PROVIDENCE – On a night where pouring rain plagued Stevenson-Pincince Field, the Penn Quakers battled back to tie the contest on five occasions but couldn’t net the game-tying goal as Yale came away with a close 7-6 win in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals in Providence, R.I.
Tonight’s contest marked the eighth one-goal game between Yale and Penn in the last 12 meetings dating back to the 2007 season. Earlier this year in conference action, the Quakers and Bulldogs needed overtime to decide the winner as the two sides have created a storied rivalry in recent years.
With less than 40 seconds remaining in regulation and down by one, the Quakers had possession deep in the Yale defensive end and made a swift sprint towards goal. Penn put the ball in the stick of sophomore midfielder Kevin McGeary whose initial shot on goal sailed high, but was quickly recovered on the ensuing possession. McGeary once again made a run towards the crease but couldn’t get past the Yale double-team as time ran out on the Quakers attempt to send the contest into overtime.
With both teams fighting unfavorable conditions that made footing difficult on the slippery turf, each side played methodical 6-on-6 sets waiting for optimal opportunities. Both Penn and Yale took the first 15 minutes of action to adjust to the weather before the rain subsided in the second quarter.
Yale took a slight 2-1 advantage heading into the second stanza but the Quakers found their best chances off of fast breaks and tied the game at 2-2 with 11:12 left in the half. Eric Persky went coast-to-coast on a defensive transition to tally his first goal of the season and Simon Mathias put Penn ahead 3-2 just 44 seconds later off a feed from James Farrell.
The Bulldogs closed the half with three unanswered goals from Jeff Cimbalista and Ben Reeves to hold a 5-3 advantage on the Quakers heading into intermission.
The rain once again picked up and remained consistent for the remainder of the contest as the teams came out of the locker rooms. Penn came out fighting and notched two goals to break a 12:35 scoreless streak when Tyler Dunn and Alex Roesner scored back-to-back to tie the game at 5-5 in the third quarter.
Yale closed out the third period with 5:15 on the clock to take the lead at 6-5, but the Quakers continued to fight tough and tied the game – for the fifth time – at 6-6 with 11:26 left in regulation off an extra-man opportunity.
The Bulldogs netted what would ultimately be the game-winner with 3:43 left to play when Ben Reeves connected on an EMO attempt in the final minutes of regulation.
The Quakers outshot their opponents by a 33-31 margin and won the ground ball battle 25-24. Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Reed Junkin registered 10 saves and faceoff specialist Chris Santangelo picked up a game-high four ground balls. Freshman attackman Tyler Dunn led the team with two points via one goal and one assist.
The Quakers conclude the 2016 season with an 8-7 overall record and 4-2 mark in Ivy League games. Tonight’s contest also marked the fourth appearance in the seven-year history of the Ivy League Tournament, with the others coming in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
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