PHILADELPHIA -The early returns are showing that this year's Ivy League men's lacrosse race could be wide open -- after just two weekends, only two teams are still undefeated, and by Saturday night that number will be down to one. With that in mind, Penn's game with Yale on Friday afternoon is critical if the 13th-ranked Quakers want to stay in the hunt for the title. With one loss already, Head Coach Mike Murphy knows that a second would severely damage Penn's championship hopes. The Quakers and No. 15 Bulldogs will face off at 4 p.m. on Franklin Field, where Penn has yet to lose a game this season (4-0).
Around the Ivy League
Several Ivies will reach the midpoint of their conference campaign this weekend, including Penn and Yale. While the Quakers and the Bulldogs begin the Ivy weekend with a Friday contest, Saturday features two more league games. Brown (0-1) and Princeton (0-2) are both looking for their first Ivy win; they will meet in New Jersey at 1 p.m. Two hours later, the only remaining unbeatens meet in Ithaca, as Cornell (2-0) hosts Dartmouth (1-0). Harvard (1-1) has the bye this weekend; the Crimson are at Albany Saturday for a 2 p.m. faceoff.
The Series with Yale
The Quakers and the Bulldogs have met 60 times in lacrosse, with Yale holding a 35-25 advantage in the series. If the last two meetings are any indication, expect a high-scoring affair on Saturday -- Yale won 16-14 last year, and 14-13 in overtime two years ago. If the last four meetings are any indication, expect a close game -- before Yale's most recent victories, Penn won 9-7 in 2008 and 10-9 in overtime in 2007.
Like Penn, the Bulldogs (5-1) have faced Cornell and Princeton in Ivy play and split. They fell to the Big Red two weeks ago, 10-8, before downing the Tigers in overtime last Saturday, 8-7. Brian Douglass is Yale's leading scorer, with 22 points (12g, 10a), while Deron Dempster has a team-high 13 goals and three assists. Gregory Mahony has 13 points (7g, 6a). In goal, Johnathan Falcone has started all six games; he has a 6.18 goals-against average and a .614 save percentage. Yale has outscored its opponents 35-14 in the first half.
*Despite a loss Saturday, the Quakers remained 13th in both this week's USILA national coaches poll and the Inside Lacrosse media poll. Penn's highest rank in the USILA poll this season was ninth, after Week 2. (Yale is tied for 15th in the USILA poll and alone in 15th in the Inside Lacrosse poll.)
*Penn's losses this year have come to teams currently ranked 4th (UNC), 7th (Cornell), and 8th (Villanova) in the USILA poll; the Quakers also boast wins over #3 Duke and #18 Bucknell.
*Penn started 3-0 for the first time since 2007, and is 4-0 at Franklin Field this season. After Friday's game, the Quakers will be home just one more time in 2011 (April 23 vs. Dartmouth).
*Penn has held two different opponents to three goals this season, Duke and Princeton. The last time the Quakers held two different teams to three or fewer goals in a single season was 2001 (3 to Bucknell, 3 to Brown).
*Prior to this season, the last time Penn held ANY opponent to three goals was the 2006 season opener, a 19-3 win over Siena.
*Penn had seven different players score its eight goals vs. the Tigers, the second time that has happened this season (also Bucknell). In the season opener, the Quakers had six different players score their seven goals against Duke.
*IN THE NATIONAL STATS (team): Penn entered the week ninth in man-up offense (47.1 success), 10th in caused turnovers per game (9.71), and 11th in scoring defense (7.43 GAA).
*IN THE NATIONAL STATS (individual): junior Will Koshansky entered the week second in caused turnovers per game (3.43) while freshman Maxx Meyer was eighth (2.00); freshman Brian Feeney was 14th in goals-against average (7.36); senior Corey Winkoff moved up to 14th in assists per game (1.71).
*After being held scoreless in Penn's first two games, Winkoff has 16 points in the last five contests. He has a team-high 12 assists.
*Winkoff -- who had three assists last Saturday at Cornell -- now has 80 assists in his career which is fourth all-time at Penn. Andy Crofton is third on the list; he had 86 from 1993-96.
*In a survey of the NCAA Division I SIDs, Winkoff's 80 career assists tie him for fifth among active players nationally, with Maryland senior Ryan Young and Canisius senior Nick LoCoco.
*Senior Al Kohart, who scored four goals last Saturday at Cornell -- all in the third quarter -- leads Penn with 14 goals and 17 points.
*Kohart has recorded at least a point in six of Penn's seven games, with two four-point outings and two three-point games.
*Junior John Conneely is third on the team with 13 points (7g, 6a), while sophomore Rob Fitzpatrick has 10 points (6g, 4a). Junior Dan Savage has five goals.
*Fitzpatrick is the only Penn player to record a point in every game this season; Conneely has a point in six straight games, while Winkoff has a point in five straight.
*Senior Will Amling scored three goals last Saturday at Cornell, making him the third Penn player to have a hat trick this season (Conneely vs. Lafayette; Kohart vs. UNC and Cornell); prior to Saturday, Amling had scored just one goal this season,against Bucknell on March 1.
*Koshansky, a long-stick middie, has four points this season (2g, 2a) and also leads Penn with 24 caused turnovers; Meyer is behind him in CTs (14), as are fellow close defensemen Brett Hughes (10) and Anthony Santomo (8).
*Freshman Danny Feeney -- Brian's twin brother -- has been Penn's primary faceoff man through the first seven games; he leads the Quakers with 30 ground balls, followed by Meyer (24) and Koshansky (22).
*In goal, Brian Feeney has played every minute. He has a 7.35 goals-against average and a .495 save percentage.
*Penn returns four players who received All-Ivy honors last year -- senior Brett Hughes was a second-team All-Ivy pick, while Winkoff, Kohart and Conneely were honorable mention.