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Junior attacker Luke DiNola drives to the goal against Georgetown's Dylan Hess on Feb. 17.

Credit: Weining Ding

Although they almost got bit, the Quakers tamed the Great Danes in a Tuesday matinee. 

No. 24 Penn men’s lacrosse defeated UAlbany 11-7 in a game that saw multiple shifts in momentum. 

UAlbany (0-2) struck quickly, scoring within the first minute of play from the stick of UAlbany attack Silas Richmond. Penn (1-1) fans packing Franklin Field let out a collective groan as the memory of the large deficit the team had quickly fallen into in its season opener was still fresh in everyone's memory. Was there a repeat showing in store? 

After surrendering this goal, the Red and Blue looked to respond with ferocity, and they did just that. Scoring the first goal of the game once again for the Quakers, junior attacker Luke DiNola shot a missile into the back of the net. Following this DiNola dart, the Quakers kept their foot on the gas. 

The first 15 minutes of gameplay were best described as an offensive onslaught. The Red and Blue scoring party was an “open invite,” as five different players for the Quakers picked up goals in the opening period. For the Great Danes, turnovers proved costly as the team repeatedly gifted possession back to the Quakers, setting Penn up for great looks on offense.

The second period saw the Quakers hold onto their lead, but the Red and Blue saw much more contention compared to the previous period. Penn’s seemingly superhero-like defense of the first period now appeared vulnerable, allowing a four-goal bleed. Additionally, Penn overwhelmingly shot the ball less than UAlbany throughout these 15 minutes. The Great Danes recorded 10 shots on goal compared to the Quaker’s four. The inability of the Quakers to get good looks at the net was thanks to the swarming defense of the Purple and Gold, which systematically broke down any offensive play call. Penn was suddenly backed onto its heels. 

Going into halftime, Outkast’s upbeat 2003 hit “Hey Ya!” blasted from the speakers of Franklin Field, echoing off the metal stands. Neither the energy of the Penn players nor their fans huddled for warmth matched the song, as the momentum now belonged to UAlbany. 

To begin the third period, junior attacker Ben Smith scored his third goal of the season off a perfectly placed assist by junior attacker Tynan Walsh. The Walsh-Smith duo proved utmost dominant throughout the third period, as Smith did not have to wait long for his fourth goal of the season. Smith found the back of the net at the 11:54 mark in the quarter, thanks to another assist by Walsh. Walsh was rewarded for his passing as he scored two goals of his own in the period. 

When asked about how the Quakers were able to regain the momentum coming out of halftime, Ben Smith credited his coach.

“Coach Murph just brought us in, and he's always told us before the game to do just the simple plays," Smith said. "One play at a time, and do the little things well. So, kind of focusing possession by possession, just trying to do that and play as a unit. And it worked down the stretch.” 

The final period saw the Quakers hold onto their lead and ultimately win the game 11-7. Although the game’s outcome looked grim following the second period, Penn never allowed the Great Danes to take advantage of their brief hold over the momentum. Following the Red and Blue's loss to Georgetown to open the season, this game felt like a breath of fresh air. Ranked teams should be able to bounce back in dominant fashion after getting hit into the mud, and that is exactly what the Quakers did on Tuesday.

“It’s nice to get into the win column,” Smith, who ended with four goals, said. “It's definitely nice to get the ball rolling after last Saturday, so it's... good for the team.”

Penn is slated to face No. 14 Delaware on Saturday, Feb. 24, in a highly touted matchup. Going into the game, the Quakers look to build off their momentum while simultaneously cleaning up their play. 

Smith pointed out some of these areas of needed improvement, stating, “Grabbing ground balls is a big thing, and then [limiting] penalties, and then turnovers.”

Fans only need to wait less than a week to see if the Quakers do mend some of their ailments and improve to 2-1 on the season.