Penn men’s lacrosse has made history.
Sunday, the Quakers used a streak of seven unanswered goals to take down Harvard on its own turf, 7-5, and claim the program’s first Ivy League Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
The afternoon did not get off to a good start for the Red and Blue (11-3, 5-2 Ivy), which allowed the Crimson (10-6, 5-2) to score four goals in a seven minute, 14 second span in the first quarter.
But after Devin Dwyer put the Crimson up 4-0 with 4:39 to go in the period, Penn got mad.
Just 12 seconds after Dwyer’s tally, freshman attack Kevin Brown slotted one home to put the Red and Blue on the scoreboard for the first time. A little more than 30 seconds later, senior midfield Zack Losco added a tally of his own with the man advantage to halve the deficit heading into the second quarter.
Though Penn tied the score at four after Losco’s second power play goal of the game, the real story throughout the middle stages of the game was the Quakers’ defensive effort.
Senior goalkeeper Brian Feeney — who held the Crimson to seven goals when the two teams first met back on April 12, an 8-7 Penn victory in overtime — stepped up his game to a new level, holding Harvard scoreless for an incredible 44 minute, 58 second span after Dwyer’s goal.
Feeney made 12 saves on the afternoon, and he received plenty of help from his defenders — the Red and Blue gave Harvard only one power play opportunity all day.
But Harvard’s defense stiffened as well, and Penn went through 21 minutes and 19 seconds of its own without scoring a goal. But after sophomore attack Nick Doktor snapped a 4-4 tie with 13:48 to go, the floodgates opened.
Senior defense Reid Tudor scored, and Losco completed the hat trick, making the rest of the afternoon academic.
With the win, the Quakers — which have the No. 3 RPI in the country — are sitting in prime position heading into the NCAA Tournament. There is a strong chance that the Penn would receive the #3 overall seed, which would equal a first round home game and an easier path to the Baltimore-hosted Final Four.
The Red and Blue were also part of another bit of Penn Athletics history. The Penn women’s lacrosse team handled Princeton, 9-6, making this the first season in which both teams have won the Ivy Tournament.
Penn will know its fate later Sunday night, when the NCAA Tournament field is formally announced on ESPNU at 9:00 eastern time.
It’s a waiting game that the Red and Blue are more than happy to play.