PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s lacrosse team closes out the 2009 season Saturday at Army, the Quakers and Black Knights will face off at 1 p.m. at Michie Stadium on the West Point campus.
The game will close the careers of 10 seniors -- Craig Andrzejewski, Drew Collins, Garvey Heiderman, Drew Lassiter, J.J. Lian, Greg Murray, Casey O'Rourke, Greg Sih, Alex Weber, and Brian Weiss. This group has played a large role for the last three years, and as freshmen they were members of Penn’s team that made the 2006 NCAA Championship field. Last weekend, of course, they closed out their home career in style, coming back from a 6-4 deficit late in the third quarter to defeat Towson, 10-6.
Overall,Penn's Class of 2009 enters its final game with an all-time record of 26-26; the group went 12-12 in Ivy League play. Five of the seniors -- Andrzejewski, Heiderman, Collins, Weber and O’Rourke -- are among Penn’s top six scorers.
The Series With Army
Army leads the series over Penn, 13-3; however, the Quakers currently hold the upper hand the series, gaining a 13-9 win last year at Franklin Field. At the time, Army was ranked 18th nationally. Casey O'Rourke had three goals, while Craig Andrzejewski scored two goals and had two assists. In his first collegiate start, Greg Murray made nine saves to get the win in goal.
The Black Knights (6-9) will also be playing their final game this season, and will honor 10 seniors prior to the contest. After starting the season 5-3, Army lost to Hofstra and Colgate in consecutive double-overtime games, and the Knights have struggled to recover. Jason Peyer leads Army with 36 goals and 50 points, while Jeremy Boltus has a team-high 22 assists and is second with 46 points. Brooks Korvin and Kevin LoRusso have 24 points apiece. At the other end, Tom Palesky has started every game in goal and played all but 25 minutes this season; he has an 8.75 goals-against average and a .598 save percentage.
Penn has allowed just 37 goals in the last five games (7.4 per game); prior to that, opponents were averaging 13.6 gpg.
Sophomore Corey Winkoff entered the week fourth among Ivy League players and 15th nationally in assists per game (1.58).
With 135 career points -- including a team-high 29 this season (21g, 8a) -- senior Craig Andrzejewski is likely to finish his career in ninth place on Penn’s all-time scoring list. (He needs 13 points Saturday to catch Todd Minerly in eighth place.)
Andrzejewski figured in four of Penn’s final six goals against Towson, assisting Morgan Griff’s goal to make it 6-5 at the end of the third quarter, then scoring three of the Quakers’ five fourth-quarter tallies.
Senior Garvey Heiderman went scoreless last weekend, snapping his 11-game point-scoring streak; he entered last weekend’s game with Towson as the only Penn player to have scored a point in every game this season.
After going scoreless through Penn’s first five games, senior Drew Collins has scored 14 points in the last seven contests (11g, 3a); he had a goal and an assist last weekend vs. Towson.
Sophomore Morgan Griff had three goals last weekend vs. Towson, his first collegiate hat trick; he also had three points (2g, 1a) at Brown on April 11.
Winkoff, who led the Ivy League in assists per game a year ago, leads Penn with 16 this season (the rest of the team has 24).
Junior Justin Lynch and Joe Kelly are among the Ivy League leaders in ground balls; Lynch is third and 10th nationally (6.17 per game) while Kelly is tied for fourth (4.17 per game).
Lynch also boasts a .542 win percentage on face-offs (141 wins, 119 losses) which put him 22nd nationally to start the week.
Quoting Coach Voelker...
"With it being the last game of the season for both teams, you expect that they will come out playing hard and the same with us. Our guys have done a good job of preparing for this weekend's game, and we expect to go up there and give Army a battle."
"When we have had success this season we have won faceoffs, so I think that'll be a big key Saturday. Army is a good team in transition, and they have some very talented players on the attack. Their defense is a little inexperienced, so hopefully we can exploit that."
"I have been a little disappointed with the play of our offense the last few weeks, although obviously we came on strong late last weekend. But those guyswill need to play well in order for us to win on Saturday."