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Penn State men's lacrosse coach Jeff Tambroni stands by James Burke

The Big Ten Conference on Friday announced a one-game suspension for Penn State junior longstick midfielder James Burke for kicking Maryland sophomore attackman Dylan Maltz in the No. 3 Terps' 12-5 victory on April 4.

Burke was not permitted to play in the Nittany Lions' 11-10 double overtime loss to Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field Saturday night, and coach Jeff Tambroni said afterward that he accepted the conference's decision to suspend Burke.

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"I've got to support it," Tambroni said. "I love James Burke. I think he plays hard. I honestly don't believe that it was intentional. But it's not the way the Big Ten or even our administration saw it. I will stand by James Burke without going against the Big Ten. I respect their decision."

Burke was suspended for kicking Maltz toward the end of the second quarter of that game on April 4. Burke was assessed a one-minute penalty for unnecessary roughness.

Maltz, a Syracuse transfer who has recorded nine goals and three assists in 10 starts, left the game and did not return. Maltz missed his first game of the season in Maryland's 11-10 win against No. 19 Loyola Maryland on Wednesday night, but returned to score a goal in Sunday's 9-8 victory at Rutgers.

Tambroni said the defense sorely missed Burke, who is tied for the team lead in caused turnovers (seven) and ranks second in ground balls (26).

"It certainly hurt us today," Tambroni said of the suspension. "He is our best defensive player and he's our heart and soul in the midline and at the faceoff X. but the guys who played for him, Michael Aronow is just a freshman, and he stepped in and played great. Who knows what would have happened if he was out here today? But at the end of the day, it was unfortunate that he couldn't be out here today, and we'll be happy to have him back next week."

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