UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. — When Jeff Tambroni arrived at Penn State in 2010, he was acclimated to success.
The former Cornell coach had just finished his 10th season with the Big Red where he took his team to its third NCAA semifinal in the previous four years.
The 10th-fastest lacrosse coach to 100 wins, Tambroni stepped into a program that was just 2-11 in Glen Thiel’s last year and had a pair of NCAA first round exits in the previous 10 years.
The Nittany Lions have showed signs of development in the first half-decade of Tambroni’s time with an appearance in the NCAA tournament and records at or above .500 since his arrival.
However, that first round loss to Yale was no doubt disappointing.
As one of eight teams seeded in the NCAA tournament, Penn State held a 5-1 lead at the half, only to concede nine second-half goals to fall 10-7 to the Bulldogs.
This season, the Lions are 3-8 and winless (0-3) in the Big Ten.
While the record doesn’t reflect the quality of the squad, tough-to-swallow losses and close games don’t show up in the history books.
Tambroni knows this. This holds especially true after seeing the disappointment in his players’ faces following their recent 11-10 double-overtime defeat to Johns Hopkins on Saturday.
“The crucial thing is that the guys don’t get accustomed to moral victories,” Tambroni said. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to win games.”
With No. 11 Ohio State’s 13-8 win against Michigan on Saturday, the Creator’s Trophy — an annual competition between the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Lions — returns to Columbus, Ohio.
At the bottom of the conference standings, Penn State is playing for a spot in the four-team postseason tournament. The Lions will need wins against Rutgers and Michigan to have a chance at the fourth and final spot.
If Penn State can find its way into the field, then it can throw out a catalogue of dissatisfying results and try to prove its true caliber by competing.
“We’re finally understanding how hard to work in order to make plays as a team with the talent that we have in that locker room,” Tambroni said. “If we start patting ourselves, or each other, on the back for how hard we played versus the results that we’re getting, we’ll never get this program to where we want it, or where we believe it can be, which is a culture of winning and building a tradition of success.”
This article was written by Patrick Kowalski from Pennsylvania State University / Daily Collegian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.