PHILADELPHIA – It has been nearly 40 years since the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State have met in men’s lacrosse. That intrastate drought ends on Saturday, as the 16th-ranked Quakers travel up to State College to face a Nittany Lions squad that sits just outside the USILA national poll. Penn and Penn State will face off in Holuba Hall at noon, the first half of a doubleheader in State College as the PSU women's lax team faces Virginia at 3 p.m.
GAME 4 – #16 PENN (2-1) at PENN STATE (1-2)
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 * Noon
State College, Pa. (Holuba Hall)
The Series with Penn State
The Quakers and the Nittany Lions have played each other 33 times in men’s lacrosse, with Penn State holding a 21-12 series lead. However, the last meeting between these two programs took place all the way back in 1977 (a 24-10 Penn win). PSU won the two games before that, in 1975 (12-10) and 1976 (20-13).
About Penn State
The Nittany Lions opened the season with a 15-8 win over Vermont, but since then they have lost on the road to Loyola (8-6) and Villanova (11-7). TJ Sanders and Nick Aponte lead the PSU attack; both players have six goals and two assists for eight points. Matt Florence also has eight points (4g, 4a), while Mike Sutton has scored four times. Overall, nine different players have found the net so far this season for the Lions. At the other end, Connor Darcey has played every minute in goal; he has a 9.00 goals-against average and a .609 save percentage.
*Penn entered the week ranked 11th in both the Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine polls, and 16th in the USILA national coaches’ poll; the Quakers lost at Maryland on Tuesday, 11-7.
*In the loss at Maryland, senior middie Joe McCallion scored a career-high four goals to lead the Penn attack. Junior Nick Doktor assisted on all of those goals.
*Doktor continues to lead Penn in points, with 11 (4g, 7a), while McCallion has nine (8g, 1a).
*Penn’s other goals at Maryland came from senior Isaac Bock and freshmen Reilly Hupfeldt and Kevin McGeary. McGeary is second on the team with five goals overall, while Hupfeldt has three and Bock has two.
*Penn started the season 2-0 for the third time in Mike Murphy’s six seasons, the other two being 2011 (when Penn started 3-0) and 2013 (2-0).
*Last Tuesday, Penn gave up the first seven goals to Saint Joseph’s and was still down 9-4 to the Hawks entering the final quarter before rallying to win, 11-10, in overtime.
*Doktor had the OT winner to finish off a four-point game (2g, 2a); he was one of two Penn players to record four points in the contest, McCallion being the other one (3g, 1a).
*Overall, eight different players scored Penn’s 11 goals including freshman long-stick middie Connor Keating who netted his first as a collegian.
*The Quakers opened the 2015 season with a 10-8 win over UMBC on February 14 at Franklin Field.
*McGeary led the Penn attack against the Retrievers, scoring three goals in his collegiate debut.
*Sophomore Austin Kreinz has three goals this season, two against UMBC and one vs. Saint Joseph’s.
*Junior Rob Savage is seeing his first action on the face-off X this season, and the early returns have been promising as he boasts a .558 win percentage (29/52).
*Junior Jimmy Sestilio has started all three games in goal for Penn, he has made 21 saves and allowed 17 goals.
*Senior John Lopes has played after halftime in both games; in the SJU game, he made two saves in OT before Penn gained the victory later in the extra session. Overall, Lopes’ goals-against average is 7.73.
*After its outstanding season a year ago -- 11 wins, an Ivy League Tournament title, the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Championship -- Penn was ranked in all three preseason polls for 2015. Lacrosse Magazine listed the Quakers at No. 11, while both Inside Lacrosse and the USILA coaches poll placed Penn 13th.
*As has become common under head coach Mike Murphy, Penn’s 2015 schedule boasts five teams ranked in the USILA preseason poll (No. 8 Maryland, No. 10 Cornell, No. 11 Harvard, No. 14 Penn State, No. 15 Yale) and three others that received votes (Princeton, Villanova, Brown).
*Senior defenseman Matt McMahon, an honorable mention All-Ivy pick last year, received 2015 preseason All-America Honorable Mention recognition from Inside Lacrosse.
*McMahon and McCallion (midfield) were Major League Lacrosse draft picks in late January. McMahon went to the Ohio Machine in the fifth round (35th pick overall), while McCallion went to the Denver Outlaws in the seventh round (52nd overall).
*Coincidentally, those two players were voted to be this year’s captains by their teammates.
*Offensively, Penn returns nine of its top 11 scorers from a year ago including last year’s top point-getter in Doktor (23g, 19a, 42 pts). Bock tied for third on the team in all three categories last year, as well, with 18 goals and nine assists for 27 points. Sophomore Kevin Brown also scored 18 goals and finished the season with 23 points.
Penn in the ACC Tournament?!?!
That’s right, the Quakers will play one of the ACC’s highly ranked teams as part of the weekend-long event at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Penn’s game is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 and $25, and we urge Penn fans to purchase them in advance through the Penn Athletics Ticket Office (215-898-6151 or online at www.PennAthletics.com/Tickets).