Men's Lacrosse Hosts Denver Friday Afternoon

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s lacrosse team will be trying to wipe the taste of bitter defeat from its mouth Friday afternoon, taking on the University of Denver in a critical non-conference game. Faceoff is set for 3 p.m. at Franklin Field, as this is the Quakers’ 2009 home opener and serves as the first half of a lax doubleheader (the Penn women take on North Carolina at 6:30 p.m.).

Last weekend, the Quakers were soundly defeated by Villanova, 14-7, on the Main Line. With the win, the Wildcats remain one of four teams receiving votes and on the cusp of cracking the USILA national coaches’ Top 20. Denver arrives in Philadelphia as one of the other three teams in that same position (along with Colgate and Army).

The Series With Denver

The Quakers and the Pioneers have met three times, with Denver winning all three in closely contested games. Last year, in the Pioneer Face-Off Classic in Denver, the Pioneers beat the Quakers in overtime, 12-11; the year before that, here at Franklin Field, Denver eked out an 8-5 win that ended Penn’s season. The first meeting came during the 2005 season in Colorado, and was won by Denver 7-6.

About Denver

The Pioneers (3-1) began the season by being soundly beaten at North Carolina, but have recovered from that to defeat win three straight. Denver defeated Albany (10-9) on Feb. 21), and then last weekend hosted the Harrow Face-Off Classic and beat Sacred Heart (15-8) and Towson (9-4). Junior Charley Dickenson had nine points in the Face-Off Classic (1g, 8a), and freshman Alex Demopoulos had five goals and an assist on the weekend. However, the tournament MVP was junior Dillon Roy. Dickenson leads Denver in scoring (5-10--15) while Joey Murray is second (9-2--11).

Some Penn notes heading into Friday’s home opener...

• Penn lost last weekend despite staying even with Villanova on the shot chart (Villanova had 31, Penn had 30).

• Senior Craig Andrzejewski led Penn with four points (3g, 1a); it was his ninth three-goal game at Penn, and 11th outing with at least four points.

• With 111 career points, Andrzejewski needs six to move into 10th place on Penn’s all-time scoring list (with Stewart Fisher, Kenneth Kirtz and Leo Paytas).

• Senior Garvey Heiderman scored two goals, his second straight two-goal game; he and Andrzejewski are tied for the team lead with four goals each.

• Freshman John Conneely registered his first collegiate point, an assist.

• Sophomore Corey Winkoff, who led the Ivy League in assists per game a year ago, had his first two assists of 2009.

• Sophomore Al Kohart was held scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career; he had scored a point in each of his first 14 appearances.

• Senior Greg Murray lost for the first time as a starting goalkeeper; after winning his first two collegiate starts, he had nine saves against the Wildcats

• On the face-off X, junior Justin Lynch won 14 of 25 draws. For the season, he has a .577 win percentage (26 of 45).

• Junior Joe Kelly, a long stick on the face-off unit, tied Lynch and Murray with five ground balls; he now has 11 GBs on the season, which leads the team.

Quoting Coach Voelker...

“We have to come out with a lot more intensity and play a lot better defense than we did last week at Villanova. I thought we did that in our first game with Drexel, but were unable to get it going last weekend.”

“I hope our guys want to step out on the field and win every game, but obviously the recent history makes this a big game. Last year we were up on them and let some circumstances get the better of us, and they came back and won. Two years ago, they came in here and got a win when we desperately needed one. So you hope that there is a little extra incentive, especially for the upperclassmen.”

“Denver is super aggressive and makes you work for everything you get. They really come after you on defense, so we need to be patient and not get caught up in that. In the midfield, they have a couple of guys who are very good, probably the best we have seen to this point. And on the attack, they have a few Canadian guys who are good in tight spots and know how to stick it. We will have a huge challenge on Friday.”