PHILADELPHIA – After a pair of wins in Ivy League play, the University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team faces another critical conference match against arguably the hottest team in the league, Harvard. The Quakers and the Crimson will face off Saturday at 1 p.m. in the final home game at Franklin Field for this senior class.
GAME 9 – #11 PENN (5-3, 2-2 Ivy League) vs. #17 HARVARD (7-4, 3-0)
Saturday, April 12, 2014 * 1 p.m.
Franklin Field (Philadelphia)
TV: Ivy League Digital Network (there is a fee for this service)
Thank You, Seniors!
Saturday’s game marks the final home game for 10 seniors: Drew Belinsky, Alex Blonsky, Brian Feeney, Danny Feeney, Zack Losco, Maxx Meyer, Riley Murphy, Brian Rotatori, Jeff Sestilio, and Reid Tudor.
The Penn-Harvard Series
The Quakers and the Crimson are meeting for the 83rd time; Harvard holds a 44-36 lead in the series, with two ties (1900, 1955). The Crimson won last year’s game in Cambridge, taking an 8-7 decision in overtime. Penn has won the last three played here at Franklin Field, including a 13-11 decision two years ago and a 12-7 game in 2010. The Quakers also won at Cambridge in 2011, a 7-6 final that also needed overtime.
This game, of course, once again pits Mike Murphy against one of his assistant coaches from when he first arrived at Penn. Chris Wojcik was here for two years, one with Brian Voelker and one with Murphy, before returning to his alma mater as head coach.
The Crimson were sneaking up on people, but not anymore. Not after they went to Cornell last Saturday and knocked off the then-No. 2 Big Red, 14-9. That left Harvard as the last unbeaten team in the Ivy standings, and put it at No. 17 in the latest USILA national poll. On Tuesday, the Crimson beat Boston University, 14-9. Peter Schwartz leads the Crimson with 33 points (17g, 16a), while Will Walker has scored 29 times and Devin Dwyer has dished off 21 assists. Schwartz was a second-team All-Ivy pick last year, while Dwyer received honorable mention recognition. Deke Burns (11), Carl Zimmerman (10) and Daniel Eipp (10) have all scored a double-digit total of goals. At the other end, Jake Gambitsky has started every game; he has a 10.27 goals-against average and a .495 save percentage.
After starting the season with four non-conference games, Penn is in the fifth week of a stretch that sees the Quakers playing Ivy League games for six straight Saturdays. They will then finish the season with non-conference games against Towson and St. John’s.
Around the League
League play starts on Friday night this weekend, as Yale (2-2) travels to Brown (1-2) for a 7 p.m. matchup. All games on Saturday are at 1 p.m., with the third Ivy game pitting Dartmouth (0-3) at Princeton (1-2). Cornell (3-1) has the bye this weekend, the Big Red are at Hofstra.
*Penn is tied for 11th in this week’s USILA national coaches poll with Fairfield, the Quakers’ highest ranking yet this season; they started the season ranked 18th, and were 12th four weeks ago (their highest ranking until this week). The other Ivy League teams currently ranked are Cornell (6), Yale (13), Princeton (15) and Harvard (t-17 with Bryant).
*Penn also is ranked 11th in the Warrior Inside Lacrosse media poll. Harvard is receiving votes in the Warrior/IL poll.
*Looking at Penn’s schedule, five of the Quakers’ eight opponents so far this season are ranked in this week’s USILA poll: Duke (2), Denver (5), Cornell (6), Yale (13), and Princeton (15). Harvard, of course, is ranked 17th. Another future opponent, Towson, is 19th in this week’s poll.
*In taking a look at the LaxPower.com computer rankings, Penn is second in Strength of Schedule, or SOS (behind Syracuse), and third in the Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI (behind Duke and Syracuse).
*This is nothing new for Penn under Head Coach Mike Murphy; last year, the Quakers’ Strength of Schedule was ranked second at the end of the season (behind only Princeton), while in 2011 it ranked first.
*The Quakers have seven players with at least 10 points, 12 players with at least two goals, and four others who have scored once.
*Penn has had at least seven different goalscorers in all but two games this season; in those other two, at Duke and at Yale, the Quakers had five different players score the team’s six goals in the game.
*Sophomore Nick Doktor -- who had three points in last Saturday’s win over Brown -- tops Penn in points (19) and assists (9). After being shut out in Penn’s season opener, he has his 19 points in the last seven games (2.7 ppg).
*Junior Isaac Bock leads the Quakers with 13 goals, and has scored at least once in every game except against Cornell this season.
*Freshman Kevin Brown is the only other player with a double-figure goal total (11).
*Four other players have double-digit point totals: seniors Zack Losco (17) and Drew Belinsky (12), junior Joe McCallion (12), and sophomore Pat Berkery (11).
*After recording three points last Saturday against Brown, Losco has a point in 17 straight games dating back to last season; the only other Penn players who have at least a point in every game this season are Bock and Brown.
*Berkery scored twice against Brown, his second multi-goal game this season (also March 8 at Villanova).
*Junior Chris Hupfeldt had two assists last weekend against the Bears, giving him a five-game point-scoring streak; he has eight points (4g, 4a) this season.
*Senior long-stick middie Alex Blonsky was an offensive stalwart last weekend; he scored twice, and also would have had a “hockey assist” after his feed to Zack Losco led directly to Losco feeding Danny Feeney for a goal.
Penn closes out the Ivy League portion of its schedule next Saturday at Dartmouth. The Quakers and the Big Green will face off at 1 p.m.