PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s lacrosse team opens up the Ivy League portion of its 2016 season this Saturday, making the short trip up to Princeton to face the Tigers at Class of 1952 Stadium. Faceoff between these two longtime rivals is 1 p.m.
GAME 6 – PENN (3-2, 0-0 Ivy League) at PRINCETON (2-3, 0-0)
Saturday, March 19, 2016 * 1 p.m.
Class of 1952 Stadium (Princeton, N.J.)
Around the Ivy League
Ivy League play opens on Saturday, with six of the seven teams hitting conference play for the first time and all of them starting at 1 p.m. In addition to Penn at Princeton, Yale is at Cornell and Brown is at Harvard. Dartmouth has the bye this weekend, and will play at Michigan on Saturday at 1 before opening league play next weekend. Yale is fourth in this week’s USILA national coaches poll, while Brown is fifth and Harvard is 14th; Cornell and Penn are receiving votes.
The Series with Princeton
The Tigers have dominated this series overall, 66-18, thanks in great part to wins in 24 of the last 26 meetings. (The Penn wins came on Franklin Field in 2011 and 2013.) Princeton won last year’s meeting in Philadelphia, 17-11, and took a 15-12 decision two years ago in New Jersey. The Quakers’ last win at Princeton came all the way back in 1988.
The Tigers defeated Rutgers on Monday, snapping a three-game losing streak to #12 Hofstra (in OT), #8 Johns Hopkins and #7 Maryland. Ryan Ambler -- who had eight points in Princeton's win at Penn last year (5g, 3a) -- leads Princeton in goals (9), assists (11) and points (20), while Riley Thompson has 12 points (7g, 5a). Zach Currier, a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago, has six goals and five assists. Overall, the Tigers have had 15 different goal scorers already this season. At the other end, Tyler Blaisdell has started every game in goal and has a .481 save percentage.
*As a team, Penn is second nationally in saves per game (14.80); the Quakers’ man-down defense is seventh nationally with a .778 success rate.
*Freshman goalkeeper Reed Junkin is third nationally in saves per game (14.40) and seventh in save percentage (.585).
*Senior attackman Nick Doktor is fourth nationally in assists per game (2.80) and 14th in points per game (4.20).
*Freshman middie Alex Roesner is seventh nationally in man-up goals (4).
*Doktor -- who was among 50 men named to the Tewaaraton Award Preseason Watch List, which came out on February 23 -- leads the Quakers with 21 points (7g, 14a) and has 12 points in the last two games (7 vs. Lafayette, 5 at Villanova).
*Doktor is seventh on Penn’s all-time assist list with 73; he needs one to catch Kenneth Kirtz (1953-56) in sixth, and four to catch Jon Cusson (1994-97) in fifth.
*Doktor also has 136 career points, which puts him 10th on Penn’s all-time list in that category; he needs five to catch Craig Andrzejewski (2006-09) in ninth.
*Doktor’s point-scoring streak is up to 32 games dating back to the 2014 season; the streak is the seventh-longest in the nation.
*Though only playing five games so far, Penn already has 11 different goal-scorers this season; in fact, the Quakers have had at least five different goal scorers in all five games so far.
*Six different players have scored at least six goals each, led by sophomore Reilly Hupfeldt who has a team-high 1 after scoring three against Penn State and Villanova and two more against Lafayette. Doktor has seven goals, as does freshman Alex Roesner.
*After not scoring in Penn’s first three games, junior Kevin Brown exploded for four last week against Lafayette (with three of them coming in the opening half).
*Sophomores Kevin McGeary and Connor Keating, and freshman Simon Mathias, have six goals each this season.
*Doktor, Roesner, Hupfeldt, Mathias and Keating all have scored at least a point in every game so far this season.
*Keating is one of just two long-stick players in the country to have a point in every game this season; the other is also in the Ivy League, Brown junior Larken Kemp.
*That said, Keating has Kemp beaten in the points category, 10-8, and is the highest-scoring long pole in the country.
*Freshman defenseman Noah Lejman was No. 16 on the Inside Lacrosse early-season freshman rankings, posted last Thursday; the catch to the IL list is that Nos. 1-10 have not been announced.
*Inside Lacrosse named five of Penn’s freshmen among its Power 100 Freshmen of 2016 including three in the Top 20 and four in the Top 40: Noah Lejman (7th); Tyler Dunn (13th); Alex Roesner (17th); Simon Mathias (39th); and Joe Licciardi (72nd).
*That said, arguably the most ballyhooed freshman so far has been Junkin -- he has already been Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice this season, on Feb. 22 and this week. In between, he had 16 saves at Virginia and matched that Tuesday against Lafayette (while allowing just four goals for a staggering .800 save percentage).
Red (White) and Blue
Three newcomers to the Penn roster will spend the summer with the United States team at the Under-19 World Cup in Canada -- Tyler Dunn, Alex Roesner and Noah Lejman.