Penn men’s lacrosse had an up-and-down season in 2015, failing to defend the Ivy League Tournament Championship it had earned the year prior.
The Red and Blue entered the campaign ranked 13th in the country but only retained the spot for a single week, dropping to No. 14 despite opening the year with a 10-8 win over UMBC.
An overtime win over Saint Joseph’s followed, but losses to No. 11 Maryland and Penn State resulted in the squad dropping out of the rankings. They wouldn’t find their way back into the top 25 for the rest of the year.
Those two losses kickstarted a midseason skid for the Quakers, as they lost six of seven including their first three Ivy League games. In the midst of that run, the most heartbreaking loss came in a triple-overtime thriller that saw No. 7 Cornell pull out a 10-9 victory.
This seven-game stretch consisted of a run of tough opponents for Penn, with losses to four straight ranked opponents before ending the slide against No. 10 Brown, 14-11.
The Red and Blue bounced back to win their final three league games and finished 3-3 in Ancient Eight play, tying with Yale for fourth place as three teams tied for first at 4-2.
But having lost the head-to-head matchup with Yale, the Quakers were denied an opportunity to participate in the four-team Ivy tournament and defend their title. Penn finished its season with a loss to national powerhouse Virginia, making the Quakers’ final record 6-7 on the year.
The team received large contributions from its upperclassmen. Then-junior Nick Doktor (21 goals, 36 assists) and then-senior Joe McCallion (22 goals, 12 assists) were the team’s top two scorers by far, and Isaac Bock chipped in with the team’s fifth-highest point total (18) in his final season at Penn. John Lopes didn’t start any games in goal, but the 2015 graduate appeared in 10 of the team’s 13 contests. Matt McMahon finished his NCAA career strong, leading the Ivy League in turnovers caused per game with 2.15.
McMahon earned first team All-Ivy honors, while Doktor earned second team recognition and McCallion garnered honorable mention.
Penn also got help from its first-year players. Freshmen Kevin McGeary and Reilly Hupfeldt were third and fourth on the team in scoring — with 21 and 20 goals, respectively — and Chris Santangelo was solid on faceoffs, winning 51 percent of his draws.
The Red and Blue struggled early, often. Penn was outscored 43-30 in the first quarter of its games. However, the Quakers did tend to come alive late, outscoring its opponents 41-30 in the final period.
For Penn, the key was getting shots on goal. The Quakers outshot their opponents in all but two of their wins, but were outshot in all but one of their losses.
If nothing else, 2015 offers the Red and Blue a reason to come into 2016 with a vengeance.
And that’s hopefully what they’ll bring when they take on Michigan on Saturday.
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