Penn notches another upset
Quakers end losing streak with first win over No. 11 Princeton since 1990
March 21, 2011, 2:01 am · Updated March 21, 2011, 12:00 am·
For Penn men’s lacrosse, Saturday’s game was about 21 years — 21 years of losses to the rival Princeton Tigers.
The current Quakers have suffered their share of heart-wrenching defeats, with the last two Penn-Princeton games ending the same way — overtime Princeton wins.
With a number of alumni in the stands and a three-game losing streak on the table, the Quakers rose up in the face of pressure Saturday and delivered an 8-3 defeat to Princeton that the program will remember for a long time.
The Red and Blue (4-2, 1-0 Ivy) scored the important first goal six minutes into the opening frame when sophomore Rob Fitzpatrick fired in a diving shot. Princeton answered back with under a minute and a half left in the first, knotting the score at one.
The Quakers’ defense was in shutdown mode to begin the second, holding the Tigers (1-4, 0-1) to just one shot in the period. Penn repeatedly turned the Tigers over in their offensive zone, limiting Princeton to quick, harmless possessions.
“We’ve had a couple really good games defensively,” coach Mike Murphy said. “When [the defense] plays as a unit, it’s very tough.”
Despite generating 10 shots, the Red and Blue attack was unable to take the lead.
“We were getting the looks we wanted,” senior Al Kohart said. “They just weren’t going in.”
Less than a minute before the half, the Quakers’ offense finally got the breakthrough it needed when senior Morgan Griff finished off an impressive passing play, giving Penn a 2-1 lead at halftime.
The Red and Blue offense came out of the break sizzling. Two passing plays led to two quick goals by junior Dan Savage and Kohart. Halfway through the third, the Red and Blue were up, 4-1.
“We did a good job attacking with patience,” Murphy said. “[Kohart’s] goal really swung the game in our favor — it may have been the possession of the year.”
The end of the third period saw a flurry of goals. The Tigers ended their own scoring drought when sophomore Tucker Shanley turned a Quakers turnover into an unassisted goal, making it 4-2.
Nick Richards had Penn’s answer on the next faceoff. The sophomore won the draw, started his own one-man break and scored his first goal of the season.
But Princeton promised an interesting fourth quarter when it turned a Penn turnover into an easy goal.
With the 21-year losing streak on the line, the Quakers responded. Kohart drove home a Corey Winkoff feed for his second goal. Seconds later, Penn put the game on ice when freshman Maxx Meyer alertly deflected a bouncing ball. The Quakers added an empty-net goal, pushing the final score to 8-3.
For the 2011 Quakers, it was just an Ivy League win. But all the players understood its significance to the program.
“There’s a plaque on our wall from the last time, that’s always reminded us,” Winkoff said.
But Winkoff didn’t focus on the victory long.
“Only two hours, then it’s onto Cornell.”