Penn men’s lacrosse remains perfect in the Ivy League.
The Quakers travelled to New York on Friday and defeated No. 4 Brown in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament. With their 13-12 win, Penn continued its seven-game win streak against Ancient Eight opponents this season. This win marked the ninth time in school history that Penn has won 10 games in a season, and the first since 2014.
Penn (10-3, 7-0 Ivy) got off to a bit of a sluggish start, trading goals with Brown (7-9, 3-4) in the opening period. The game was tight early, as Brown came ready to compete with the regular season champions. A Brown goal with 12 seconds left in the quarter fired up the Bears as they had their eyes set on an upset.
However, with both teams tied at three the Quakers exploded for five consecutive goals in the second period. Their defense also shut down the Bears' offense in the second period, limiting Brown to only one goal late in the period. The dominant offense combined with the shut down defense made a four goal lead seem much larger.
Senior attackman Simon Mathias dominated the game and led Penn’s offense with four goals and three assists.
"As a senior who has played a bunch of games in this jersey, I realized it was my job to slow the pace down and take ahold of the game," Mathias said.
Freshman midfielder Sam Handley also contributed offensively with three goals and one assist. Handley's performance earned him a place in Penn's record books, as he set a new record for goals in a single season as a freshman with 34.
With dozens of Penn fans in attendance to cheer them on, the Quakers had all the momentum going into the locker room at halftime with an 8-4 lead. The second half was much of the same with their offense continuing to score and their defense keeping the Bears in check. Senior goalie Reed Junkin tallied 16 saves on 28 shots on goal.
"[Brown] got some goals that were tips that went in, rebounds off saves, but something we talked about with the defense was just keeping our composure after stuff like that, and staying in the moment," Junkin said.
The Bears tried to mount a comeback in the fourth period, scoring twice in the final two minutes of the game to cut Penn’s lead to 13-12. However, the Red and Blue held Brown for the rest of the game to come away with the victory.
"You don't really play Division I lacrosse without playing in one goal games," Mathias said. "Just learning from our experiences in the past, we've had a bunch of one goal games this year."
After losing their first three games of the season, the Quakers have been dominant, winning their last 10 games, and are excited to try for their 11th straight in the biggest game of the season.
"We are excited to be here, but also realize that we didn't play our best lacrosse for 60 minutes today," coach Mike Murphy said. "We've got a combination of excitement and enthusiasm, and a little bit of hunger and urgency to play our best lacrosse."
With a day off on Saturday on the road, the Quakers will practice at a local high school and have dinner at a local player's house. After the day off, the Red and Blue will look to continue their Ivy League dominance in the championship game on Sunday against the winner of Yale and Cornell.