PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s lacrosse team is off to New England this weekend looking to get back in the win column with a pair of games. On Saturday, the Quakers are at Harvard Stadium to face the Crimson in a critical Ivy League contest, and on Sunday Penn meets a new opponent in Bryant University. Both games are scheduled to face off at 1 p.m.
The Series With Harvard
The Crimson lead the series, 41-33-2, although last year Penn won 12-10 at Franklin Field to snap a three-game Harvard win streak in the series. Craig Andrzejewski scored five goals and Alex Weber added four in last year’s game, while Corey Winkoff dished off six assists. The last time these teams met in Cambridge, Harvard won 7-6 in overtime.
The Crimson are ranked 16th in this week’s USILA national coaches’ poll, boasting a 3-1 record including a 9-6 win over Duke in the season opener. Last weekend, Harvard routed Hartford, 18-7. Goalkeeper Joe Pike owns the nation’s second-best goals-against average (5.51), and a key will come at the face-off circle where Penn’s Justin Lynch will square off with Andrew Parchman. Offensively, Harvard is led by Jeff Cohen (9-5--14) and Jesse Fehr (4-6--10). Travis Burr has seven goals, while Dean Gibbons has six.
I Know You!
Saturday’s game with Harvard will represent a homecoming in more ways than one for Penn assistant coach Chris Wojcik. Not only was Wojcik a standout athlete for the Crimson -- he captained the lacrosse and soccer teams when he was there -- but more recently he was an assistant coach for six seasons, from 2002-07.
The Series With Bryant
The Quakers and the Bulldogs are meeting for the first time; Bryant is a recent addition to NCAA Division I.
Bryant’s head coach is Mike Pressler, who resigned from Duke in the wake of the scandal from three years ago. The top player is another former Blue Devil, Zack Greer, who is using his extra year of eligibility gained from that season to play for Pressler. A first-team All-America and winner of the Turnbull Award as the nation’s top attackman last year at Duke, he leads the Bulldogs with 33 points (21g, 12a) and also boasts the longest point-scoring streak in the nation at 42 games (34 with Duke). Kevin Hoagland and Bryan Kaufmann have 14 goals apiece. Bryant is 4-4 this season, with the losses coming all coming to teams currently ranked (No. 1 Virginia, No. 11 Maryland, No. 12 Loyola, No. 20 Army).
Penn is behind the 8-ball in the Ivy League race after losing to Yale in overtime last weekend; the Quakers have lost three in a row overall after opening the season with a win.
Craig Andrzejewski had his 10th three-goal game as a Quaker last weekend vs. Yale, and his third straight game with at least three points.
With 117 career points -- including a team-high 11 this season (9g, 2a) -- Andrzejewski is tied for 10th place on Penn’s all-time scoring list (with Stewart Fisher, Kenneth Kirtz and Leo Paytas). Vern Briggs is ninth on the list, with 119 points.
Senior Garvey Heiderman also scored three times last weekend, his first three-goal game for the Quakers, and also had an assist; he is second on the team with eight goals.
Senior Casey O'Rourke had three goals last weekend, as well, his first three-goal game since Feb. 28, 2007 (Lehigh). He has scored five goals this season, as has classmate Alex Weber.
Sophomore Corey Winkoff, who led the Ivy League in assists per game a year ago, had three assists against the Bulldogs -- his second straight game with three assists -- and leads Penn with eight this season.
Freshman Joe Hegener made his collegiate debut last weekend against Yale, and had 16 saves in the overtime contest. Senior Greg Murray had started and played the first three games this season.
On the face-off X, junior Justin Lynch has a .516 win percentage (48 won, 45 lost); he also leads the Quakers with 24 ground balls.
Junior Joe Kelly, a long stick on the face-off unit, is second on the squad with 18 ground balls while senior Greg Sih has 10.
Quoting Coach Voelker...
“Saturday’s game, obviously, is very important. It’s a league game, and there are not enough of those in a season to let one get away and we did that last weekend. I know it’s a coaches’ cliché to say we need to play 60 minutes, but the bottom line is we did a lot of good things for about a half last weekend and then we struggled after that. We can’t let that happen.”
“Harvard is a good team, we know we will have to play well to beat them. Their defense is experienced, and they have a four-year starter in goal who’s have a great season. They control ground balls, they have a solid attack, and we will have to put together a complete effort to win.”
“Bryant is also a good team, and their situation is helped by the fact that they have arguably the best player in the the NCAA on their squad this year. Beyond Zack, they have a great face-off guy, and a lot of other guys are involved in the attack because of Zack. They are a team that has played hard this season and had good results. We can’t be concerned with their record or the fact that they are new to Division I, because they are good.”
“Even though we play twice this weekend, practice has been business as usual. If anything, we have focused more on ourselves and what we need to do to get back to winning games. But we are focusing on Harvard for now, and after that game we will get together Saturday night at the hotel and give the guys the game plan for Bryant.”