Men's Lacrosse Looks to Pin Princeton

PHILADELPHIA - Coming off a win that has typified the season to date Saturday, the Penn men’s lacrosse team has little time to savor those happy feelings.

Instead, the Quakers (5-3, 3-1 Ivy) begin a week that could make or break their season, closing out Ivy play with a pair of games against ranked opponents. The first comes Tuesday night at No. 15 Princeton, in a game that faces off at 8 p.m.

Tuesday night’s game will be televised live to a national audience on CBS College Sports, formerly known as College Sports Television (CSTV).

“This is a big game for both teams,” said Penn’s sixth-year head coach Brian Voelker. “Princeton is at .500, but their losses have come to pretty good teams which makes their record a little deceiving. They have a goalie who might be the best in the country, and one of the top defenseman in the nation as well. Offensively, as usual, they have a lot of guys who can stick it in the net. So we need to be ready for a battle.”

Penn and Princeton (4-4, 1-0 Ivy) are meeting for the 76th time overall, and the 62nd year in a row. However, the Quakers would like nothing better than to erase the results of the last two decades, as the Tigers carry an 18-game win streak in this rivalry. Last year, Penn got out to a quick start, with two goals in the first four minutes, but Princeton held the dayafter thatand gained a 10-5 decision at Franklin Field.

“As I have often said, what happened in the past means nothing,” Voelker. “We cannot dwell on the past, we just need to focus on what we have to do to win Tuesday night. You cannot let what happened in the past affect how you prepare for the next game.

“All our guys know is that they have not beaten Princeton since they’ve been here,” he continued. “So their goal is to do that.”

Penn has won three of its last four, with the lone blemish coming against No. 5 Cornell. That said, the path to this point has had its rocky moments, and Saturday’s win at Dartmouth was a great example -- the Quakers led 7-1 in the second quarter, allowed the Big Green to climb all the way back to tie the game late in regulation, then needed overtime to pull out the win in Hanover.

With a Tuesday game, there is an unusually quick turnaround for the Quakers -- especially given their lengthy trip to Dartmouth. However, Voelker is quick to discount any advantage Princeton might have.

“If Princeton hadn’t played this weekend, maybe there would be an advantage,” he noted. “But they not only had a long trip of their own, going all the way up to Syracuse, but they played the No. 1 team in the country. So both teams are probably in the same boat heading into Tuesday night’s game.”

Some notes entering Tuesday’s game...

• The series between Penn (5-3, 3-1) and Princeton (4-4, 1-0) has been pretty one-sided in recent memory -- the Tigers have won 18 straight over the Quakers, including a 10-5 decision last year at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Overall, Princeton leads the series, 59-16; this will be the 62nd consecutive year the teams have met in men’s lacrosse.

• To give you a sense of how much Brian Voelker has turned this Penn program around: Whenthe Quakersdefeated Dartmouth Saturday, it guaranteed them a .500 record in Ivy League play for the third straight season and the fourth time in five years. The last time Penn finished .500 or better in the conference three straight years was at the end of a seven-year run, from 1983-89. (compare that to the period from 1990-2003, when the Quakers finished .500 or better only four times total)

• Penn’s win at Dartmouth marked the first time the Big Green had lost at home this season; they had entered the contest 3-0 in Hanover.

• Penn is 2-0 in Ivy League road games this season, winning at Yale and Dartmouth.

• When junior Garvey Heiderman scored in overtime at Dartmouth Saturday, it actually marked the second time he has ended a game in OT during his collegeiate career; he also won Penn’s game vs. Yale last season.

• Heiderman’s OT goal was his first in more than 210 minutes of game action -- or 3.5 full games -- since he scored in the first half at Yale on March 15.

• Two Penn freshmen, attack Corey Winkoff and midfielder Al Kohart, have both earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice this season; last Monday was the first team the award was given, and neither Winkoff nor Kohart won it.

• Junior attack Craig Andrzejewski had three goals Saturday, allowing him to extend his point-scoring streak to 25 games, dating back to April 15, 2006; it is tied for the 13th-longest streak in the country. During the streak, he has been held to one point only two times.

• Kohart and Winkoff are the only other Penn players to record a point in every game this season.

• Andrzejewski leads Penn with 18 goals and 30 points on the season; his points-per-game (3.75) and assists-per-game (1.50) averages are second in the Ivy League, and his goals-per-game average (2.25) is second among Ivy players.

• Only a junior, Andrzejewski already has 96 career points and needs just four more to reach 100 for his collegiate career. The last Penn player to reach 100 points? Craig’s older brother D.J. Andrzejewski, who scored exactly 100 from 2003-06.

• Winkoff tops the Quakers and the Ivy League with 17 assists, a 2.13 average; he has 12 in four Ivy games (3.00 average).

• Winkoff is also third in the Ivy League in points per game (3.13).

• Junior attack Alex Weber is fourth in the Ivy League with 2.00 goals per game; after being held without a point in Penn’s Ivy opener, Weber has responded with nine goals in the last three games (4 vs. Harvard, 2 vs. Cornell, 3 at Dartmouth).

• NATIONALLY SPEAKING...
- Andrzejewski is 15th in points per game, tied for 20th in goals per game, and 21st in assists per game.
- Winkoff is sixth in assists per game and 25th in points per game.
- Weber is tied for 33rd in goals per game.
- Sophomore face-off man Justin Lynch is 14th nationally with a .582 win percentage, and 18th in ground balls per game (4.88) .

• Weber (16) and freshman Al Kohart (12) join Andrzejewski in reaching double figures in goals already this season.

• Playing behind a young defense -- veteran senior Max Mauro works with sophomores Tommy Dodge, Brett Hughes and Joe Kelly -- sophomore goalkeeper Chris Casey boasts a .482 save percentage and a 9.40 goals-against average.

• The face-off unit is anchored by Lynch on the X, with Kelly (26 ground balls) and junior Brian Weiss (24 GBs) coming in from the wings.

• Princeton is coming off a loss at No. 1 Syracuse over the weekend, but prior to that the Tigers opened the Ivy League season with an 11-8 win over Yale. In that game, Princeton goalie Alex Hewit made 17 saves.

• As usual, Princeton’s 4-4 record is deceiving -- the four losses have come to Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Albany and Syracuse.

• The Tigers have four players who have reached double figures in points so far this season, led by Tommy Davis with 22 (14g, 8a). Mark Kovler leads Princeton with 15 goals and also has two assists. The other two double-digit scorers are Bob Schneider (9g, 2a) and Jack McBride (9g, 2a). Scott MacKenzie has nine points (3g, 6a).

• Princeton is 4-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming to No. 3 Virginia, 12-10.