Don’t call it a comeback.
But in the case of the men’s lacrosse team’s game at Saint Joseph’s last night, a comeback is exactly the right word to use.
In the first two periods at Sweeney Field, the Quakers (2-0) allowed seven unanswered goals from the Hawks (1-2) before clawing back to win 11-10 in overtime.
“Obviously we dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole at the start of the game,” senior attack Nick Doktor said.
Despite ramping up the intensity of their play after a mid-game locker room pep talk by the team’s crew of seniors, according to Doktor, the Quakers still looked sluggish throughout the third period. The score remained locked in a five-point spread, with each team scoring one goal in the third period, bringing the score to 9-4 in the 45th minute of play.
But that all changed in the first minute of the fourth period when freshman defense Connor Keating picked up a ground ball and charged the net, scoring Penn’s first of six consecutive goals in the fourth period.
“That really just set us in motion and really gave us some energy and led to more riding and plays with ground balls,” coach Mike Murphy said.
Penn would go on to take the lead 10-9 with five minutes left in the fourth period. However, Kevin Forster of St. Joe’s tied the score with 3:45 remaining on the clock. The Quakers nearly saw the win slip through their fingers in the third minute of overtime, but sophomore midfield Chris Hilburn made a key clear to keep Penn in the game.
Then, with 2:07 left in overtime, Doktor netted the game-winning goal off of an assist from sophomore attack Kevin Brown.
“I just happened to be at the end of it,” Doktor said. “It could have been any one of our guys that really won the game for us.”
The senior’s quote rings true when you look to the box score: each of the six goals scored by Penn in the fourth period were scored by a different player. Eight Quakers in total contributed to the Red and Blue’s 11 -goal total, with senior midfield Joe McCallion pacing the team at three goals.
“Everybody contributed to this win tonight,” Doktor said. “I might have scored the game-winning goal but there was so much that went into it. The defense made two huge stops, both at the end of regulation and in overtime, to even give us the chance to have a chance to win it in overtime.”
And if history is any indication, all the Quakers need is just that small glimmer of “a chance” to be deadly to their opponents.
Maybe the Red and Blue haven’t been pulling off second half resurgences “for years,” as the famed LL Cool J lyric riff goes; but heart-stopping rallies are nothing new for Penn. Last year in the Ivy League semifinal game against perennial nemesis Cornell, Penn came back from a four-goal deficit to stun the Big Red and advance to the conference championship game against Harvard.
“We’ve been in that position before,” Murphy said. He recalled last year’s game against the another city rival, Villanova, in particular, where the Quakers initially trailed the Wildcats 7-3 before pulling off a 12-11 win.
In fact, Penn has stormed back from scoring deficits so many times that Doktor was not even fazed by Tuesday’s five-goal deficiency at the half. “We were comfortable in a sense despite the deficit that we had,” the senior said.
Doktor’s response is a testament to Murphy’s coaching mentality: in each practice, he stresses that players think about the game on a micro-level.
“We try to take things one faceoff at a time, one goal at a time,” Murphy said. “And that’s what we did.”Comments powered by Disqus
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