Recruits and a transfer fill out the roster Rebuilding is the wrong word. It's more like a few small repairs. The Penn men's lacrosse team lost its fair share of talent to graduation last year. The Quakers had to say goodbye to a total of nine letterwinners and six starters last June, but coach Marc Van Arsdale's squad is not suffering from any diminished expectations as Saturday's season opener with Notre Dame approaches. "Last year at this point, we were a little more settled as to what we were going to do," Van Arsdale said. "This year, I think we're a team that can get much better as the year goes on." If the Quakers are to improve on their 6-8 overall record (2-4 Ivy League) from last season, they will need to rely on the services of a slew of newcomers who will need to produce results from Saturday's regular season start onward. For the past four seasons, the Penn defense has had a reliable and gifted leader in goalie Matt Schroeder. The 1999 second team All-Ivy selection finished his career with 755 saves and started in an astounding 50 of 53 games he played over four years. Schroeder's absence in between the pipes is no reason for panic, however. Sophomore keeper John Carroll and freshman Ryan Kelly have split time in net in the Quakers' two victorious preseason scrimmages against Towson and Hobart. "I think it's awful wishful thinking that we can replace Matt," Van Arsdale said. "But I think we'll be in good shape with the both of them." Kelly, a Deer Park, N.Y., native, captained his high school team his junior and senior years and was named team MVP last season. Kelly is unquestionably talented, but he is not yet ready to monopolize playing time for Penn. "We have a different system here in terms of techniques of stopping the ball," Kelly said. "Right now, John and I are the same. I'm probably a little bit better at communicating with the rest of the defense, but he's better at stopping the ball." As Penn assistant coach and goalie specialist Tom McClelland continues to work with Kelly on his mechanics in the crease, he may develop into an everyday starter. But for now, it look as if it will be a freshman-sophomore platoon at goal. The Quakers hit the jackpot when it comes to welcoming new talent at the midfielder positions. The crown jewel of the incoming class is Alex Kopicki, who was one of the finest high school talents coming out of the Baltimore-area lacrosse hotbed last season. Kopicki, who stands 6'2" and weighs 185 pounds, was first-team All-Metro for St. Paul's, one of the most highly regarded high school programs in the country. "We got Alex Kopicki. As a freshman, he's ready to play a lot of minutes right away," Van Arsdale said. Another Baltimore product, Jake Martin, should provide added depth in the middle of the field for Penn. Junior Adam Solow comes by way of Hanover, N.H. The middie, who is originally from nearby Wynnewood, Pa., transferred to Penn after two standout seasons at Dartmouth. He led the Big Green in both goals and total points as a freshman. Solow joins his brother, sophomore Scott Solow, on the Red and Blue. "I think I came to Penn for three reasons. One, my brother's here and I like playing with him," Solow said. "Two, I'm from Philadelphia, and I got a little homesick. Three, I really like playing for coach Van Arsdale." Adam's father, Steve Solow, was a lacrosse captain for Penn in his senior year, 1973. The elder Solow is naturally pleased with his son's transfer. "My dad really wanted me to go to Penn," Adam said. "He's glad I'm here, and I'm glad. I had a miserable time on and off the field [at Dartmouth]."Comments powered by Disqus
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