awards on Thursday (May 2), taking each individual honor and placing six Nittany Lions on the All-CAA First Team. In all, nine members of the Nittany Lion lacrosse squad earned recognition by the league in a vote conducted by the coaches. Penn State placed six members on the All-CAA First Team, one on the second team and two on the rookie squad.

Junior goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) was named the CAA's Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Nittany Lion to earn either player of the year honor. Kaut has been tremendous this season, ranking first in the nation in goals-against average (6.95) and second in save percentage (.628). Kaut was also named to the All-CAA First Team for the third straight season.

Kaut is the second player to earn defensive player of the year and overall player of the year honors in the same season, joining Hofstra's Nicky Polanco (2002). Kaut's defensive honor was a unanimous decision by the league coaches.

Third-year coach Jeff Tambroni was named CAA Coach of the Year for the second time. He was a co-recipient of the honor in 2011, his first season in Happy Valley. Tambroni has led his team to a 12-3 mark, a regular season CAA championship and to the CAA title game tomorrow (3 p.m.) against Towson at Penn State Lacrosse Field. Penn State won its first postseason game in program history with a 10-7 win over UMass in the CAA semifinals on Wednesday.

This season, Penn State has set new records for victories (12), for consecutive wins in a single season (10), conference wins (6), matched its highest ranking in the USILA poll (8th) and is currently rated fifth by the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index. Under Tambroni's watch, the Nittany Lions have rattled off 12 straight true road contests over the past two years, also a school record.

TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.), the league leader in goals per game (2.60), was a unanimous selection as CAA Rookie of the Year as he posted an amazing 39 goals in 15 contests. Sanders has tallied eight hat tricks and scored four or more goals on six occasions with three five-goal efforts. A five-time CAA Rookie of the Week honoree, he also was named CAA Co-Player of the Week on one occasion. Sanders leads the team in shooting percentage with a 41.9 clip. Sanders was Penn State's lone representative on the All-CAA Second Team and Rookie Team.

Penn State's haul spilled over into the All-CAA selections as well with six Nittany Lions boasting first-team honors. Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.), Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.), Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.), Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.) and Kaut were all named to the first team. For all, but Kaut, each earned their first All-CAA First-Team accolades, while Henneghan (2011 second team) and Forster (2012 second team) each earned their second conference honors.

Forster leads the team in points scored with 54 on 38 goals and 16 assists. During CAA play, Forster led the league in goals per game (3.33) and points per game (4.67). LaCrosse is Penn State's top midfield scoring threat, tallying 23 goals, fourth-most on the team.

Penn State was honored with faceoff specialist Henneghan earning first-team honors. Henneghan has a 55.7 win percentage at the faceoff dot with 69 ground balls this season. Henneghan was especially impressive against the best competition this year, posting winning percentages in wins over No. 9 Denver (16-of-30) and No. 8 Bucknell (10-of-17). Another top performance was at Villanova where Henneghan swiped 11 faceoff wins in 17 attempts against VU's Thomas Croonquist, a week after Croonquist went 22-2 against Syracuse.

Helping Henneghan out on the wing was Bogert, a ground ball hawk with 70 pickups and a defensive specialist. As a long-stick midfielder, Bogert wreaked havoc all season, forcing 16 caused turnovers including a career-high five against UMass on Wednesday afternoon. Bogert picked up at least two ground balls in every contest and averaged 6.4 ground balls over the past five games with a career best 10-pickup effort at Delaware.

Along with Bogert, Travis was an instrumental part of the best scoring defense in the nation. The Nittany Lions allow a nation-best 7.2 goals per game, with Travis a major part of that. The redshirt-junior picked up 26 ground balls, caused 10 turnovers and dished one assist, while being tasked with marking the opponents' top scoring threat.

Joining Sanders on the All-CAA Rookie Team was long-stick midfielder James Burke (Duxbury, Mass.) who featured occasionally on the wing as well. Burke collected 22 ground balls, forced four turnovers and was a pest to opposing offenses.

The six All-CAA First Team members is a program record, including the team's time in the ECAC (2001-09). Previously, Penn State's all-conference first-team high was four in 2006. This year is also the first time all seven of Penn State's All-CAA nominees were named to a squad.

The voting was conducted by each of the seven teams' respective coaches. Each squad was allowed up to seven All-CAA nominees and four rookie team nominees. Coaches could not vote on their own student-athletes.

Penn State vies for its first postseason tournament victory when it hosts Towson in the CAA Championship Final on Friday at 3 p.m.

PENN STATE ALL-CAA HONORS
Coach of the Year: Jeff Tambroni
Player of the Year: Austin Kaut
Defensive Player of the Year: Austin Kaut
Rookie of the Year: TJ Sanders
First Team: Jack Forster, Tom LaCrosse, Steven Bogert, Danny Henneghan, Tyler Travis, Austin Kaut
Second Team: TJ Sanders
Rookie Team: James Burke, TJ Sanders

Contacts: 
Last Updated May 02, 2013