PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team opened the season with a 9-6 loss at Duke, matching the defending NCAA champions in a number of statistics including shots (33-33). On Tuesday, the Quakers are home for the first time this season, hosting city rival Saint Joseph’s in the first of two games at Franklin Field this week (they host Denver on Saturday).
GAME 2 – #20 PENN (0-1) vs. SAINT JOSEPH’S (1-1)
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 * 7 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
TV: Ivy League Digital Network (there is a fee for this service)
The Series with Saint Joseph’s
The Quakers and the Hawks have met 10 times, including each of the last four seasons, with Penn having won all of them. Last year, Penn defeated SJU 6-5 at Franklin Field. Two years ago, at Hawk Hill, the Red and Blue gained a 9-5 decision. Prior to that, no game in the series had been closer than eight goals.
The Hawks opened the season with a loss at High Point and a 14-6 win over VMI. Ryan McGee leads Saint Joseph’s in goals (6) and points (8), while Michael Rastivo and Matt Blasco have three goals each. Blasco also has a team-high three assists. Matt Sarcona has three points (2g, 1a). At the other end, T.J. Jones has started both games in goal for SJU; he has a 7.50 goals-against average and a .559 save percentage. Dustin Keen has played 30 minutes between the pipes, with a 6.00 GAA and a .700 save percentage.
*Penn is ranked 20th in last week’s USILA national coaches poll, down from 18th where the Quakers were last week before losing to the new No. 1 team in the nation, Duke. The other Ivy League teams ranked were Princeton (10), Yale (12) and Cornell (16), while Brown is one of eight teams also receiving votes.
*In Penn’s loss on Friday night, Zack Losco had three points (2g, 1a) and extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games dating back to last season.
*At the other end, senior Brian Feeney started Friday’s game with three saves while allowing four goals in the first quarter; after that, he had seven stops and allowed five goals.
*Looking at Penn’s 12-game schedule, in addition to Duke, Princeton, Yale, Cornell and Brown, the Quakers will face three other teams that are on the USILA ranking sheet this week: Denver (6), Villanova (RV), and St. John's (RV).
*This is nothing new for Penn under Coach Murphy; last year, the Quakers’ Strength of Schedule was ranked second at the end of the season (behind only Princeton), while in 2011 it ranked first.
*Seniors Belinsky, Losco and Maxx Meyer are this year’s captains. Meyer was a captain last year, as well.
*Penn was picked 11th in Inside Lacrosse’s Preseason Face-Off Yearbook; the ranking was made by the Inside Lacrosse staff. Among Ivy League teams, only Yale (10th) was ahead of the Quakers. Princeton (13th) and Cornell (17th) were also in the preseason Top 20.
*Three players earned preseason All-America honorable mention from Inside Lacrosse -- Losco, Meyer, and Feeney.
*In addition, Penn was picked fourth in IL’s Ivy League preview, with Losco and Feeney receiving preseason All-Ivy recognition. The conference standings and All-Ivy team was projected by the Ancient Eight coaches.
*In January, Losco was picked in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Draft by the Charlotte (N.C.) Hounds. The senior middie was the 47th pick overall.
*Penn finished last year No. 1 nationally in scoring defense (7.38), eighth in man-up offense (.429), and ninth in caused turnovers per game (8.92).
*Individually, Feeney finished last year second nationally in goals-against average (7.29) and ninth in save percentage (.589). He played all but 2:29 between the pipes last year.
*Losco was Penn’s leading goalscorer a year ago, with 23, and he added six assists for 29 points.
*Junior Isaac Bock had 20 goals and five assists last season, finishing third on the Quakers’ scoring list, while Belinsky was fourth with 23 points (14g, 9a).
*Meyer was second on the team last year in caused turnovers (20) and also had 36 ground balls.
*On the X, Danny Feeney -- Brian’s twin brother -- took 203 face-offs last year and won 110 of them for a .542 win percentage. That was good for 25th nationally.
*Overall, this year’s Penn team boasts 10 players who started at least five games last season: Losco (13), Belinsky (13), Meyer (13), B Feeney (13), D Feeney (13), Bock (5), Matt McMahon (12), Will Laco (11), Chris Hupfeldt (7), and Nick Doktor (6).
*Penn’s game against St. John’s on April 25 will be played at Radnor (Pa.) High School as part of the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival. The charity event has become arguably the largest lacrosse event in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but this was the first college game as part of the festivities.
*Penn has six players who were UnderArmour All-America selections in high school: seniors Drew Belinsky and Brian Feeney; sophomores Nick Doktor, Pat Berkery and Sam Rohr; and freshman Kevin Gayhardt.
*Two other players, Berkery and sophomore Rob Savage, were on the Garden City (N.Y.) team that was ranked No. 1 at the end of 2012.
*If the Savage name looks familiar to Penn fans, your intuition is correct -- Rob is indeed the brother of Dan Savage, who graduated two years ago and played four years on the Quaker lacrosse team.
*Penn lacrosse also is a family affair for McCallion, whose older sister, Kelly, graduated last year after playing four years on the Quakers' women’s lacrosse team; she was part of four Ivy League championship squads.
*If the Quakers go to overtime, beware Drew Belinsky; as a freshman, he scored the OT winner in two different games, against Yale and Harvard.
Penn is at Franklin Field again on Saturday, hosting No. 6 Denver at 1 p.m.