PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team is off to a hot start, with a 4-1 record and a No. 14 national ranking. The quest for an Ivy League championship and automatic NCAA Championship bid begins this weekend, however, as the Quakers jump into Ivy play with No. 7 Princeton at Franklin Field. This is the first of six straight Ivy League Saturdays ahead for the Penn men.
GAME 6 - #14 PENN (4-1) vs. #7 PRINCETON (4-1)
Saturday, March 16, 2013 * 3 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
TV: PennAthletics.com (there is a charge for this service)
Both Quaker lacrosse teams are pleased to welcome back their alums this weekend. On Saturday morning, the women’s alums will play an alumni game at 9 a.m. on Franklin Field, while at 11 a.m. the men’s alums will gather at “Ace” Adams Field in Penn Park for their alumni game. The current edition of the women’s team will play Yale at noon in Franklin Field, followed by the men’s game with Princeton. There will be an alumni tent set up in Franklin Field where alums can gather during the afternoon games.
The Series with Princeton
The Tigers hold a commanding, 64-17 lead on the Quakers in this rivalry, and have won all but one of the matchups since 1990. The lone Penn win during that time came the last time these two teams met here at Franklin Field, in 2011. Last year, Princeton earned an 11-4 victory. In both 2009 and 2010, the Tigers won in overtime.
The seventh-ranked Tigers (4-1) tuned up for the weekend by destroying Manhattan, 15-2, on Tuesday night. Princeton’s lone loss came last Saturday, a 16-15 defeat at North Carolina; the Tigers also own wins over Villanova (14-11), Johns Hopkins (11-8), and Hofstra (10-7). Tom Schreiber leads Princeton with eight assists and 19 points, while Jeff Frocarro has 14 goals and Mike MacDonald has 12. Ryan Ambler, Jake Froccaro and Kip Orban all have more than 10 points already this season. In goal, Matt O’Connor has played all but 17 minutes; he has an 8.92 goals-against average and a .533 save percentage.
*At 4-1 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 has defeated two teams ranked in the USILA poll at the time of their game with the Quakers (No. 14 Duke, No. 17 Lehigh) and lost to another (No. 10 Denver).
*Penn had eight different goalscorers in the season opener against Duke, seven at Denver, and six last Saturday against Villanova; in the Saint Joseph's and Lehigh games, six different players scored Penn's six goals.
*Twelve different players have scored Penn's 51 goals, and the Quakers have a lot more unassisted goals (32) than assisted assisted (19); in other words, a lot of guys are finding a lot of different ways to score.
*Penn is averaging 10.20 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 outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter, 15-6, so far this season.
*Penn is outshooting its three opponents by an average of 41.0 to 32.0 so far this season.
*Penn has outshot its opponents 122-61 in the second half this season (63-27 in the third quarter, 59-34 in the fourth).
*When Penn and Duke played at Franklin Field in 2011, the final score was 7-3; on February 22, the teams combined for more goals before the first quarter was over (it ended with Penn up, 6-5).
*Penn scored 14 goals against the Blue Devils, its best offensive output since April 3, 2010 when the Quakers lost to Yale, 16-14.
*Senior Tim Schwalje was Penn's top returning leading scorer, and he is leading the team this season in goals (9), assists (10) and points (19). He has had hat tricks against Duke and Denver.
*Schwalje has a point in 17 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 had four in the season opener against Duke, while also adding an assist. After garnering a hat trick last Saturday vs. Villanova, he is up to eight goals and 10 points on the season.
*Junior Zack Losco had a hat trick last weekend against Villanova, as well, his second this season (also March 2 at Denver); he is third on the team with nine points (8g, 1a).
*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 four games this season, the junior middie has recorded six goals and two assists.
*In his collegiate debut, freshman Nick Doktor scored twice; in fact, in his first quarter as a collegian he scored twice. He has seven points (6g, 1a) so far this season, and last Saturday he recorded his first collegiate hat trick vs. Villanova.
*Another freshman, Mark Leonhard, also scored in his first collegiate game, then scored a goal last Tuesday at Lehigh.
*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 last Saturday, while "Hup" had goals against Saint Joseph's and Denver.
*Senior defenseman Anthony Santomo scored against Duke, the team's only long-stick goal so far this season; it was the captain's first collegiate goal.
*Against Lehigh, Santomo was matched up against the Mountain Hawks' top scoring threat, David DiMaria; DiMaria had 29 points in Lehigh's first five games, but was held to an assist (in a man-up situation) in the game's final minute of Penn's 6-4 win last Tuesday.
*Santomo is joined as a captain by Schwalje; fellow classmate Brendan Engelke, a goalie; and junior defenseman Maxx Meyer.
*Junior Danny Feeney has taken a majority of Penn's faceoffs this season (77 of 111); he has a .558 win percentage on the X.
*Feeney went 16-of-23 at the X last Saturday 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 a goal and an assist this season -- has taken the other 34 faceoffs this season and has a .471 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 this year and seems to be adjusting well.
*In goal, junior Brian Feeney had a career-high 17 saves while allowing just four goals last Tuesday at Lehigh; it was a nice comeback for the junior, who had just six saves while allowing 15 goals at Denver. (Last weekend against Villanova he had nine saves and allowed nine goals).
*Feeney struggled in the first quarter of this season’s first two games (4 saves, 7 goals allowed) but responded with a strong night the rest of the way (19 saves, 7 goals allowed).
*Feeney has been Penn's No. 1 almost his entire career, has an 8.40 goals-against average and a .567 save percentage 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).
*Sophomores Joe McCallion and Chris Hupfeldt were seniors on the Haverford School (Pa.) boys' lacrosse team that ended the 2011 season ranked as the No. 1 high school program in the country.
*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.