PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's lacrosse team gave No. 4 Cornell all it could handle for three quarters on Saturday. The fourth quarter? The Big Red turned the tables. Big time.
Penn was up 11-8 heading into the final frame. The Big Red responded by scoring seven unanswered goals in less than nine minutes, and they tacked on another with about a minute to play to win, 16-11. Cornell outshot Penn 14-1 in the fourth, and while the Quakers won the face-off battle 5-4 in the quarter the advantage was minimized by seven turnovers.
The loss dropped Penn to 1-5 overall, 0-2 in the Ivy League. Cornell improved to 6-1, 2-0.
Penn certainly threw the first punch in this contest, and for a long time it looked like it was going to be enough. The Quakers were up 5-2 after one period, stretched it to as much as 7-2, and never allowed Cornell to be closer than two goals until that final, fateful frame.
Anthony Adler got Penn on the board at almost the exact midpoint of the opening quarter, scoring an unassisted goal. That was matched by Cornell's Connor English, but just a minute after English's goal Zack Losco fired home an unassisted tally. Adler then sandwiched a pair of goals around an English score -- the first assisted by Dan Savage -- and then out of a faceoff Losco fed long-stick middie Alex Blonsky for a point-blank shot that he converted. It was 5-2 after one period.
Penn added to its lead quickly in the second period, as Savage finished a feed from Tim Schwalje, and then two minutes later sophomore Drew Belinsky netted an unassisted goal. At that point, it appeared that Penn's constant aggressiveness on offense kept catching the Big Red off guard.
Cornell finally settled down, and after a scoreless six minutes they scored twice in 46 seconds, the first coming from Steve Mock and the second from Roy Lang. Penn answered, though, as Savage scored unassisted with 3:43 left in the half. However, Cody Bremner scored a man-up goal with 1:25 left, and then Matt Donovan scored unassisted to make the score 8-6 at the break.
Penn came out fighting again to start the second half, and John Conneely finished an Adler feed to make it 9-6 just over two minutes in. Chris Langton answered for Cornell a little more than a minute later, but then nearly seven minutes went by without either team scoring. When a goal finally came, it was out of the stick of Savage and gave Penn a 10-7 lead. Cornell's Thomas Keith almost immediately responded, scoring off the ensuing faceoff, but then Rob Fitzpatrick nicely finished a feed from Belinsky to wrap of the third-quarter scoring.
The Big Red wave came early and often in the fourth. Langton started it with a bull-rush goal from up top just 1:23 in, and then a minute later English finished a Mock feed. With momentum swinging, Langton knotted the score with 10:59 left on another singular effort from up top, tying the game at 11-11 (the game's first tie since 1-1). It took nearly three minutes after that, but the Big Red grabbed its first lead with 8:10 to play when Mock finished an English feed.
Cornell wasn't done. The Red went a man-up and scored again, this time Donovan finished a feed from Mitch McMichael. Nearly two minutes later, Lang scored off a Donovan feed, and then just 47 seconds after that Mock took a feed from Max Van Bourgondien and finished it off.
Penn was forced to press on defense after that, and with Brian Feeney out of the cage and the clock near a minute, Donovan beat his defender and easily scored into an open goal.
Adler finished the day with a hat trick, his first as a collegian, while Savage also scored three times for his third hat trick this season. Both of them also had an assist. Losco and Belinsky finished the day with a goal and an assist apiece.
Cornell outshot Penn on the day, 37-29, and Feeney ended the day with seven saves. One bright spot for the Quakers was on face-offs; both Joe McCallion and Danny Feeney had successful days on the X, winning 21 of the 32 faces on the day. Feeney was 10-of-14, while McCallion was 11-of-18.
Penn returns to action next weekend at Yale. The Quakers and Bulldogs will face off at 1 p.m. in New Haven, Conn.