PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team got off to a good start in Ivy League play last weekend, defeating a Princeton team that was ranked No. 7 nationally. This Saturday, the task is even more daunting, as the ninth-ranked Quakers -- who have garnered their first top-10 ranking in seven years -- travel to Ithaca, N.Y. to face a Cornell squad that was undefeated until Tuesday and ranks second in this week’s national poll.
GAME 7 – #9 PENN (5-1, 1-0) at #2 CORNELL (6-1, 1-0)
Saturday, March 23, 2013 * 1 p.m.
Schoellkopf Field (Ithaca, N.Y.)
TV: CornellBigRed.com (there is a charge for this service)
Click here for Live Stats!
The Series with Cornell
The Quakers and the Big Red have met 86 times in men’s lacrosse, with Cornell holding a sizable 60-23 lead (with three ties) including wins in each of the last six meetings, seven of the last eight, and 13 of the last 15. The last time these teams met in Ithaca, two years ago, the Quakers took the Big Red to overtime before falling, 13-12.
The Big Red (6-1, 1-0) fell for the first time this season on Tuesday night, losing 9-8 to No. 15 Bucknell. Last Saturday, Cornell opened Ivy League play with a 12-10 win at Yale. Cornell is averaging more than 14 goals per game, and have had 14 different players score goals already this season. Rob Pannell, a consensus favorite to win the Tewaaraton Trophy this year, leads Cornell and is third nationally with 24 assists and 43 points, while Steve Mock has a team-high 20 goals which is second in the nation. Connor Buczek and Max Van Bourgondien have 11 goals apiece. In goal, AJ Fiore boasts a .555 save percentage and a 7.87 goals-against average.
*At 5-1 overall, Penn is off to its best start since 2006, when the Quakers started the year 6-0. That team finished the season 10-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA Championship first round.
*Penn’s No. 9 national ranking in the USILA coaches’ poll is its best in that poll since the Quakers were seventh in the April 10, 2006 poll.
*Penn has defeated three teams ranked in the USILA poll at the time of their game with the Quakers (No. 14 Duke, No. 17 Lehigh, No. 7 Princeton) and lost to another (No. 10 Denver).
*Penn is averaging 10.33 goals per game so far this season; last year the Quakers averaged 7.85 goals per game, two years ago it was 8.20 per contest.
*Penn has had at least six goalscorers in every game this season; in fact, twice this season the Quakers had just six goals in a game, and both times six different players scored those six goals.
*Thirteen different players have scored Penn's 62 goals, and the Quakers have a good mix of unassisted goals (34) vs. assisted (28); in other words, a lot of guys are finding a lot of different ways to score.
*Penn has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter, 20-10, so far this season.
*Penn has outshot its opponents 145-82 in the second half this season (72-36 in the third quarter, 73-46 in the fourth).
*Penn went a perfect 4-of-4 on man-up opportunities last Saturday against Princeton, improving to 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) on the season.
*Senior Tim Schwalje was Penn's top returning leading scorer, and he is leading the team this season in assists (11) and points (21). He has had hat tricks against Duke and Denver, and gone for multiple points in each of the last four games after opening the season with seven points against Duke.
*Schwalje has a point in 18 straight games after scoring in every game last season; he is the only Penn player to have a point in every game so far this season.
*Sophomore Isaac Bock scored once last season; he currently leads Penn with 11 goals this season, including a four-goal game in the season opener against Duke and hat tricks in the last two games (Villanova, Princeton).
*Junior Zack Losco had a hat trick last weekend against Villanova, as well, his second this season (also March 2 at Denver); he is tied for second on the team with 10 goals.
*After a stellar freshman campaign in 2011, Drew Belinsky broke his ankle prior to his sophomore season and never seemed to fully get over it. After a career-high four-point game against Princeton last Saturday (2g, 2a), he has 12 points so far this season (8g, 4a) with four multi-point outings.
*In his collegiate debut, freshman Nick Doktor scored twice; in fact, in his first quarter as a collegian he scored twice. He has nine points (7g, 2a) so far this season, and on March 9 vs. Villanova he recorded his first collegiate hat trick.
*Another freshman, Mark Leonhard, also scored in his first collegiate game, then scored a goal on March 5 at Lehigh.
*Senior Ryan Parietti had three assists last Saturday vs. Princeton, giving him eight points so far this season (4g, 4a).
*Sophomores Will Laco and Chris Hupfeldt saw no game action last year (Hupfeldt due to injury); Laco had a three-game goalscoring streak that was snapped vs. Villanova, while "Hup" has had goals against Saint Joseph's and Denver.
*Senior defenseman Anthony Santomo scored against Duke, the captain's first collegiate goal; he is joined as a captain by Schwalje, fellow classmate Brendan Engelke, a goalie, and junior defenseman Maxx Meyer.
*Santomo leads Penn with 14 caused turnovers -- good for seventh nationally -- while Meyer and fellow close defenseman Matt McMahon have nine each; Meyer also has 18 ground balls.
*Junior Danny Feeney has taken a majority of Penn's faceoffs this season (91 of 134); he has a .528 win percentage on the X and a team-high 27 ground balls.
*Feeney went 16-of-23 at the X on March 9 against Villanova, and has also been over 50 percent against Denver (9-17) and Saint Joseph’s (8-14).
*Sophomore Joe McCallion, who is running on the second midfield -- he has two goals and an assist this season -- has taken the other 43 faceoffs this season and has a .442 win percentage.
*Keep an eye on No. 28, Matt Machucki; after three years as an attackman, the sizable senior has moved into a long-stick middie position. He had his first collegiate point last Saturday, a goal against Princeton.
*Another player who recorded his first career point last Saturday was senior middie Dave Twamley, who had an assist; he is one of two seniors who made the move from the Penn football team after that season ended last fall.
*In goal, junior Brian Feeney had a career-high 17 saves while allowing just four goals at at Lehigh; it was a nice comeback for the junior, who had just six saves while allowing 15 goals at Denver. (In the last two games, against Villanova and Princeton, he has 19 saves while allowing 19 goals).
*Feeney has been Penn's No. 1 almost his entire career, has an 8.67 goals-against average (15th nationally) and a .556 save percentage (20th) so far this season.
*Penn has five players who were UnderArmour All-America selections in high school: juniors Drew Belinsky and Brian Feeney, and freshmen Nick Doktor, Pat Berkery and Sam Rohr (both Berkery and Rohr are expected to miss this season due to injury).
*Two other players who have not yet seen time this year, Berkery and freshman Rob Savage, were on the Garden City (N.Y.) team that was ranked No. 1 at the end of last year.
*If the Savage name looks familiar to Penn fans, your intuition is correct -- Rob is indeed the brother of Dan Savage, who graduated last year and played four years on the Quaker lacrosse team.
*Penn lacrosse continues to be a family affair for McCallion, whose sister, Kelly, is a senior and a member of the Quakers' Ivy League champion women's lacrosse team.
*If Saturday's game gets to overtime, beware Drew Belinsky; as a freshman, he scored the OT winner in two different games, against Yale and Harvard.
*Penn welcomed two former Quaker football players to the roster this season, seniors Dave Twamley and C.J. Mooney. Both players were starters on defense for the Ivy League champs this fall -- in fact, they won three rings during their tenure on the gridiron -- and Twamley was a second-team All-Ivy recipient. Twamley has seen regular game action in the midfield.