Penn men's laxers looking to reverse old trends against favored Tigers
Penn has only won against Princeton one time since the 1990 season
March 14, 2013, 9:03 pm·
Jing Ran | DP
There’s an old Mark Twain quote that goes: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
Imagine what he’d have to say about the Penn men’s lacrosse team’s recent history against Princeton.
Though the record shows that the No. 14 Quakers (4-1) have only beaten the No. 7 Tigers (4-1) once since 1990, in reality, the gap between the two teams has never been closer than it will be when they face off at Franklin Field this Saturday.
After struggling last season, the start to the 2013 campaign has been a revelation for Penn, who has already beaten two ranked foes en route to the team’s best start since a 6-0 run to open the 2006 season.
Many players have given credit to the offensive philosophy of new assistant coach Judd Lattimore, who has emphasized getting up and down the field in a hurry for quick scores.
“We move very fast,” freshman attack Nick Doktor said. “It makes it a lot more difficult for defenses to keep up with us, keep track of all the guys, we’ve got a lot of weapons.
“And any given day, any guy can go for three goals.”
Doktor himself is living proof of that statement, going off for three goals last Saturday during the Quakers’ 13-9 victory against Villanova in what was only his fifth collegiate game.
The Quakers have distributed the scoring load exceptionally well so far. Five different players have scored at least six goals for the Red and Blue this season, with senior captain Tim Schwalje leading the way with nine tallies.
Right behind Schawlje is sophomore attack Isaac Bock, who has come seemingly out of nowhere this season after scoring only one goal during his entire freshman season.
Bock has scored eight times this year, including a four goal outburst against Duke and a hat trick against Villanova.
Despite his recent success, though, Bock has remained humble, attributing his success to the
team’s new offense.
“We’re playing more guys on offense,” Bock said. “We’ve run three lines pretty consistently in all of the games and last year we didn’t do that as much … the coaches trust at least nine of us to play.”
Though Penn’s offense has been much-ballyhooed, the Tigers boast plenty of firepower of their own. Three different Princeton players have notched at least 11 goals as part of a methodical, platoon attack that wears its foes down.
The Quakers know that it will be tough to slow down an offense with as much depth as Princeton’s.
“We’re not gonna shut them down,” coach Mike Murphy said. “They’re a very good offense and we’re not gonna try to shut them out or keep them from scoring every single time.
“We just have to manage what they get, try to minimize their high-percentage shots and give them some more outside stuff and things like that.”
In 2011, the last time these two squads met at Franklin Field, the then-No. 18 Quakers were able to pull the upset over the then-No. 11 Tigers, 8-3.
The memory of that victory has not been lost on the Quakers.
“We’re a different team than we were then,” Murphy said. “But I think the lessons are not that different in that we want to be ourselves and come in here with an intent to win the game.”