PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s lacrosse team faces a unique challenge this weekend, playing not once but twice as part of the annual Pioneer Face-Off Classic this weekend at the University of Denver’s Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday and features the Quakers, the host Pioneers, Air Force and fellow Ivy League school Brown.
Saturday’s schedule pits the Quakers (1-1) against Air Force (1-1) at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. local), followed by host Denver (1-3) taking on Brown (1-1) at 3:30 p.m. Eastern (1:30 p.m. local). On Sunday, Air Force and Brown meet in the 1 p.m. Eastern game (11 a.m. local), with Penn and Denver facing off in the 3:30 p.m. Eastern finale (1:30 local).
This is Penn's second trip to Colorado in the last four years; the Quakers also went west in 2005, splitting a trip with a win over Air Force and a loss to Denver. This weekend's action marks the only time this year Penn will play games on back-to-back days.
Penn is the only team among the four to enter the tournament on an up note; the Quakers knocked off Villanova last weekend, 7-6. The Pioneers enter the Face-Off Classic after suffering a pair of road losses last weekend when they fell 9-6 to UMBC and dropped a 10-9 heartbreaker to then No. 20 Towson, while Air Force lost to Army 12-4 and the Bears fell to Hofstra 7-6.
Some notes entering Saturday’s game...
Among the teams in this weekend’s field, both Brown and Penn are receiving votes in the latest USILA national poll; in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll, Denver is ranked 19th.
Penn and Air Force have met just once previously, with the Quakers taking a 6-3 victory in 2005.
Denver leads the all-time series against Penn, 2-0. In the final regular-season game lsat year, the Pioneers downed the Quakers 8-5 in Philadelphia. In 2005, DU defeated Penn 7-6.
In last weekend’s win over Villanova, freshman Al Kohart led the way with three goals while junior Alex Weber scored twice. Junior captain Craig Andrzejewski had three points (1g, 2a), while junior J.J. Lian had a goal and an assist.
Kohart leads the Quakers with five goals this season; on Tuesday, he was named the first Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the 2008 season.
Andrzejewski leads Penn with six points (1g, 5a), while Lian is third on the team with four points (3g, 1a).
Sophomore Justin Lynch has won 60 percent of his faceoffs this season (21-of-35); he also leads the team with nine ground balls, followed by junior Brian Weiss and sophomore Joe Kelly who have six apiece.
In the Penn goal, Chris Casey has gone all the way in both games so far and has a 7.50 GAA; he has made 11 saves.
Prior to its loss to Army, Air Force opened the season with a 8-7, overtime win against Providence.
For Air Force, senior David Rose is the Falcons' leading scorer with six goals on the season, while five players have two points each.
For Denver, prior to last weekend’s two losses the Pioneers opened the season with a 15-5 win over Colgate and a 6-5 loss to North Carolina (currently ranked fourth in the USILA national poll).
In Denver’s loss to Towson last weekend, senior attack Jon Paulson led the Pioneers with three goals.
Freshman attack Jamie Lincoln leads the Pioneers in goals (9) and points (9), while sophomore midfielder Charley Dickenson leads the team in assists (6).