PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team had a solid home opener on Tuesday night, combining all aspects of the game on the way to a 14-4 rout of Saint Joseph’s. On Saturday, the Quakers will need all elements clicking again as No. 6 Denver comes to town. The Red and Blue will face off with the Pioneers at 1 p.m.
GAME 3 – #20 PENN (1-1) vs. #6 DENVER (3-1)
Saturday, March 1, 2014 * 1 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
TV: Ivy League Digital Network (there is a fee for this service)
The Series with Denver
The Quakers and the Pioneers are meeting for the second year in a row and the seventh time since 2005, with Denver leading the series 5-1. Last year, Denver gained a 15-12 decision at home, while Penn’s only win in this series came in the previous meeting, in 2010, an 11-7 victory at the DU Pioneer Classic. This is Denver’s third trip to Franklin Field (also 2007 and 2009).
An NCAA Championship semifinalist two of the last three years, the Pioneers are ranked sixth in this week’s USILA national coaches poll. Jack Bobzien leads the Denver offense with 17 points (12g, 5a), while Wesley Berg (11g, 2a) and Zach Miller (9g, 4a) have 13 points each. Erik Adamson has six goals, while Jeremy Noble has eight assists. In goal, Jamie Faus (8.58 GAA, .571 save percentage) and Ryan LaPlante (9.14, .515) have gotten most of the minutes.
*Penn is ranked 20th in this week’s USILA national coaches poll, which is where the Quakers began the season. The other Ivy League teams currently ranked are Princeton (10), Yale (13) and Cornell (16), while Brown is one of eight teams also receiving votes.
*At the other end, Penn’s defense held SJU scoreless for more than 37 minutes from the first to the fourth quarter, allowing the Quaker to turn a 3-3 tie into a blowout victory.
*Senior middie Zack Losco has recorded three points in both games this season, extending his point-scoring streak to 11 games dating back to last season.
*Penn’s other goalscorers were juniors McCallion and Bock, and freshman Kevin Brown (his first collegiate goal).
*At the other end, senior Brian Feeney has started slowly in the first quarter (4 saves, 7 goals) but been solid after that (15 saves, 6 goals).
*Looking at Penn’s 12-game schedule, in addition to Denver, Duke, Princeton, Yale, Cornell and Brown, the Quakers will face two other teams that are on the USILA ranking sheet this week: 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 Villanova next Saturday, facing off with their regional rivals at 5 p.m.