Big Red halt late charge
Down 7-2, Quakers rally to force overtime but come up short against Ivy foe
March 28, 2011, 4:26 am·
After the final seconds of regulation ticked off the clock, senior midfielder Al Kohart was on the verge of entering uncharted territory in his Penn lacrosse career.
Heading into overtime with the score tied at 12, his Quakers would have one chance to turn the tables on a No. 7 Cornell squad that had topped the No. 13 Quakers in each of his three previous years at Penn.
But Kohart never had the opportunity to execute that one final possession.
Cornell won the draw and junior Roy Lang capitalized off a feed from teammate David Lau to win the game, 13-12, in extra time Saturday. That sent the Quakers (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) packing without an overtime victory that would have kept them in the driver’s seat in the Ivy League.
“I had the opportunity to dodge, and I just sort of had a half step,” Lau said in the postgame press conference. “We’ve made that play plenty of times in practice, and we just did a good job finishing the ball.”
Kohart conceded, “They might have outscrapped us, and we need to work a little harder and be a little tougher on the ground.”
A slow start buried the Quakers in a 7-2 hole at the half. And that’s when Kohart and Penn’s upperclassmen took matters into their own hands.
“At halftime, we hadn’t really hit our shots yet. I just looked at Corey [Winkoff] and said we just had to take reins of this thing,” he said.
Kohart and Winkoff teamed up for three quick goals to get the Quakers rolling, and Penn didn’t look back for the rest of the second period.
Despite never leading in the contest, the Quakers erased the five-goal deficit by connecting on their shots and stepping up their defensive effort.
Senior Brett Hughes, charged with the task of defending Cornell senior Rob Pannell — a strong candidate for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given annually to the top player in the country — kept him to just one goal in the second half.
Kohart called Hughes “arguably one of the best cover guys in the country.”
Pannell scored two goals on nine shots and added two assists. “He did the job we asked him to,” Kohart said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Meanwhile, senior Will Amling had a breakout performance, anchoring the second-line midfield with three goals.
But even with strong second-half play, the Quakers ultimately fell short.
Penn lost the ground-ball battle, 39-28, as Cornell’s Roy Lang picked up a team-high seven ground balls for the Big Red (6-2, 2-0).
“We fully expected to win,” Kohart said. “We had the matchups it takes to win the game.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss that would have given Penn its first road win of the year, Kohart remains encouraged by the Quakers’ performance.
“It proves that we can play with some of the top teams in the country,” he said.