PHILADELPHIA - Something has got to give when Penn and Maryland face off Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. on the Terps’ Ludwig Field. At least, the teams are hoping that something gives, since they both enter the contest with two-game losing streaks.
Saturday’s game will be televised live on CN8, with Mike Corey calling the game and Leif Elsmo offering expert analysis.
Penn was flying high with a 5-3 record two weeks ago, courtesy of a good Ivy League road win at Dartmouth. That enthusiasm has been tamped by a 14-5 loss at Princeton and an 8-5 loss to Brown at Franklin Field. In both games, the Quakers outshot their opponent -- including a staggering 57-22 last weekend against the Bears -- but finding the net was a whole different issue.
“Our problems from Princeton to Brown were very different,” said head coach Brian Voelker. “Against Brown, we got a lot of opportunities and just didn’t can them; at Princeton, we were not able to create a lot of chances. That is definitely something we need to improve, because this weekend we are going up against a team that is big and physical at the defensive end -- they are known for the defenses, and they take pride in that.”
In fact, Maryland may not be the team Penn wants to see right now. The 12th-ranked Terps have been had a full week to stew over a 12-4 loss to its rival, Johns Hopkins, last Saturday at Homewood Field. In fact, Maryland is still looking for its first win this month -- its last win came March 29 against Virginia.
After playing six straight Ivy League games, Penn is done with conference play for its final three games of the season -- the Quakers have Towson and Army after this weekend. That said, a bit of a rivalry is starting to simmer with Maryland. After all, this is the fifth straight year the teams are meeting.
“Our guys, especially the returning players, know what to expect from Maryland,” said Voelker. “The lacrosse world is a small one to begin with, so these guys tend to play with each other in high school and on summer teams and other clubs. There is a familiarity, but this one may be enhanced because we have seen them every season the last several years. But we are a different team from last year, and so are they, so I don’t know if familiarity helps or hurts either side.
“There is no doubt that league games are different, and special,” he continued. “This is a little different, but it is still special. We are playing a big-time opponent, the game is on TV, and so hopefully our guys will recognize the occasion and play to that level. We still have hopes for the postseason, and know a loss closes that door a little tighter. We need a win, and hopefully our guys will play with that attitude.”
Some notes heading into Saturday’s game...
The series between Penn (5-3, 3-1) and Maryland (7-4) has been decidedly lopsided -- the Terps lead, 7-0. This is the fifth-straight year the teams have met; prior to 2004, the last meeting was in 1930.
Maryland won last year’s game at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, 14-10. The year before, at Byrd Stadium in College Park, the Terps rolled, 12-4.
This will be the fifth game between the teams played in College Park, but the first on Ludwig Field.
To give you a sense of how much sixth-year head coach Brian Voelker has turned Penn’s program around, the Quakers have finished .500 or better in the Ivy League each of the last three seasons, and four times in the last five years. The last time Penn finished .500 or better in the conference three straight years was at the end of a seven-year run, from 1983-89. (compare that to the period from 1990-2003, when the Quakers finished .500 or better only four times total)
Penn’s win at Dartmouth on April 5 marked the first time the Big Green had lost at home this season; they had entered the contest 3-0 in Hanover.
Penn finished 2-1 in Ivy League road games this season, winning at Yale and Dartmouth.
When junior Garvey Heiderman scored in overtime at Dartmouth Saturday, it actually marked the second time he has ended a game in OT during his collegeiate career; he also won Penn’s game vs. Yale last season.
Two Penn freshmen, attackman Corey Winkoff and midfielder Al Kohart, have earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice this season.
Kohart is the only Penn player to record a point in every game this season, while Winkoff has scored in all but one game (Brown).
Junior attackman Craig Andrzejewski had a 25-game point-scoring streak that was snapped at Princeton (4/8); coincidentally, the last time he had been held without a point was Penn’s previous game at Princeton, on April 11, 2006. He responded with a goal and an assist against Brown last Saturday.
In the last 27 games he has played for Penn, Andrzejewski has been held to one or fewer points only three times.
Andrzejewski leads Penn with 19 goals and 32 points on the season; his points-per-game average (3.20) is third among Ivy players, and his goals-per-game (1.90) and assists-per-game (1.30) averages are tied for fifth in the Ivy League.
Only a junior, Andrzejewski already has 98 career points and needs just two more to reach 100 for his collegiate career. The last Penn player to reach 100 points? Craig’s older brother D.J. Andrzejewski, who scored exactly 100 from 2003-06.
Winkoff tops the Quakers and the Ivy League with 20 assists, a 2.00 average; he had 15 in six Ivy games (2.50 average).
Winkoff is also eighth in the Ivy League in points per game (2.80).
Junior attack Alex Weber is eighth in the Ivy League with 1.80 goals per game; he has scored in five-straight games, and 10 overall this season (held goalless only at Yale).
Weber (18) and Kohart (15) join Andrzejewski in reaching double figures in goals already this season.
Kohart leads the Ivy League in shots per game (8.30); he took a staggering 16 shots against Brown last weekend, when Penn took 57 as a team. (Brown, meanwhile, took just 22 yet still gained an 8-5 victory)
If you are wondering what happened to junior Casey O'Rourke, who started every game on attack last year for the Quakers, he is still around -- just as a midfielder. He runs with the second unit.
That said, O’Rourke has scored three goals in the last two games (2 at Princeton, 1 vs. Brown); prior to that, he had just one goal in Penn’s first nine games.
Playing behind a young defense -- veteran senior Max Mauro works with sophomores Tommy Dodge, Brett Hughes and Joe Kelly -- sophomore goalkeeper Chris Casey has a .451 save percentage and a 9.72 goals-against average.
The face-off unit is anchored by Lynch on the X -- he is fifth in the Ivies with 4.80 ground balls per game -- with Kelly (33 ground balls) and junior Brian Weiss (30 GBs) coming in from the wings.
Like Penn, Maryland comes into the weekend looking to shake off a two-game losing streak; the Terps fell last week at No. 7 Johns Hopkins, 10-4, and prior to that they dropped a 5-4 decision to No. 10 Navy on April 4.
Maryland’s other losses have come to No. 2 Duke (15-7) and No. 6 UMBC (9-8 in 3OT); among the Terrapins’ victims are No. 4 Virginia (13-7), No. 5 Georgetown (11-6), and No. 13 North Carolina (13-8).
UM is led by Ryan Young (7-17-24), Travis Reed (18-5-23) and Grant Catalino (17-6-23); four other players have accumulated double figures in points. At the other end, Jason Carter and Brian Phipps have shared the duties in goal (although Carter went all the way against Hopkins).
Maryland is 4-1 in College Park this season, including a 3-0 record on Ludwig Field with the wins coming over Providence, Towson and Air Force.