The Quakers took the end of the season by storm — literally.
On Friday, No. 10 Penn men’s lacrosse finished off its regular season at the Katie Samson Lacrosse Festival by defeating St. John’s in Radnor, Pa., in the first meeting ever between the two squads. The festival is held annually to raise money for spinal chord injury research, and has raised over $1.5 million since it was first held in 2000.
Penn was quick to ensure it would finish the regular season on a high note, breaking the game open in the first half. Sophomore Nick Doktor opened up the scoring just over one minute in.
Doktor eventually completed a hat trick and added three assists, finishing the regular season with a team-high 32 points.
The Red Storm equalized soon after Doktor’s first goal, but the Quakers responded by rattling off three straight goals to finish the opening quarter. The Red and Blue continued the offensive onslaught, outscoring St. John’s 6-2 in the second quarter to go up 10-4 by halftime.
“We went up 6-2 and they called time-out, and I just said to our team, we’ve been in this position before and almost every time we let teams back in it,” coach Mike Murphy said. “So let’s put a firm gap here and win the next five, 10 minutes and sure enough we did that.”
The two teams fought evenly throughout the last 30 minutes, and Penn was able to ride out the time for a 17-10 win.
“I thought that was significant progress for us too,” Murphy said. “The fact that we could create a lead, extend the lead and sustain that throughout the second half was something we hadn’t really done before.”
While the 17 goals marked the Red and Blue’s largest offensive output since 2006 when they took down Robert Morris, 18-4. They also allowed more goals than they have since they gave up 17 to Cornell back in March — the team’s most recent loss.
The Quakers will need to shore up any defensive holes that were present on Friday in the immediate future. On Sunday, Penn learned that it will face Cornell again in the Ivy League Tournament semifinals this coming Friday in Cambridge, Mass.
“They’ve dominated the Ivy League for years,” said senior Zack Losco, who also notched a hat trick on Friday. “But we have a six-game win streak, so we just need to focus on what we’ve been doing ... and hopefully that’ll get the job done.”
Indeed, Cornell hasn’t lost to Penn in the regular season since 2006, but the Big Red have shown some weakness since playing the Quakers earlier in the year, losing three of their last five games . Cornell has also sunk down to No. 11 in the coaches rankings, one spot behind Penn.
With the victory on Friday, the Quakers have tied their longest win streak since the beginning of the 2006 season.
And perhaps going into Friday with that momentum will help the Quakers overcome an Ivy rival that’s foiled them consistently in recent years.
“Every game could potentially be my last,” Losco said. “That do or die mentality has really trickled down to every member on the team.”