The Quakers pummeled Lafayette, 20-5, after going 1-2 during break. While most of the student body was either relaxing at home or on a tropical island over spring break, the Penn men's lacrosse team was hard at work on the field. The Quakers played three games during the week off and one more yesterday, going 2-2 in that span. Penn started off the week with an overtime win against Bucknell, but then dropped two to North Carolina and Yale, before winning yesterday in convincing fashion against Lafayette. "We're playing OK right now, not terrific," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "We have ups and downs within each game." With its record at 2-2, yesterday's contest against a weaker Lafayette squad was a crucial one, and Penn passed with flying colors, demolishing the Leopards, 20-5. "We had come out a little slow in past games, and we wanted to take [yesterday] to work on starting faster and we were able to accomplish that," co-captain Pete Janney said. The Quakers jumped out to a quick 9-0 advantage on the backs of the defense that held Lafayette scoreless throughout the first half. Along with the contribution from the backline, the entire team played well. Midfielder Billy Sofield won 80 percent of the face-offs, and goalie John Carroll regained the form that helped Penn win its first two games of the season. "Today, every ground ball was ours," senior co-captain Bill Fowler said. "The defense put pressure on the ball from the beginning. That caused a lot of turnovers, and the offense was able to run right through their defensive line." Scott Solow led the team with three goals, while junior Todd Minerley tallied six assists and a goal. Solow netted two of his goals early in the game during the 9-0 run. "It felt really good to beat up on somebody," freshman midfielder Alex Kopicki said. "We don't have too many easy wins on our schedule, and while we didn't take that attitude going into the game, once we got going, it was nice." The Quakers' first opponent of spring break was Bucknell, which Penn had beaten 11-8 when the teams met last spring. Playing the contest in a driving rain in Baltimore on March 11, the Red and Blue trailed from the start and were down 2-1 at halftime. The Quakers were also behind going into the fourth quarter, but rallied to tie the score at four and send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Kopicki took the ball from the top of the crease past his defender, forcing another defender to cover him. Kopicki passed the ball to a wide-open Solow, who scored the goal from 10 feet away to give Penn the win. "The Bucknell game was a good, physical game," Fowler said. "They felt like they could play with us, and we quietly fought back to take it." In the next game at UNC on March 14, the fourth quarter result was not as gratifying. The Quakers spotted the Tar Heels a 5-2 lead, but stormed back in the third quarter to take a 6-5 advantage. "The third quarter of the North Carolina game was the best 12 minutes of lacrosse this season," Van Arsdale said. "We had their frontline really struggling." The UNC offense wouldn't struggle for long, however. The Tar Heels bounced back, netting six goals in a row to eventually win, 13-7. The turning point seemed to come in the beginning of the fourth quarter. With the game knotted at six, UNC All-American Todd Maher took the ball from the midline all the way down the field and scored. "It was just a breakdown of team play," Fowler said of the fourth-quarter collapse. "The energy was there, and the teamwork was there. They just kept getting one goal after another, and we were unable to stop the momentum." While the UNC loss was discouraging, the loss to Yale on Saturday was more disappointing. "Against Yale we were overworked and were forced to play from behind," Van Arsdale said. "In this sport, play is determined when balls are on the ground, and they made plays on the 50-50 balls and we didn't." The Quakers went down 6-1 early on, but managed to claw back to tie the score, 8-8. Nevertheless, Penn never held a lead and lost, 11-10. "We came ready to play, but they seemed to have more effort and came ready to win," Fowler said. While Penn was happy with yesterday's win, it knows that it still has room to grow. "We didn't take full advantage of scoring opportunities," Janney said. "There were times during the game that we could have shot the ball on goal and didn't, and we need to work on that." With the win, Penn improves its record to 3-2. Yet with four out of the next five games against Ivy opponents, the Quakers know that wins are not going to come easily.Comments powered by Disqus
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