PHILADELPHIA - In a game that was almost as wild as the weather in which it was played, the University of Pennsylvania men's lacrosse team outscored Princeton, 11-10, Saturday at Franklin Field.
With the win, the 14th-ranked Quakers improved to 5-1 overall while the Tigers fell to 4-2. The game was the Ivy League opener for both teams.
The weather? You name it, this game had it. Sleet? Check. Snow? Check. Pouring rain? Check. Lightning delay? Of course. In fact, it was a good 75 minutes from the time the teams left the field at the end of the first half until they came back out to start the second half.
On the field, you had Penn rolling to a 4-0 lead early in the second quarter on a goal by long-stick middie Matt Machucki -- a player, you should know, who did not score a goal in three years as an attackman and short-stick middie. Princeton came back with five straight goals, but Penn used another four-goal run to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 10-7 lead. After that, it was a matter of holding on for the Quakers.
When it was over, Penn had its second win over Princeton in three years -- and if you don't think that's wild, consider that from 1990 to 2010 the Quakers beat the Tigers exactly zero times.
Isaac Bock led the Penn attack with three goals and an assist, while Drew Belinsky and Zack Losco scored two times apiece. Ryan Parietti had three assists, serving as the feeder on a man-up unit that was a perfect 4-of-4 on the day.
Penn owned the first quarter on Saturday, outshooting Princeton 11-7 and scoring the period's only three goals. Losco got things started off a Belinsky feed nine minutes in, and then nearly three minutes later Bock scored his first off another Belinsky feed. Bock then netted the Quakers' first man-up goal with 2:49 left in the period off a Parietti feed.
Machucki's goal came just eight seconds into the second quarter, but Princeton recovered. First Kip Orban scored off a Tom Schreiber feed to get the Tigers on the board, and then Mike MacDonald hit a man-up goal to make the score 4-2. MacDonald's second goal came with 4:51 left, and then Schreiber finished an Orban feed with just 13 seconds left that tied the game as the teams went to the break.
And what a halftime it was. The teams were huddling up and the clock was at 13 seconds when the call was made: Lightning. After a 55-minute delay, and another 10 minutes to warm up, the teams finally got rolling again at 5:04 p.m.
Orban hit for his second of the day just 1:32 into the third period, but Joe McCallion came right back and broke Penn's scoreless streak with an unassisted goal that tied the game at 5-5. MacDonald again gave the Tigers the lead, but Bock hit another Parietti feed in a man-up situation with 2:55 left. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 6-6.
Schreiber scored an unassisted goal just 1:18 into the final quarter, but Losco tied it again with 9:30 left off a feed from freshman Nick Doktor. Doktor then gave Penn a lead it would not relinquish, scoring off a feed from Dave Twamley (and why wouldn't the former football player get his first point on this day?), scoring with the flag down for a Princeton penalty.
That touched off a wild sequence that saw Belinsky score a man-up goal, and get bulldozed after he shot. That was also called, and so in a new man-up situation the Quakers again struck, this time Tim Schwalje off a Bock feed. Just like that, it was 10-7 as the clock went inside five minutes.
This game was far from over. MacDonald scored a man-up goal for Princeton with 4:09 left, but before Penn fans could start to worry Belinsky netted his second, unassisted, to regain the three-goal advantage. However, Jeff Froccaro scored with 1:08 to play, and then the nerves got really frayed when Schreiber scored, unassisted, with just 45 seconds left.
With the score now 11-10, Princeton won the face-off -- the Tigers won all eight in the fourth quarter -- and had two shots that missed the goal. It was not until a Tiger turnover with mere seconds remaining that the Penn players, coaches and fans could breathe a sigh of relief.
Brian Feeney made 10 saves in goal for the Quakers, while Princeton keeper Matt O'Connor had 12 stops. Princeton outshot Penn, 40-39, a sign of just how even this game was.
Penn returns to action next Saturday, traveling to Ithaca, N.Y. to face No. 2 Cornell. The Quakers and Big Red -- 12-10 winners over Yale on Saturday -- will face off at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.