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The Quakers got robbed by their next door neighbors.

For the majority of its season opener against No. 18 Drexel, the Penn men's lacrosse team maintained a two-goal lead. The Quakers were even up 8-5 midway through the fourth quarter before the Dragons turned it around to beat Penn 9-8 at Franklin Field.

"I have no idea how the hell we won that," Drexel coach Chris Bates said. "We capitalized on their mistakes late and got some breaks. But I give our guys credit, we played for 60 minutes, we kept our composure and didn't quit."

After a near-three-minute Penn possession ended in freshman Al Kohart's second goal of the game, it seemed as if the Quakers were in complete control, up by three with 11 minutes to go.

That was about to change.

First, Dragons midfielder Brian Neary scored from 15 yards out with eight minutes left. Then Penn's Joe Kelly (who was having a solid game on defense and led the team with four ground balls) threw a dangerous pass across his own defensive zone that was easily intercepted by Colin Ambler and taken in for a breakaway goal.

Then, up a man, Drexel's Kevin Stockel tickled the twine, and with the avalanche continuing, Adam Dennis took a pass in transition and hit a streaking Dan Layfield for the game-winner with 4:25 to go.

In all, Drexel (1-0) scored four goals in a span of 4:10 in the fourth quarter. The Red and Blue( 0-1) would have two more possessions, but neither came close to a tying goal.

Despite Penn having eight fewer giveaways than its opponent, it was those turnovers that cost the Quakers the game.

"Four or five times in the fourth quarter we threw the thing away and gave them easy opportunities," Penn coach Brian Voelker said.

"They might have had more turnovers, but we had them when it counted, that's for sure."

Junior attacker Craig Andrzejewski added, "Once we had a three-goal lead we needed to value the ball when we had it, [but] we turned it over a bunch, and it came back to bite us."

In a game in which the Quakers were the underdogs, they came out of the gate playing solid lacrosse.

Voelker said his team played "really good, settled defense," and the offense played with poise for nearly the whole game.

"It was definitely working well for the first three quarters, and once they scored a couple goals we got down a little bit and lost our patience," said Andrzejewski, who had three assists on Saturday.

This loss was as tough as it gets, but the Quakers must find a way to dress their wounds and rebound next week against Villanova.

"We'll definitely learn from our mistakes and come up fired up this week in practice," Andrzejewski said.

"I'll just tell them to keep their heads up. It's just one game in a long season, we have all the Ivies and a ton of good non-conference teams [left]."

Still, the Quakers can't help but look back at a win that was theirs.

"We should have won," Andrzejewski said. "We had the game won - we were up by three and should have finished it off."

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