Somehow, the Penn men’s lacrosse team is still alive.
Despite sitting in last place in the Ivy League without an Ancient Eight win, the Quakers still have a chance to make the four-team Ivy playoffs.
Not only does Penn (1-8, 0-4 Ivy) need help, but the Red and Blue will need to play near-perfectly Saturday against Harvard (6-5, 2-1) in the seniors’ final game at home.
“[The NCAA tournament] is still mathematically possible. It’s not as far-fetched as it could be,” coach Mike Murphy said. “More immediately, we just want to play that one good game … have the seniors’ last game on Franklin Field be a success.”
Since a 10-6 win over then-No. 8 North Carolina on March 6, Penn has dropped six consecutive games, including four straight Ivy losses.
The Red and Blue lost two Ivy games in the final seconds to Yale and Brown the past two weeks. In their last game against Bucknell on Tuesday, Penn got out to a slow start and fell, 8-3.
The Quakers are last in the league in goals per game with 7.33 and give up an average of 10.22.
To limit Harvard’s potent offense, which scores 11 goals per game, Penn will need to limit the touches of Harvard senior attack Jeff Cohen.
Cohen averages 3.73 goals per game, good for first in the Ivy League and second in the country. Sophomore midfield Daniel Eipp is third with two per contest.
While the statistics are stacked against them, the Quakers know they can compete with anyone — if they play together for a full 60 minutes.
“I hope as a team we can accomplish having success in all phases of the game,” Brian Feeney said. “It’s something we haven’t done all year.”
“We are a good team. We don’t want to throw everything out,” Murphy echoed. “The problem is we’ve never had all the elements together at the same time. If we could play offense the way we did against Brown, and play defense the way we did against Bucknell, we might be successful.”
Harvard, meanwhile, is coming off an 18-4 demolition of Quinnipiac. Freshman attack Will Walker scored four goals, while Cohen, Eipp and freshman midfield Sean Mahon added two goals each.
For the seven seniors on the Penn team, it will be their last chance to get a win at Franklin Field — and the entire team is making sure they leave with a victory.
“We’re a good team,” Feeney said. “We haven’t played to our potential. Our record really doesn’t reflect how good a team we are … [the young guys especially] want to win this for the seniors.”
Evan Spiller contributed to the reporting of this article.
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