Lions ranked eighth by Inside Lacrosse's Preseason Poll

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team led by head coach Jeff Tambroni was ranked eighth in the preseason poll by Inside Lacrosse's reporting staff and by the coaches.

Penn State leads the Colonial Athletic Association as one of two teams ranked by Inside Lacrosse (Towson is 20th). The Nittany Lions will face six teams from IL's Preseason Top 20: No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Denver, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 12 Albany, No. 18 Villanova and No. 20 Towson.

Last season was one of Penn State's finest in school history as the Nittany Lions amassed a school-record 12 victories, an undefeated regular season CAA title and its third NCAA Tournament appearance, which happened to be Penn State's first home NCAA game.

The Nittany Lions return 2013 USILA All-America First-Team and Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award winner Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.). Also returning is 2013 leading scorer and CAA Rookie of the Year, sophomore TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.), who tallied 44 goals last season along with senior attackman Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) with his 27 goals. Senior midfielder Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) rounds out the attacking presence following his career season of 23 goals, which earned him an All-CAA First Team honor.

Everyone on defense is back for the Nittany Lions including starting close defenders: junior Jack Donnelly (Toronto, Ont.), redshirt-senior Tyler Travis (Geneva, N.Y.), junior JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.). The dynamic trio of long-stick midfielders is also set for another season in Happy Valley: senior Kessler Brown (Springfield, Va.), senior Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) and sophomore James Burke (Duxbury, Mass.). Travis and Bogert were All-CAA First Team honorees last season, while Burke was an All-CAA Freshman Team mention.

Penn State's 2014 campaign kicks off with a home game on Feb. 8 against Michigan at 1 p.m. Prior to that contest, the Nittany Lions host Lehigh in an exhibition on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 5:45 p.m. before taking on future Big Ten rival Johns Hopkins in a Feb. 1 exhibition in Baltimore.

2014 IL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL (Coaches ranking in parentheses)
1 - Duke (1)
2 - Syracuse (3)
3 - North Carolina (2)
4 - Notre Dame (6)
5 - Denver (4)
6 - Maryland (5)
7 - Ohio State (11)
8 - PENN STATE (8)
9 - Virginia (14)
10 - Yale (7)
11 - Penn (19)
12 - Albany (15)
13 - Princeton (10)
14 - Johns Hopkins (9)
15 - Bucknell (16)
16 - St. John's (20)
17 - Cornell (13)
18 - Villanova (18)
19 - Loyola (12)
20 - Towson (21)

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Last Updated December 13, 2013