In the opening game of the season, No. 10 Penn men’s lacrosse (0-1) fell to the visiting Georgetown Hoyas (2-0) by a score of 10-8.
At Franklin Field, Georgetown, ranked No. 1 in the Big East conference and No. 3 nationally, and historically victorious over Mike Murphy's Quakers (0-3 all time), was bound to be a tough match from the start.
In the opening quarter, it was unclear who would dominate, as the Hoyas scored the opening goal, but the Red and Blue had a quick retaliation with senior Sam Handley taking advantage of a man-up situation, assisting senior Jack Schultz, and later assisting sophomore Cam Rubin while even.
However, this is when the Hoya offense turned it on, unsettling the Penn defense with a quick goal, leading to a man-up situation, and two more Hoya goals to take the lead at the end of the first quarter.
During the second quarter, both teams' defense prevented any scoring for nearly 10 minutes before the Penn attack broke through with senior BJ Farrare making an interception to drive the ball down the field, handing the ball off to senior Dylan Gergar to rip a shot into the net from outside the 12-meter line. The second quarter continued with a response goal from the Hoyas, followed by senior Piper Bond transitioning the ball to find Rubin to end with a two-point deficit at half-time.
Going into the second half, the Hoyas came out strong, scoring two points. However, the Penn defense refused to let Georgetown get many more shots off on goal despite losing the majority of face-offs. Rubin quickly assisted Handley, who quickly converted, and Gergar ripped another one into the back of the net. The Hoyas found momentum at the very end of the third quarter, however, with their goalie foiling a Rubin shot and coast-to-coast defensive clear to make it 9-6.
In the final quarter of the game, the Red and Blue came back with Gergar scoring a hat trick and the Penn defense holding Georgetown at a scoring standstill for 13 minutes. Gergar scored again, rebounding a saved Handley shot with a quick ground ball and a behind-the-back finish with less than three minutes left. The Hoyas retaliated, winning the face-off and gaining momentum. The Penn defense was able to scramble to win back the ball twice before turning it over to the Hoyas for a final goal and score of 10-8 in favor of the Hoyas.
In the upcoming weeks, Penn will take on some tough opponents before beginning to take on other members of the Ivy League. The result of the first game and these next couple matchups may serve to better inform the Quakers of how to streamline their playstyle.
In particular, against Georgetown, most notably, the Quakers struggled to win face-offs and ground balls. When Penn did gain possession through ground balls, there often was a conversion, as evidenced with the Bond assist and the Gergar’s back-to-back goal. However, the team struggled to box out and beat Georgetown to the majority of balls, only winning 43% of them. However, the Quakers were also successful against they Hoyas in many ways with freshman goalie Carroll Emmet having an over 0.5 save percentage, the defense holding off a vicious attack for over 10 minutes multiple times, and strong middle and attack duos between Handley, Rubin, Schultz, and Gergar.
As Penn moves into its season, it will be interesting to see where the younger players begin to fit in after a promising start facilitated by the seniors.
Next week, the Quakers will take on Duke in Levittown, N.Y.