PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s lacrosse team, which is coming off a 1-1 weekend at the Pioneer Faceoff Classic hosted by the University of Denver, opens its Ivy League season Saturday afternoon when it travels to New Haven to take on Yale. Faceoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Reese Field.
Last weekend, the Quakers pulled out a 13-10 win over Air Force, and then a day later looked like it might gain a win over host Denver. Instead, the Pioneers overcame a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter and emerged with a 12-11 win in overtime.
“This game is huge for us,” said head coach Brian Voelker. “It opens the Ivy season, and is the first step towards winning the league title. Yale is a tough team, and we are going to have to play a great game to beat them. We have been a little up and down, and need to play a full game to get the win.”
“Yale’s faceoff man and goalie are playing very well,” he continued. “Casertano and Gibson are one of the best attack combinations in the league. This is a huge game for both teams, and I expect it to be a battle.”
While Penn is 2-2 on the season, the Quakers could easily be 4-0 -- in addition to last weekend’s heartbreaker at Denver, they opened the season with a 9-8 loss to Drexel in a game they led by three goals entering the fourth quarter. Voelker, however, chooses to look forward and not dwell on what-might-have-beens. He also understands that the road toward a possible Ivy title starts here.
“We just need to go out and focus on Yale,” said Voelker. “The games we played last weekend are behind us, and we are putting all our effort into winning our first Ivy League game.”
Some notes entering Saturday’s game...
Penn has won two in a row in this series, including last year’s 10-9, double-overtime decision at Franklin Field. The last time the Quakers and Bulldogs met in New Haven, Penn pulled out an 11-7 victory. Overall, Yale leads the series, 44-25.
In last year’s OT game, Craig Andrzejewski led the way for Penn with two goals and three assists for five points, while Garvey Heiderman’s second goal of the day was the winner.
Penn swept the Ivy League weekly awards on Monday, as Andrzejewski was the Player of the Week while Corey Winkoff was the Rookie of the Week.
Andrzejewski earned his honor with 11 points at the Pioneer Faceoff Classic last weekend, including six in the Quakers’ win over Air Force.
Winkoff had nine points last weekend in Denver to earn his award.
Penn has swept the Ivy Rookie of the Week honor this season, as Al Kohart was the initial recipient this season.
Four Penn players earned all-tournament at the Faceoff Classic: Andrzejewski, Heiderman, Tommy Dodge and sophomore goalkeeper Chris Casey.
Andrzejewski leads Penn with 10 assists and 17 points, and he is tied for team-high honors with seven goals along with Winkoff and junior Alex Weber.
Casey has a .479 save percentage and a 9.22 goals-against average so far this season, and has played every minute in the cage for the Quakers.
Yale enters Saturday’s game with a 1-2 mark, losing last weekend at UMBC, 11-9. Tyler Casertano had a four-point game for the Bulldogs (3g, 1a), while Brendan Gibson and Jonathan Koenig had two goals each.