Entering spring break, Penn men’s lacrosse was winless. The Red and Blue had started the season with tough losses to three of the top five teams in the country. In two of these losses, the Quakers were unable to maintain fourth quarter leads.
On Friday, that changed.
Penn earned its first victory of the year on the first day of the inaugural Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic against area rival No. 11 Villanova. After conceding four goals in a span of 2:26 in the final minutes of fourth quarter, the Quakers (2-3) were able to hold on for a win.
Though the Quakers led from wire-to-wire, it was a true game of runs. The Red and Blue jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, but the Wildcats (3-2) did not go down quietly. Despite the early deficit, Villanova would go on its own five-point run, bringing it back within one early in the third quarter. Penn answered with its own 7-1 run that lasted until just under four minutes left in the game. After falling well behind, the Wildcats were able to make one last push, scoring the last four points of the game before getting beat by the clock.
Leading the way for the Quakers in their 13-11 win was freshman attacker Sam Handley, who finished the day with four goals and three assists.
Sunday’s matchup against Saint Joseph's (3-4) began in similar fashion. The Quakers started off hot, scoring the game’s first seven goals and keeping the Hawks scoreless the entire first quarter. This time around, however, the Red and Blue left nothing to chance and kept their foot on the gas, never letting the Hawks get within six.
Penn’s dominant 13-6 victory began at the faceoff X, where the Quakers won 16-of-21 attempts. Defense proved to be another vital factor in the win. The Red and Blue set a season low in goals allowed, recording 19 turnovers as a team and 14 saves from senior goalie Reed Junkin.
Offensively, junior attacker Adam Goldner led the way with four goals, while Handley continued his stellar weekend performance with four assists in the win.
With spring break victories against Villanova and St. Joe’s, Penn is now 2-3 and will return to Ivy League play on Saturday against Princeton.