In the 10 days since Penn students have been out of class, Penn men’s lacrosse has faced the grueling challenge of three road games against top-notch opponents.
The Quakers performed admirably, bouncing back from a loss against No. 7 Denver by beating No. 17 Lehigh and Villanova to bring their record to 4-1 after the break.
For the first game of the break, the Red and Blue traveled to Denver to face off against the Pioneers.
The game was fast-paced from the onset. Each team scored five goals in the opening quarter.
Denver (5-1) pulled away in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Quakers, 8-3, in those two periods. Penn (4-1) tried to come back in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late. The Red and Blue ended up losing, 15-12.
Despite the loss, Penn outshot the Pioneers, 46-34, and won 17 faceoffs to Denver’s 14. Senior attack Tim Schwalje and junior midfielder Zack Losco both scored hat tricks for the Quakers.
The game against Lehigh was a different story. In a defensive showdown at Ulrich Sports Complex in Bethlehem, Pa., Penn took advantage of its defensive strength to hold the Mountain Hawks to just four goals in a 6-4 win.
After a poor performance against Denver — only six saves and 15 goals allowed — junior goalkeeper Brian Feeney was stellar against Lehigh. He notched 17 saves while allowing just four goals.
Additionally, each of the Quakers’ six goals came from a different Penn player.
In their final game of spring break this Saturday, the Red and Blue took on Villanova at PPL Park in Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic.
After falling behind, 5-3, in the first quarter, the Quakers bounced back in the second quarter to tie the game at 7 going into halftime.
In the second half, Penn pulled away, winning, 13-9. The Quakers dominated Villanova in all aspects of the game. They outshot the Wildcats, 46-35, won 17 of 25 faceoffs and had five fewer turnovers.
Penn owed its victory to hat tricks from three players: Losco, freshman attack Nick Doktor and sophomore attack Isaac Bock.
The Quakers’ strong spring break performance should give them confidence heading into Ivy play.
If they are able to build upon this momentum down the stretch, the NCAA Tournament may await the Red and Blue for just the second time in the last seven seasons.