PHILADELPHIA - With seven minutes left in Wednesday afternoon's men's lacrosse game between Penn and Lehigh, it looked like the Quakers were going to walk out of Franklin Field with a relatively harmless victory.
The Mountain Hawks had other ideas, but were unable to get all the way back. Penn Head Coach Brian Voelker was visibly breathing a sigh of relief when the final horn sounded, stamping the Quakers' 13-12 victory.
The win pushed Penn to 2-0 on the young season, while Lehigh fell to 1-2.
Penn actually threatened to pull away on a pair of occasions Wednesday, going up by five goals in the second quarter and again by four in the fourth quarter. Both times, Lehigh drew within one but could not get the equalizer.
Craig Andrzejewski was the star of a Penn attack that was on fire for the game's first 50 minutes. The sophomore attacker scored four goals and dished out five assists for nine points, a career high. Senior David Cornbrooks matched him in the goal category, and sophomore Casey O'Rourke added three goals and two assists for a five-point game.
The first goal came seven minutes into the game, when O'Rourke hit an unassisted effort, before Lehigh's Ricky Cornetta evened things up. Cornbrooks and Lehigh's Michael Zurfluh matched goals, before Penn scored twice in a span of 1:05 and Andrzejewski found the twine and then found Cornbrooks for the Quakers' fourth goal.
Lehigh got one back when Frederick Casilly scored, but Andrzejewski capped the high-scoring quarter with a rocket that beat Mountain Hawks goalie Eric Spirko with one second left. After one period, Penn led 5-3.
Cornbrooks kept the heat going, scoring twice in the first three minutes of the second quarter, and then Andrzejewski finished a nice Alex Salihi feed to push Penn's lead to 8-3. However, Lehigh scored twice within a 16-second span with 10 minutes left in the half, drained another goal just a minute later, and then drew within 8-7 when Jeff Wiener scored with 5:11 to play in the half. Andrzejewski put the lead back to two, but Zurfluh scored with -- you guessed it -- one second left before the break to send the teams into the lockers rooms in a one-goal game, 9-8.
Things settled down considerably in the second half. O'Rourke scored a pair of unassisted goals nearly five minutes apart, giving the Quakers a 10-7 lead with seven minutes left, but Lehigh again used last-second dramatics to get one of them back -- this time, Zurfluh rocketed a shot past Gregory Klossner with two ticks of the clock remaining.
Salihi got open for an easy score with 12:33 to play, and then Drew Collins fired a shot over Spirko's head that snuck under the crossbar with 10:21 left. That gave Penn a 13-9 lead, and it held up for nearly four minutes until David Gaunt scored off a Stephen Marino feed with 6:54 to play.
Lehigh came to life with the Gaunt goal, as Marino netted his second of the day just 1:25 later to make the score 13-11. With just over three minutes left, Gaunt scored again to make it a one-goal game and force Voelker to sweat.
The closest Lehigh came to scoring after that was with 1:26 left, when Zurfluh beat his man and got in alone on Klossner from a low angle. Klossner -- who finished with eight saves -- was equal to the challenge, however, and Penn was able to stave off any other Mountain Hawk efforts after that.
Penn is on the road for its next three games, as the University heads to spring break this weekend. The Quakers will be at Robert Morris Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by a trip to Bucknell next Tuesday (4 p.m.) and then a game at UMBC on Saturday, March 10 (1 p.m.).