PHILADELPHIA - There is saying that if it wasn't for bad luck, someone would have no luck at all. There is also a saying that you make your own luck.
Considering both of those quotes, where does the 2012 Penn men's lacrosse team fall? Probably somewhere in the middle. Not that it makes the way this season is unfolding any easier to swallow.
On Saturday night at Franklin Field, the Quakers suffered another last-second loss in this most frustrating campaign. This time it was Brown that bested Penn, as the Bears' Rob Schlesinger scored with just 11 seconds left to propel his team to the victory. After his team held the ball for nearly three minutes, Schlesinger popped out from behind the goal to the left side, and as he faded away he fired a shot that beat Penn goalie Brian Feeney inside the far post. It was Schlesinger's only goal in the game.
It was the second game in a row Penn (1-7, 0-4) has lost in the final 12 seconds, and the third during this five-game losing streak. Brown (4-6, 1-2) entered the game having lost three one-goal decisions among its last five contests, which probably explained the Bears level of exultance when this one was finally over.
Penn was once again gallant in defeat. The Quakers were down by two goals midway through the fourth quarter, but rolled up three goals in a span of 2:26 to take a 10-9 lead. However, it is hard to ignore the facts, and in this one the most glaring stat is that the Red and Blue had 23 turnovers -- matching their shot total for the game -- and only six of them were forced.
Penn was superb in the first quarter. Dan O'Brien put Brown up just 2:34 into the game with an unassisted goal, but Penn responded with three goals within a 2:09 span. Ryan Parietti scored the first one, off a Joe McCallion feed, and then Anthony Adler scored unassisted just 45 seconds later. John Conneely ended the run, off an Adler feed, and it was 3-1 just over five minutes into the contest.
Brown shut Penn out in the second quarter, however, and used a pair of late goals to tie the score before halftime. Sam Hurster made it 5-3 less than four minutes into the period, and then almost 10 minutes went by before the Bears scored again. However, Roger Ferguson's goal with 1:54 left was followed just 52 seconds later by Hurster's second of the night. The teams went to the break tied at 5-5.
Penn scored off the opening faceoff, as McCallion won the draw and fed Dan Savage for a quick score. However, Brown responded. Parker Brown scored midway through the period to once again tie it, and then Nick Piroli gave the Bears their first lead just nine seconds later off a Hurster feed.. O'Brien then doubled the advantage 1:20 when he finished a feed from George Sherman.
Penn's stagnant offense briefly came to life, as Adler finished a feed from Conneely, but Hurster answered just 18 seconds later to make the score 9-7 in Brown's favor after three quarters.
Penn's three-goal run brought the crowd to life after seven listless minutes to start the fourth quarter. Adler got the scoring started with 7:26 left as he nicely finished a feed from Belinsky. Penn won the ensuing faceoff, and Conneely tied the score with an unassisted goal with 6:45 to play. Just 1:25 after that, Conneely fired Penn into the lead off a feed from Parietti.
Brown had one final answer. Parker Brown tied the score with 3:31 to play, and then the Bears won the ensuing faceoff and held the ball the entire way until Schlesinger's heroics.
Penn won the faceoff after Schlesinger's goal, but another turnover left the ball in Brown's stick as the final seconds ticked off.
Conneely and Adler finished the game with three goals and an assist, while Parietti and Belinsky had a goal and an assist. For Brown, Hurster finished with three goals and an assist, while Brown, Piroli and O'Brien had two goals each. In goal, Brian Feeney made seven stops for Penn while Will Round had four saves for Brown.
Penn will be in action at Bucknell on Tuesday night; the Bison lost on Saturday to Army, snapping their eight-game win streak. The Quakers' next Ivy League game is next Saturday, against Harvard.