Close just will not cut it this weekend.
Both the Penn and Brown men’s lacrosse teams have had their fair share of one-goal losses, but as these teams face each other Saturday night at Franklin Field, it will be the team that can take control early on and maintain the lead that will get the win.
“We’re both in a similar position right now,” Penn coach Mike Murphy said. “The biggest difference maker going into it is going to be energy level — how hard we can play, and tactical in terms of the zone defense or certain personnel that we have to stop.”
The Quakers (1-6, 0-3 Ivy) will need to play the entire 60 minutes, especially after last week’s last-minute loss to Yale. A loss to Brown (3-6, 0-2) would most likely take them out of the running of the four-team Ivy League playoffs.
“The biggest thing we have to focus on is playing four straight quarters,” senior captain Will Koshansky said. “In some of the past games we’ve played, maybe we played three good quarters, but we haven’t really put together a solid game since North Carolina. That’s the big focus this week.”
As these two similar teams battle this weekend, they will have to look beyond the records. Both Penn and Brown have taken on several ranked teams. The matchup will be a product of what they’ve learned from those games rather than the records themselves.
“We know we have a very formidable opponent,” Brown coach Lars Tiffany said. “Penn is outstanding both at the offensive end, with the weapons they have and a really strong core, and defense, especially with Will Koshansky and Maxx Meyer, who are so aggressive and can create turnovers.”
The Bears have won three of the last four match-ups against the Red and Blue, including a one-point win, 13-12, last season.
“Hopefully it’s not a one-goal game. Hopefully we play well throughout, and we’re in good position going into the fourth quarter and win going away,” Murphy said. “But I don’t think Brown is going to give up. So there’s a pretty good chance it’s a one-goal game like last year.”
As the Quakers are working on putting the game away early, the Bears are also working on putting together an assertive offensive attack.
“Penn’s defense is sound. They force turnovers at times, and it’s going to be a defense that we have to attack aggressively,” Tiffany said. “We really believe that the defense [Penn] puts on the field works really well together and is well-coached. They’re able to sort of take away opponents.”
It will likely be the highest pressure the Quakers have faced this year: virtually a do-or-die situation at home against a formidable Ivy opponent.
“It’s an Ivy League game, so those are the big ones for us,” Murphy said. “We have three left so we have to take care of this one.”