CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team kept pushing and pushing on Saturday, and the Quakers kept themselves alive for an Ivy League Tournament berth with one of their most dramatic wins in recent memory Saturday at Harvard.
The Quakers led for only 2:32 on Saturday. Fortunately, it was the only 2:32 that mattered -- the final 2:32. Penn defeated the Crimson, 10-9, to improve to 2-3 in Ivy League play and 5-6 overall.
There were a number of heroes for Penn on Saturday. Freshman Kevin McGeary scored three goals, two of which came in the Quakers’ three-goal run including the winner with 2:32 left. Nick Doktor had another productive day at the offensive end with five points (2 goals, 3 assists), while Joe McCallion and Isaac Bock scored twice each.
At the other end, John Lopes stepped into the goal at halftime and was simply massive, coming up with five saves early in the third when Harvard was trying to extend a three-goal lead. He ended the day with six. In the first half, Jimmy Sestilio had five stops. Matt McMahon, one of the national leaders in caused turnovers, had three more.
It took almost seven minutes for anyone to score on Saturday, but it was Harvard (6-6, 1-3) that drew first blood when Keegan Michel scored up top. The goal was compounded by a Penn penalty after the shot, and the Crimson took advantage of the man-up situation to make it 2-0 when Will Walker one-timed a feed from Joe Lang at the far post.
Penn got one of those goals back when McGeary scored a man-up goal off a feed from McCallion. But Harvard made it 3-1 almost immediately as long-stick middie Brian Fischer scored right off the faceoff, just 14 seconds after the Quakers’ goal.
Penn made it 3-2 near the end of the first quarter when Doktor found a cutting Pat Berkery in front and Berkery quick-sticked it home.
Harvard scored just seven seconds into the second quarter, as Austin Williams got the ground ball off the opening faceoff and raced deep into the Penn defense before beating Sestilio. Penn once again was called for a penalty out of the goal, but the Quakers defense held this time to keep it at 4-2.
Penn again got within a goal on a nice offensive play that ended with Chris Hilburn finding Doktor open on the far post and he one-timed it. But again, Harvard made it a two-goal game when Devin Dwyer stole a Penn outlet pass behind the Quakers goal, came out front, and fed Walker for an easy dunk. Later, Dwyer fed Sean Coleman and he fired a shot from distance that made the score 6-3 as the teams went to the locker rooms.
Penn opened the scoring in the third quarter, as McCallion started behind the goal, beat his man and shot it past Bryan Moore. After Lopes and the defense held Harvard at bay through a Crimson possession that lasted several minutes, McCallion finally made it 6-5 with a rocket shot off a feed from Doktor with 5:45 left in the quarter.
Once again, Harvard responded. Off a broken possession, Dwyer found a loose ball and got in front for the dunk to make it 7-5 with just 2:52 left in the quarter, and that was the score as the teams went into the final quarter.
Penn again struck quickly in the final period, as McGeary patiently held the ball and then found an open Isaac Bock for the dunk. However, the Quakers were victimized by a tough penalty call a few minutes later, and Harvard took advantage of the man-up possession as Deke Burns scored from distance.
Doktor took advantage of a short pole to score unassisted to make it 8-7 with 10:20 left, but Harvard needed exactly eight seconds to go back up by two as Michel won the faceoff and fed Burns who scored almost exactly the same way he had a few minutes earlier.
McGeary again got Penn within a goal, as the Quakers took advantage of a Harvard turnover and he scored from distance in transition. Then Bock finally got the Quakers level when he took Doktor’s feed and scored from outside.
Harvard nearly went back in front mere seconds later, but a behind-the-back shot hit the crossbar. At the other end, McGeary spun his man, went to his left, and took a left-handed shot that Moore got a piece of but couldn’t keep from crossing the line.
Penn will close out Ivy League play next Saturday, hosting Dartmouth at noon in the first half of a doubleheader at Franklin Field (the women will host Yale at 3 p.m.). In addition to the game, next Saturday is Alumni Day for both programs at Franklin Field.
Download: Penn11 (@Harvard).pdf