The Quakers go to St. Joseph's today looking to score early and often on the Hawks. The Penn men's lacrosse team (3-3) has been giving all it's got so far this season, just not at the start of its games. Perhaps the Quakers would do well to heed the advice that the Rolling Stones give in song, to "start me up, kick on the starter give it all you got." In fact, the Quakers have trailed in the first quarter in all but one of their contests and need to come out strong tonight in their game against crosstown rival St. Joseph's. The Quakers' latest slow start came this weekend against Harvard. Within five minutes, the Red and Blue had spotted the Crimson a 3-1 lead and could not rebound from the deficit. Penn played well toward the end of the game, coming back from an 11-6 disadvantage to cut the Crimson lead to 13-12 with 3:51 to go. But Harvard was too strong and scored the last two goals of the game to defeat the Quakers, 15-12. "They simply played better," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "They have a lot of firepower, and they scored a lot early. And we started slow on both ends of the field." The Crimson's 3-1 lead was nothing compared to a 6-1 advantage held by Yale and a 5-1 lead by North Carolina in earlier games this season. In both of these games, Penn was able to come back and tie the score. The Quakers even took the lead on UNC, but both contests resulted in losses for Penn because of the energy spent digging out of the hole. "If you're going to take something positive from the losses, it's that we do have the capability to score six or seven goals in a quarter," co-captain Pete Janney said. "We'd just like to do it in the first quarter instead of the fourth." Penn hoped it had solved its first-quarter woes with a convincing win over Lafayette last week. In that contest, the Quakers jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held the Leopards scoreless in the first half. That was not the case, however, as the early sluggishness struck again this weekend. The Quakers have continued to work on the problem in practice and though Van Arsdale says the solution is "easier said than done," the team is confident it can play consistently well for a full 48 minutes. "We've really turned up the intensity in practice," Janney said. "We've had full-field scrimmages and are keeping everyone focused." The Quakers cannot afford to start slowly against St Joseph's. The Hawks boast a 6-1 record coming into tonight's game, which is the best start in the school's history. The Hawks are averaging 13.8 goals a game compared to Penn's average of 10.5. In addition, St. Joe's holds an average margin of victory of 11.2 goals -- five better than that of the Quakers. "They're very explosive offensively and move the ball up and down the field well," Van Arsdale said. "They don't play the most competitive teams, but any team that wins as much as they do has to have a lot of confidence." There are three players who make the Hawks offense as powerful as it is. Senior Drew Scott leads the team with 32 points, including 21 goals. Sophomore Bert Whitelock is also dangerous, with 31 points and 28 assists. Junior Randy McNeill completes the trio, also tallying 21 goals, good for 28 points. The Hawks' strong attack faces a young Penn defense whose lack of experience has shown a bit in recent games. Nevertheless, Van Arsdale refuses to use the backline's youth as an excuse. "It is a factor," he said. "But these players have played in games, and we don't want to lean on that at this point in the season." Despite its powerful offense, St. Joe's is coming off its first loss of the season, a 20-7 drubbing to No. 14 Delaware. And speaking of slow starts, the Blue Hens raced out in front of the Hawks, 8-0, and made the score 10-2 at the end of the first half. St. Joe's could never get going and trailed 15-5 at the end of the third quarter. Scott was held without a goal but managed three assists, while 13 different players scored for Delaware. The next stretch of games is arguably the most important in the Quakers' season. After the Hawks, Penn plays three Ivy opponents in a row: Cornell, Princeton and Dartmouth. "Up until now, we've been up and down," Janney said. "It's so important that we get a win tomorrow, and then go from there."Comments powered by Disqus
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