Penn men’s lacrosse delivered when it mattered most.
In a must-win game for the Quakers to keep their Ivy League Tournament hopes alive, they performed well in every facet of the game on their way to an 11-7 win over Harvard on Senior Day.
The first quarter was all about the Crimson. Penn’s penalty woes continued, providing Harvard with multiple extra man opportunities early on. Surprisingly, none of these resulted in goals, thanks to stellar play in net from junior goalkeeper Reed Junkin.
But Harvard (7-4, 2-2 Ivy) jumped out to an early 3-1 lead despite the resilient Penn defense, initially sparked by a lightning fast, unassisted strike from senior Carney Mahon. The leading scorers for the Crimson, senior Morgan Cheek and sophomore Kyle Anderson, each notched one of their respective three goals in the first quarter.
Once the Quakers (6-6, 2-3) finally got on the board late in the first quarter, they started to get going offensively. The Red and Blue continued playing strong defense and were able to capitalize on increased possession to go on a run of seven straight goals.
Possession was key for Penn throughout the course of the game, and they were able to gain control of the ball because of face-off dominance by junior Richie Lenskold. His stellar play delivered the ball to the Red and Blue offense, which allowed them to be patient and take better shots in the second and third quarters.
Lenskold provided the offensive spark, but only after Junkin kept the Red and Blue in the game with some tough saves.
On offense, the Quakers seemed to change their shooting approach after not finding much success against Harvard senior goalkeeper Robert Shaw in the first quarter. They quickly recognized his weakness of not being able to stop high shots and attacked the upper reaches of the net.
Penn’s second and third goals are perfect examples of this, with freshman Mike Lamon bouncing a goal into the top of the net and junior Tyler Dunn smoking a shot into the same area.
Shaw was only able to save one shot above his chest in the entire game, and this is one of the big reasons the Quakers were able to pull off the much-needed victory.
At one point, it looked as if the Quakers were going to run away with the game when they took a 7-3 lead, but a goal by Anderson just before time expired in the third quarter, followed by two goals, including an impressive falling down shot by Cheek to begin the fourth quarter, brought the Crimson within one goal.
Before Harvard could complete the comeback, goals from Dunn and leading goal scorer junior Simon Mathias gave the Red and Blue enough breathing room to close out their home conference schedule with a win.
The Quakers suit up for the final time at Franklin Field this season against Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday, before finishing up Ivy play against Dartmouth on Saturday. Penn will need to win that game and get some help in order to make it into the Ivy League Tournament, which begins on May 4.
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