Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Close certainly doesn’t count for Penn men’s lacrosse, which fell in the final seconds at Yale Saturday.
Down, 7-3, at the half, the Quakers staged an impressive comeback, scoring four goals to the Bulldog’s two, and turning the ball over zero times to Yale’s seven in the fourth quarter. With 5:39 left in the game, junior Tim Schwalje tied the game at nine.
But it was all for naught.
Yale’s Deron Dempster put one in the back of the net with just 12 seconds left to give the Bulldogs the win, 10-9, keeping the Quakers winless in the Ivy League.
“We knew what Yale was going to do,” lamented freshman midfield Joe McCallion. “Basically we just didn’t execute our game plan.”
Penn (1-6, 0-3 Ivy) had major problems with faceoffs, losing 17 of 23, including six in the fourth quarter. Faceoffs have been a disappointment all year, as the Quakers have won just 40 percent this season, essentially ceding possession for a significant portion of each game.
McCallion admitted that the faceoff struggles are a “main weakness.”
“Our offense didn’t do that well [Saturday],” he said.
Despite Penn’s difficulties against Yale (3-4, 1-2), junior Tim Schwalje shined with four goals on the day. Regardless of the Quakers’ lackluster record, the attack is having a career year. With 17 goals, he is tied with senior Dan Savage for most on the team, and, leads the squad with seven assists.
“Certain players put the team on their back,” said McCallion, referring to Schwalje, Savage and senior John Conneely. The trio combined for seven goals Saturday.
The Red and Blue are having their worst season since 2004-5, when they also went 1-6 in their first seven games. That year, the squad didn’t get its second victory until April 23 against Loyola, and won zero games in the Ivy League.
However, Penn does still have a shot at making the Ivy League tournament; the Quakers would have to win their next three conference games against Brown, Harvard and Dartmouth. If they do that, and win the Ivies, they will get a berth in the NCAA tournament, which remains a team objective.
“From here on out, we’ve put ourselves in a pretty big hole,” McCallion said. “We’ve really gottta focus on how we play Penn lacrosse.”
The Quakers next face Brown Saturday at Franklin Field.