PHILADELPHIA - Coming off an exciting week that closed the Ivy League portion of the 2009 schedule, the Penn men’s lacrosse team looks optimistically to the last three games of the season. The first of those three come Saturday, as No. 12 Maryland comes calling.
The teams will face off at 4:30 p.m. on Franklin Field.
For Penn (3-7, 2-4 Ivy), some standout play may be a case of too little too late -- the Quakers is guaranteed not to receive a bid into the NCAA Championship field this year, as a winning record is unattainable. However, last week’s results certain showed the men that they can play with anyone -- following an overtime loss to this week’s national No. 1, Princeton, the Quakers went out and defeated No. 11 Brown on its home turf. The goal is to keep it going, and perhaps play spoiler to some teams that sit on the bubble for the NCAA’s 16-team field. Maryland certainly qualifies.
In addition, Penn will be looking to make history Saturday, as the Quakers have never beaten the Terps in men’s lacrosse -- Maryland has won all of the previous eight meetings, including relatively easy wins each of the last five years.
Following Saturday’s game, Penn closes out the home season next weekend with a Sunday meeting against Towson, and then the following weekend the Quakers will be at West Point to face Army.
The Series With Maryland
As mentioned above, the Terps have won all eight meetings. This marks the sixth straight year the teams have met; prior to 2004, the last meeting was in 1930. Maryland won last year’s game at Ludwig Field in College Park, 9-4. Two years ago, at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the Terrapins gained a 14-10 victory.
The Terps (7-5) are ranked 12th in this week’s USILA national coaches poll; they snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday with a 15-6 win over Binghamton, the 700th win in program history. Maryland is the fifth Division I program to reach that milestone. Grant Catalino leads the offense; with 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points. Ryan Young and Dan Groot have both scored 17 points, while Will Yeatman -- a former football/lax player at Notre Dame -- has 13 goals and 13 assists. Jason Carter (6.92 GAA, .522 save percentage) and Brian Phipps (8.08 GAA, .566 save percentage) have split time between the pipes.
Penn has allowed just 22 goals in the last three games (7.3 per game); prior to that, opponents were averaging 13.6 gpg.
Sophomore Corey Winkoff is fourth among Ivy League players and tied for 19th nationally in assists per game (1.50).
With 129 career points -- including a team-high 23 this season (17g, 6a) -- senior Craig Andrzejewski is in ninth place on Penn’s all-time scoring list. He needs 19 more points to catch Todd Minerly in eighth place.
Andrzejewski was shut out at Brown last Saturday, snapping a 13-game point streak that dated back to last season.
Senior Garvey Heiderman is second on the team with 14 goals; he has four multi-goal games and is the only Penn player to have recorded a point in every game this season.
After going scoreless through Penn’s first five games, senior Drew Collins has scored 12 points in the last five contests (10g, 2a) ; he had four points last week vs. Princeton, and two at Brown.
Senior Alex Weber scored three goals at Brown last Saturday, giving him six in the last three games and 12 overall which is third on the team.
Sophomore Morgan Griff had three points last weekend at Brown (2g, 1a) after scoring just four points in Penn’s first nine games.
Winkoff, who led the Ivy League in assists per game a year ago, leads Penn with 15 this season (the rest of the team has 23).
Freshman John Conneely has recorded a point in each of the last three games (2 goals, 1 assist).
Junior Justin Lynch and Joe Kelly are among the Ivy League leaders in ground balls; Lynch is second (6.50 per game) while Kelly is fourth (4.20 per game).
Lynch also boasts a .553 win percentage on face-offs (126 wins, 102 losses) which is 18th nationally; he’ll square off with Maryland’s Bryn Holmes, who is sixth nationally with a .602 win percentage.
Quoting Coach Voelker...
“We expect our guys to come out and play hard on Saturday. Maryland is a big, strong, athletic team and has physical players all over the field. We have proven we can play with the best teams in our last few games, but Saturday is another big test in that regard -- Maryland is a team that will make thepostseason, and we will need to do things the right way to be in the game with them."
"When you play the No. 1 team in the country to overtime, and then you go on the road to beat the No. 11 team, you're bound to get a boost of confidence. At the same time, we just need to go out and play we've been playing -- we need to win the faceoffs, play solid defense against a group of guys who can fill it up, and we need to take care of the ball when we have it."
"Even though we are done with the league, I think our guys are excited. Maryland is a top-level program, we're expecting great weather, and so I think it will be a pretty charged atmosphere out there Saturday afternoon."