A total of 26 goals, a seven-game winning streak, and the title of Ivy League Champions.
Saturday’s game was momentous for No. 6 Penn men’s lacrosse, as the Quakers defeated Harvard by a score of 26-13. The Red and Blue (7-3, 5-0 Ivy) are now guaranteed to, at the very worst, tie for first place in the Ivy League following their victory. They have also clinched the No. 1 seed in the Ivy Tournament.
By beating Harvard (5-6, 1-3), the Quakers also continued their five-game Ivy League winning streak.
Penn hadn’t won an Ivy title since 1988, and the Quakers’ success this year has not come without practice and perseverance.
“Not only are we kind of preparing and improving, but I think the guys are really taking it upon themselves to do a little bit of extra stuff, whether it’s weightlifting or extra shooting on the field or getting in some extra film,” coach Mike Murphy said. “A bunch of guys on the team, they’re just kind of taking those extra steps to make sure that we’re getting better each week and being prepared for each opponent.”
Against the Crimson, Penn came out ready to score, putting three balls in Harvard’s cage in the first four minutes of play. Senior attackman Simon Mathias scored two of these goals. By the end of the game, he had four goals and two assists.
From the outset, it was clear that senior leadership would be an integral part of Penn’s play.
“Our two captains, they obviously are our captains and do a good job of leading, but they really stepped up on the field too,” Murphy said. “Simon Mathias had some early plays and points that gave us that lead, and [senior midfielder] Tyler Dunn made some really big plays between the lines, had some ground ball plays, and scored points too, but just his effort and intensity really set the tone for our whole team.”
By the end of the first quarter, Penn had secured a 7-1 lead, far outplaying the Crimson.
Once again, Harvard was only able to score one goal in the second quarter. The Red and Blue surged ahead, establishing a 10-goal lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Crimson outscored the Quakers, 5-3.
“Defensively, I think we could have been a little bit better with our — what we call flies and recoveries. Certainly in the third quarter, which we lost 5-3, we could have been a little sharper on defense,” Murphy said.
But that wasn’t enough to put a damper on Penn’s play. In the fourth quarter, the Quakers scored another 11 goals, making their win inevitable. Penn's 26 goals were the second most that a team has scored in one game nationwide this season.
Junior attackman Adam Goldner and freshman midfielder Sam Handley each finished the day with six goals. Handley scored both the opener and the game winner. His six-point effort pushed his total to 44, enough to set a new freshman single-season record with two regular season games to play.
Freshman midfielder Nick Loring led Harvard with three goals.
Though the Quakers made history with the win, they have to keep up their hard work if they want to continue to be successful. On April 20, the Quakers will play Dartmouth at home, with a chance to make their title outright on Senior Day.