After losing a little face in a 12-8 loss at Duke on Friday, coach Mike Murphy and the Penn men’s lacrosse team is looking to rebound and concentrating on faceoffs to do so.
Winning the battle for the ball will prove crucial when the No. 19 Quakers (0-1) welcome Lehigh (2-1) to Franklin Field Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“The big thing for us is going to be, do we improve facing off?” Murphy said. “That was a huge disparity in the Duke game.”
The Quakers lost the faceoff battle against the Blue Devils Friday night, 18-6.
Winning more faceoffs means more possessions, which means more chances for seniors John Conneely and Dan Savage — both of whom recorded hat tricks against the Blue Devils — to lay the smack down.
Indeed, the offense was hot against Duke.
Not so much.
Both Murphy and Conneely pointed to improved team defense as necessary for success against the Mountain Hawks, who defeated Manhattan, 13-0, in their last contest.
“Usually, the double-digit mark is indicative of the winning team,” Murphy claimed.
The Mountain Hawks have shown themselves capable of reaching that checkpoint. The Quakers have not.
Lehigh isn’t just explosive on offense, they run deep.
Along with four players who have scored at least four goals already, the Mountain Hawks boast a pair of 6-foot, nearly 200-pound twin brothers.
Seniors Cameron and Roman Lao-Gosney, who are both philosophy majors, have combined for six points so far this season.
“They’re dangerous. They have two twin brothers who are dynamic athletes,” Murphy said.
With that kind of onslaught, the Penn defense will need to operate with a surgeon’s precision.
That means doing “the little things,” as Conneely called them.
The Quakers have just begun the young season, and there’s still plenty of time to make adjustments and iron out the kinks.
History portends well for the Red and Blue, as they have won 26 of their 39 previous meetings with the Mountain Hawks.
No matter the outcome, the game will help provide more insight into the long and winding path that is the Division I men’s lacrosse season.
Murphy and the Quakers hope to gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses when they face Lehigh.
Just ask the coach.
“One of the values of playing this kind of schedule is we find out a little bit about ourselves.”