The second time was not the charm as Penn men’s lacrosse amassed a huge early deficit for the second game in a row, this time unable to dig their way out.
The Quakers went to Maryland Stadium Wednesday evening to take on No. 3 Maryland, where they lost 13-6.
This win pushed the Terps' streak to 11 games dating back to April of last year when they took home the NCAA Division I Men's College Lacrosse Championship. This streak is the longest active win streak in the country.
Maryland (4-0) came out hot, opening up the game with a 5-0 lead before senior long pole Jack Ullrich netted the goal. Junior attackman Simon Mathias assisted on the goal and added another point to his 30-game point streak, which spans his entire career at Penn.
At the end of the first half, the Quakers (1-1) were down 9-2. But the team had a tight second half, matching Maryland goal-for-goal over the last two quarters, with both teams scoring four goals.
Penn had a tough task to handle against a veteran team who has been to the top of the world in collegiate lacrosse. If anything, this reaffirms the notion that if the Quakers can clean up their slow starts to games, they can play with the best teams in the country.
Despite the loss, coach Mike Murphy is confident in his team.
“We’re to the point now if we play well and clean up a few things we can beat anybody,” Murphy said.
However, there is one area that Murphy would like to see some improvement on.
“We can’t walk on a field and not do fundamental things well and expect to beat anybody at all.”
Penn has a chance to redeem themselves at Franklin Field this Saturday against undefeated No. 1 Duke.
The Blue Devils (4-0) are coming off a gritty come-from-behind win against No. 2 Denver, where they were down four going in to the last quarter, but ended up winning by three.
The Quakers have a huge opportunity ahead of them. With home turf advantage and the top team in college lacrosse, a win this weekend could propel the Quakers on a path towards an eventual NCAA bid.
All in all, the Quakers are hosting a tough slate of teams this season and have plenty of time to boost their resume. However, this tough road was made intentional by the coaching staff.
“It gives us a big advantage because when the NCAA Tournament rolls around, a lot of the numbers are based off your strength of schedule,” Murphy said. “Our strategy has always been to schedule the best.”
Time will tell, but if the Quakers can pick up the pace early in games, win more faceoffs, and pick up more coveted ground balls, the Quakers have the schedule to take them to the top. Now, they need their gameplay to show they are among the elite in the country.