VILLANOVA, Pa. Penn knew it had a lot of offensive firepower to replace from a year ago, but the 12th-ranked Quakers felt confident their youngsters would step up if given the opportunity.
That was certainly the case Friday afternoon, as Penn overcame a second-quarter deficit thanks to a stunning defensive effort that allowed the Quakers to gain a 10-6 win over Villanova in the season opener.
Sophomore Drew Collins led the way with a pair of goals and an assist; classmates J.J. Lian and Garvey Heiderman added a pair of goals apiece, and another sophomore -- Craig Andrzejewski -- had a goal and an assist on the day. In all, nine of Penn's 10 goals came from freshmen or sophomores in the opening victory.
At the other end, senior Gregory Klossner was simply magnificent as he made 18 saves while allowing just six goals, a staggering .750 save percentage for the game.
The teams were tied after one quarter, 2-2, as Lian and Andrzejewski netted unassisted efforts and Villanova got goals from Timmy Campbell and Tim Atkins. With 11:03 left in the second quarter, Mike Haas finished a Campbell feed to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.
Villanova would not score again until exactly 10 minutes were left in the fourth quarter; if you are scoring at home, that is a goalless streak of 31:03.
During that time, Penn slowly pulled away. Heiderman scored about two minutes after Haas to knot things up, and then almost an entire quarter went by before he scored again to give the Quakers a lead they would not relinquish. More than 10 minutes went by before freshman Chris Harms got on the board, giving Penn a 5-3 lead heading into the final quarter.
Penn appeared to put Villanova away in the first five minutes of the final quarter, as Collins and sophomore Casey O'Rourke scored unassisted goals at 13:25 and 11:27, respectively, and then Alex Salihi finished a Collins feed to push Penn's lead to 8-3.
However, the Wildcats still had some fight in them. Eric Heidenberger ended Nova's lengthy scoring skid with exactly 10 minutes to play, followedjust 17 seconds laterby Haas. With 7:21left, Mark Scioscia pulled theWildcats within two with his first goal of the day to make the score 8-6.
However, the Penn defense again clamped down, shutting Villanova out the rest of the way, and goals by Collins(with 3:38 to play) and Lian (with 1:46 left) put the finishing touches on the Quaker victory.
Penn will play its home opener Wednesday afternoon, against Lehigh. Start time is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Franklin Field.