Penn hopes to get back at Villanova for an upset loss on the Main Line last year. The Penn men's lacrosse team (5-5) will have revenge in mind when the Quakers face Villanova tonight at 7 p.m. at Franklin Field. In what was probably the biggest upset of the 1999 season for Penn, the Red and Blue dropped a 7-5 heartbreaker to the Wildcats last year on the Main Line, allowing four goals in the final quarter. "We have a bad taste in our mouths from last year," Penn co-captain Pete Janney said. "That's really pushing us to work hard for this game." The Quakers are coming off their first Ivy League win, a 7-4 victory over Dartmouth this past Saturday, marked by an impressive defensive effort. The backline must continue its strong play tonight against a Wildcats team that boasts a high-octane offense. Villanova returns 13 seniors, including its three best players -- Chris Lawson, Eric Dauer and Jack McTigue -- in the midfield. Lawson leads the team with 19 goals; Dauer has tallied 16 thus far this season; and McTigue has 25 assists to go along with two goals. "They are all strong, very powerful athletes," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "The midfield line is probably as good as we're going to see all season." Those three players had the biggest impact for the Wildcats in last season's game against the Quakers. In that contest, Penn got off to a slow start when Lawson put a crisp shot past Matt Schroeder, the Red and Blue's goalie of a year ago. Just minutes later, Dauer scored when the ball bounced off a defender's stick and into the goal. The Quakers rebounded, however, and held the Cats scoreless for the rest of the half. After two goals from Janney and one each by Scott Solow and Todd Minerley, the Quakers took a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter. But that was when Penn shut down. Villanova stormed back to tally four goals in the last quarter, including Lawson's second goal of the game. McTigue assisted on every goal of the quarter, as the frustrated Quakers could not net one and were upset, 7-4. In a display of futility, the once-strong Penn offense was not only held to a meager four goals, but was also outshot, 36-27. The defeat sent the Red and Blue into a downward spiral as the team lost its last two contests by a combined 12 goals. Despite last year's game being being billed as an upset, the Wildcats have no reason to believe they can't beat the Quakers again. Villanova (6-3) is coming off a convincing victory last weekend against Fairfield. The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter and extended that to 5-2 at the half. Villanova continued its strong play in the second half and defeated the Stags, 12-7. Dauer totaled three goals, while Lawson added two and McTigue tallied three assists. "They are very confident right now," Van Arsdale said. "They've been playing very well recently, and the game should be two evenly matched teams with some momentum coming off wins." While the Wildcats offense has been given much attention by opposing teams, adversaries must also be mindful of their reliable defense. In last year's game, junior defender Brian O'Hagan shut down Minerley, which prevented the Quakers offense from getting quality feeds. A win at Franklin Field today would give the Quakers their first winning streak since the first two games of the season, when Penn upset Notre Dame it its home opener and followed that up with a win against Bucknell. The victory would also give the Red and Blue confidence going into the tough three-game stretch that ends their season. Before the month is out, the Quakers will face Brown, Syracuse and Delaware -- Penn lost to all three last season. "Syracuse is one that will probably take a little more than extra on our part and a little less on theirs," Van Arsdale said. "But the other two games are very winnable." If the Quakers can pull of a win tonight, maybe they can get used to the feeling of revenge and end their season on an upswing.Comments powered by Disqus
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