MLax Heads to Villanova for Season Opener

The Penn men’s lacrosse team will travel across the city to meet Villanova on Saturday, March 5, 2005. It is the first game of the 2005 season for the Quakers, while the Wildcats have already recorded a 1-1 mark.

Nationally Ranked
Penn will begin the 2005 season ranked No. 17 in the nation by Inside Lacrosse.com, is No. 18 in the laxpower.com national poll and No. 20 for Lacrosse Magazine. The Quakers finished the 2004 season ranked No. 15 by Inside Lacrosse.

The Last Time
Midfielder P.J. Gilbert's first collegiate goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to lifted No. 20 Penn to a 6-5 victory over visiting-Villanova at Franklin Field in the Quakers' 2004 home opener.

A Happy Home
The Quakers have won their last four home openers at Franklin Field, including last season’s 6-5 victory over Villanova. This year, the Red and Blue will host Yale on March 19 in an Ivy League doubleheader with the women.

The Coaches
Penn’s Brian Voelker will head to the field for his third season at the helm of the Quakers in 2005. Voelker has a 13-14 mark in two seasons at Penn, and led the 2004 squad to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 15 years. Villanova’s Randy Marks is in his 23rd season with the Wildcats. Last season, Marks led Villanova to a program-best 12-3 record and an appearance in the CAA championship game.

What Happened in 2004
Behind the hot stick of senior Will Phillips and a stellar defense anchored by Ryan Kelly and Patrick Connelly, the Quakers stood their ground and earned national respect with a 7-6 regular season record. Penn earned five All-Ivy League selections and two NCAA All-American honorable mentions by the end of the season. Going undefeated at home and besting a number of nationally ranked teams along the way, Penn earned its first bid to the NCAA tournament in 15 years, where it fell to Final Four participant Navy, 11-5.

Click here for 2004 Cumulative Stats

On The Road, Again
After opening the 2005 season on the road against Villanova, the Quakers continue their four-game road trip to open the new lacrosse campaign with a trek to Colorado to meet Air Force and Denver on March 10 and 13, respectively.

On the Field
Despite the loss of last year’s leading scorer Will Phillips and All-American goalie Ryan Kelly, the Quakers return 20 letterwinners to the field this season, including All-Ivy honoree junior D.J. Andrzejewski. Andrzejewski recorded 11 goals and 13 assists last season, which was good for second on the team.

The Captains
Junior D.J. Andrzejewski and seniors Zandy Reich and Brian Amen will serve as the tri-captains in 2005. All three served as starters for the 2004 squad that went 7-7 overall and earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1989.

Ivy League Elite
Five of the Ivy League’s seven institutions that sponsor men’s lacrosse were nationally ranked to begin the 2005 season. Princeton, Cornell, Penn, Brown and Dartmouth were all on the Inside Lacrosse Coaches’ top 20 list. Last season, Princeton, Cornell and Penn represented the Ancient Eight in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

Scouting Villanova
The Wildcats host the Quakers with a 1-1 mark after dropping their season-opener to Colgate, 8-6, and defeating Binghamton, 5-2. Brendan O’Donnell had two goals and an assist, while goalkeeper Joe Canuso made seven of his 16 total saves in the fourth quarter. Canuso went on to be named CAA Player of the Week.

Voelker on Villanova/Season Opener
“With our strength of schedule, we will take it one game at a time this season. If we win a game, or lose a game, we have to put that behind us each time. Villanova is a very good team - good defensively the last two years. Our last two games against them have been one-goal games and we are expecting it to be another dog fight this weekend. They have already played two games this season, so in someways we are at a disadvantage because it’s our first game, but they haven't seen us play yet, which may be an advantage. We feel like we know them now as a team. With the proximity of the schools, the contest has definitely become a rivalry. Both games I have been in were down to the wire, hard-hitting, exciting games. We are opening up with a team that our team respects and hopefully we will be prepared to play them.”

Philadelphia Welcomes NCAA Lacrosse
The University of Pennsylvania will serve as the host institution for the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships at Lincoln Financial Field. For tournament information and to order tickets, log on to:
www.faceoffphiladelphia.com.

Download: villanova.pdf