That’s the only word needed to describe the Penn men’s lacrosse team’s 11-10 overtime loss to the top team in the nation, Ivy rival Yale.
The Quakers (5-4, 2-1 Ivy) got off to a great start against the No. 1 Bulldogs (8-0, 3-0 Ivy), taking a 7-4 lead into halftime before scoring two more goals in the third quarter to bring the score to 9-4 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But the Bulldogs comeback began with a stroke of luck two minutes later, as a Quaker defenseman broke his stick, allowing Yale’s Michael Keasey to score his second goal of the game. After conceding a goal off an odd-man rush a minute later to make the score 9-6, the Red and Blue relinquished momentum to the Bulldogs, allowing them to score three more goals in the fourth quarter to bring the score to a tie at 9-9.
Penn would gain the lead one more time, however, as sophomore Reilly Hupfeldt put the Quakers up 10-9 for his 15th goal of the year off a feed from senior captain Nick Doktor. But the lead would not last, as Keasey would pick an opportune time to get his fourth goal of the day, scoring Yale’s first extra-man opportunity goal off of a pushing penalty with just 17 seconds left in the game.
Three minutes into overtime, Yale’s Ben Reeves would score his 21st goal of the season and first of the day to send the Quakers back to Philadelphia with a painful loss.
Senior captain Nick Doktor finished with five points on the day (two goals, three assists) while freshman Simon Mathias finished the game with a hat trick. Penn dramatically improved its faceoff game from previous games in dominant fashion, winning 18 of 25 for its highest percentage of the season.
Freshman goalie Reed Junkin finished with eight saves.
“I think our issue today was that we were looking at the scoreboard too much,” Penn coach Mike Murphy said. “Going from 9-5 to 9-6 was an odd-man rush, and I feel like our guys felt that goal a little too much. We’re a young team, so I think we may not be as good at responding to these types of things yet as we want to be. Even though we kept telling our guys to attack and keep doing the things that got us to that point, I think in the back of their heads they were just trying to hold on, and that’s not the way we want to finish the game.”
The schedule doesn’t get easier for the Red and Blue anytime soon, as their next game is at home against a No. 3 Brown team with a lot of firepower. The Quakers have three Ivy games remaining this season, and they will likely have to be on their best performance for each and every one. They must secure a top-four position in the conference to get a bid to the Ivy tournament, a difficult feat in a season where the Ivy League has a number of the top teams in the nation.
“You feel sick losing that game. It could cost us a lot of things — an Ivy Tournament berth, an NCAA Tournament berth — this loss could come back to haunt us,” Murphy said.
“But at the same time, we’re going to grow a lot from this. We made a lot of improvements from last week to this week, so if we can do that again, we’ll be better and hopefully that will show against Brown.”
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