PHILADELPHIA – Although it has won all 10 meetings in this series, the University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team has had trouble with its city rival Saint Joseph’s the last few years. Of particular note, the Hawks stuck around all the way until the finish last year at Franklin Field before the host Quakers could breathe a sigh of relief after a one-goal victory.
On Tuesday night, again at Franklin Field, Penn and Saint Joseph’s looked like they might engage in another battle royale. That is, until the second quarter when the 20th-ranked Quakers flexed their muscles.
After allowing three goals in the first quarter -- all of them to Ryan McGee -- Penn’s defense absolutely shut down the Hawks, holding them scoreless for 37:33 of game time before finally allowing one final goal on the night.
At the other end, the momentum was more gradual but it was sustaining. Penn scored three times in the first two periods, then four times in the last two, and had 12 different players tickle the twine on the night.
It all added up to a solid, 14-4 decision.
Penn is now 1-1 on the young season, while Saint Joseph’s fell to 1-2.
It took Penn all of six seconds to open the scoring on its home field this season, as Danny Feeney cleanly won the opening faceoff and went down to score unassisted. For the game, the Quakers were 15-of-22 on the faceoffs, as Feeney was aided on the X by Joe McCallion and Austin Kreinz.
McGee got that goal back for SJU less than two minutes later, but one minute after that McCallion scored unassisted to make it 2-1. McGee again tied things, this time a mere 24 seconds later off a Mike Dougherty feed, and then things settled down before Chris Moriarty finished a Zack Losco feed with 4:42 left in the first quarter.
McGee’s third goal of the game came with 1:11 left in the period, and made things level entering the second quarter.
It took Penn 19 seconds in the period to gain a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, Pat Berkery finishing a feed from Isaac Bock. Two minutes later, Bock got on the board and he netted a pass from Nick Doktor, and then midway through the period Drew Belinsky made it 6-3 with an unassisted goal.
The next goal didn’t come until nearly five minutes were gone in the third quarter, but it was Doktor who ended the drought off a feed from Chris Hupfeldt. Bock scored his second shortly after that, off a Losco feed, and then Kevin Brown (unassisted) and long-stick middie Alex Blonsky (off a McCallion feed) scored just nine seconds apart. The third period ended with the Quakers ahead 10-3.
Penn scored two within a 32-second span near the start of the fourth, McCallion and then Losco going unassisted, before Dougherty finally ended SJU’s scoring skid with 7:38 left in the game (McGee assisting). Penn’s reserves got their chance late and made the most of it, Jeff Sestilio and Will Laco scoring in the game’s final 1:08.
Brian Feeney had a performance similar to Saturday at Duke; after making just one save and allowing the three first-period goals, he had eight stops the rest of the way and allowed just the one goal. At the other end, Dustin Keen had five saves in the first quarter before the Quakers figured him out. He eventually gave way to T.J. Jones.
Penn is home again on Saturday, hosting No. 6 Denver at 1 p.m. at Franklin Field.