Men's Lacrosse Edged by No. 2 Princeton, 10-9

Box Score (PDF)

PHILADELPHIA - When Tuesday night's game between the Penn and Princeton men's lacrosse teams was over, a quick look at the coaches might have led you to believe that the Quakers had knocked off the second-ranked Tigers.

You would be wrong -- but just barely.

Princeton's coaches? Relieved. Drained.

Penn's coaches? Clapping. Slapping backs. Keeping heads up.

Tuesday night, Penn unveiled the team it expected to be this year. The Quakers won faceoffs. They were crisp on offense, controlling tempo. They were solid on defense, passing players off and being physical.

And, in the end, they gave a Princeton team ranked second in the nation -- fresh off a four-goal win against defending NCAA champion Syracuse -- all it could handle. It took overtime, but 1:30 into the first extra session the Tigers' Tommy Davis got a feed from Jack McBride in front of the Penn goal and wasted no time potting it past freshman Joe Hegener's left side, givingthe Tigers a pulsating, 10-9 win at Franklin Field.

With the win, Princeton improved to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in the Ivy League. For Penn, the loss added insult to injury -- the Quakers are now 2-7 overall, 1-4 in conference play. It was a bitter ending to what could have been a special night for a group of seniors who have struggled mightily against the Tigers in their careers, and have seen this season spiral completely away from them. But someday they will look back at this game and know they earned the respect of their loftily ranked foe.

All indications were that Princeton would do what it usually does against Penn -- score early and often. It took Mark Kovler exactly 2:08 to put the Tigers on the board, as he finished a Rich Sgalardi feed on the Tigers' first shot of the game.

A funny thing happened after that, though. Penn took over. The Quakers scored three times before the quarter ended, as Casey O'Rourke finished a Craig Andrzejewski feed, Alex Weber netted a goal off a John Conneely pass, and then Corey Winkoff went unassisted. When the quarter was over, Penn had outshot Princeton 12-1.

Drew Collins gave Penn a 4-1 lead two minutes into the second stanza, finishing another Andrzejewski feed, before McBride ended a 14-minute Princeton drought with his first of the night. Nearly three minutes went by before Garvey Heiderman scored to make it 5-2, but Princeton answered with a pair of goals just 59 seconds apart to draw within one. However, Penn rebounded and held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the half; meanwhile, Collins added his second of the night, and it was 6-4 Penn at the break.

Princeton came out of the locker room like cornered cats. Sgalardi scored unassisted 2:24 into the third, and then after Weber finished a Heiderman feed for Penn the Tigers got three goals in a 1:05 span from Sgalardi, McBride and Davis. Just like that, it was 8-7 Princeton, and you got the sense reality had set in.

Instead, Penn showed its experience. The game slowed down; the Quakers regained their composure, and more than 14 minutes went by before either team scored again. This time, it was Collins going unassisted with a rocket to tie the game at 8-8 with 7:12 to play.

Princeton scored with 4:13 left, Davis finishing a feed from Sgalardi, but Al Kohart matched that with just 59 seconds left in regulation on an unassisted effort. Penn then won the faceoff and set upfor a last shot, but the best the Quakers could get was a Winkoff effort wrapping around the goal just as time expired.

In the OT, Princeton won the faceoff -- just the Tigers' eighth win in 23 draws on the night -- and that set the stage for Davis' heroics.

Penn outshot Princeton on the night, 33-23, and forced Tyler Fiorito to make seven saves for the Tigers. Joe Hegener had four stops for Penn. On the X, Justin Lynch won 15 draws and collected 10 ground balls.

Penn returns to action Saturday, concluding the Ivy League season with a meeting against No. 12 Brown. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. in Providence. R.I.

Download: Penn09 (Princeton).pdf