If the men's lacrosse team had any prayer of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, Towson shot down those dreams. Eighteen times, to be exact.
The Quakers struck first on Saturday, taking a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, but their opponents sealed the victory by halftime with a 10-1 run. The final score read 18-12.
Penn has now lost twice to unranked teams, and last surrendered this many goals in 2005.
"You can't give up 18 goals and expect to win games," Penn coach Brian Voelker said. "I felt like our defense really let us down."
And not for the first time. Despite not allowing anything more than a three-goal stretch in its first five games, Penn let Cornell score eight in a row, Princeton drop five (and eight of nine), and Maryland get seven straight last week. Towson (5-9) had six unanswered Saturday.
Voelker doesn't see this as a coincidence.
"I feel like right now, when things don't go our way, instead of doing something to make it go our way, we drop our heads and say, 'Oh no, here we go again,'" he said. "We're beat up physically, [and] we're beat up a little bit emotionally."
All of the blame for the four-game losing streak can't be placed on the many underclassmen, though.
"It hurts when you have one senior that plays, when you don't have the guys who have been through it before to rally the troops," Voelker said.
"But I'm disappointed in how some of our older guys played. Some of our juniors really have to step up and they haven't done it. [We] can't blame it on youth, can't blame it on injuries, we've just got to go play, and play better."
Still, it doesn't help to have your leading goal scorer and assist-man off of the field. Junior Craig Andrzejewski (21 goals) and freshman Corey Winkoff (22 assists) each sat out all but one or two days of practice last week.
Then in the first quarter on Saturday, Winkoff (who had been struggling with ankle and hip injuries) went down with yet another blow - an injury to either his ankle or Achilles' tendon. He'll be evaluated by a doctor on Monday.
"I don't know whether he's going to be able to play this weekend, so guys are just going to have to step up," Voelker said.
The Quakers ended March as the nation's No. 20 team, but five losses in six games have assured they will finish with a losing record for the second consecutive year.
Voelker had all but accepted that his team wouldn't be playing in mid-May.
"The Tournament committee is going to have a lot of tough choices, and I think even if we had won our last two we probably would have been on the outside looking in," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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