DURHAM, N.C. – Playing its season opener, the University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team hung with defending NCAA champion Duke for most of the night at the Blue Devils’ Koskinen Stadium. However, in the end it was Duke’s experienced offense that provided the edge as the No. 2 Blue Devils (3-0) defeated the Quakers, 9-6.
It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Duke was able to extend its lead beyond two goals, and the Blue Devils’ advantage was never more than four on the night.
Case Matheis got things going just 39 seconds into Friday’s contest, scoring off an assist from Deemer Class, but Penn’s All-America candidate in the midfield, Zack Losco, quickly got it back off a feed from Pat Berkery in a man-up situation.
Jordan Wolf and Matheis scored with four minutes of each other to push Duke ahead, 3-1, but Drew Belinsky finished a feed from Berkery with 3:57 left in the first quarter, again in a man-up situation. However, the Blue Devils scored with just 15 seconds left in the quarter to make it 4-2 after one period.
The only goal in the second quarter came from Penn, as Joe McCallion finished a Losco feed with just 10 seconds left before halftime. That sent the teams to their locker rooms with Duke’s lead just 4-3.
Wolf opened the second-half scoring with 11:40 left in the third, but freshman Kevin Brown netted his first collegiate goal for Penn to keep the Quakers within one, at 5-4. However, Chris Hipps scored an unassisted goal, and that started the Blue Devils off on a three-goal spurt. The second one came with just eight seconds left in the third quarter, and the third came near the midway point of the fourth.
Penn went more than a full quarter of play without scoring, but Losco ended the drought with 5:53 left that made the score 8-5. Duke got that goal back when Wolf fired home his third of the night, before Isaac Bock finished a Belinsky feed in another man-up situation with just 44 seconds left to close out the scoring.
Penn and Duke matched up evenly in the shots department, each team taking 33. For Penn, Brian Feeney made 10 saves, while at the other end Luke Aaron made 11 stops for the win. Losco stuffed the box score with his three points; he had seven shots in the game, two caused turnovers, and three ground balls.
Penn is home for its next two games, starting Tuesday night when the Quakers host local rival Saint Joseph’s at Franklin Field. The Quakers and Hawks will face off at 7 p.m.