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M. Hoops ready for Ivy pair

(02/02/01 10:00am)

When the Penn men's basketball team looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year, the Quakers (5-11, 2-0 Ivy League) probably thought tomorrow's game against Brown (7-9, 1-2) would be much tougher than tonight's contest versus Yale (6-10, 3-0). They were mistaken. Instead, it is the upstart Elis who come into the Palestra undefeated in the Ivy League, threatening to end Penn's 23-game Ancient Eight winning streak. This is the same Yale team the Quakers pounded last season, 61-36 and 69-52, en route to an Ivy League championship. And it is the same Yale team that lost its best player, Onaje Woodbine. Woodbine left the team for personal reasons at the beginning of the season. But the Elis have pulled together to become the surprise team of the Ivy League in the early going. Their 3-0 conference record puts them in first place, a half game ahead of Penn and Princeton. "You wonder what playing Yale would be like if Woodbine had decided to stay with them," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "But I think they've gotten over that." Helping the Elis get over the loss of Woodbine is Yale's solid 1-2 punch of sophomore guard Chris Leanza and senior center Neil Yanke. Leanza is averaging 15.8 points per game and is only the second player in Yale history to make over 50 three-pointers in a season. Yanke, meanwhile, is averaging 11.1 points per contest, while pulling down 6.1 rebounds. "Most of the time, when teams would double-team me, I would throw it out and no one would be there to hit the shot," Yanke said. "Now, teams can't let Chris get the ball there, because it's a high percentage shot." Leanza and Yanke are not the only reasons for Yale's recent success. Many of the younger players on the team have also contributed. Freshmen Paul Vitelli and Matt Minoff have had some big games for Yale, as has sophomore Ime Archibong. Archibong is averaging 7.9 points per game and has 18 steals on the season. Minoff also has 18 steals, to go along with 11 blocks and 4.2 points per game. Vitelli is averaging 5.9 points per contest and has compiled 16 steals on the season. "This year, our depth has been one of our greatest strengths," Yanke said. "We're a lot deeper than we have been in the past. When one of our starters gets in foul trouble, we can bring someone in and not lose much. It makes it a lot easier." After Friday's contest against the Elis, the Quakers will welcome Brown to the Palestra. Despite boasting two of the best players in the Ancient Eight in Earl Hunt and Alai Nuualiitia, the Bears are in the middle of the Ivy League pack. Hunt is leading the Ivies with 20.3 points per game,and has pulled down an average of 6.2 boards per game. If Hunt can maintain that pace through March, he will become the first Ivy League player to ever score his 1,000th career point as a sophomore. "He's a real big concern," Dunphy said. "Earl is a real good scorer. He has a knack for playing the game." Nuualiitia has also been a dominant scoring threat. He's hit on over 55 percent of his field goals -- the best mark in the Ivies. Nuualiitia has also scored 11.9 points and averaged 7.3 rebounds per game. The Bears recently snapped a three-game losing streak with an 81-73 win against Northeastern on Tuesday. In that contest, Nuualiitia scored 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting and grabbed 11 boards, while Hunt netted 21 points. Conversely, the Quakers snapped a two-game winning streak with a loss to St. Joseph's on Saturday. The Hawks, one of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 this season, were simply too much for the Quakers as they pulled away, 67-61. It was Penn's third Big 5 loss on the season, and only Villanova remains on the Quakers' City Series schedule. But Penn looks to turn things around this weekend as it heads into the meat of its Ivy League schedule.

Rebounds key to Penn's bounce back

(01/25/01 10:00am)

Despite scoring a season-high 87 points and shooting 49 percent from field goal range, it was not these offensive statistics that stood out at the end of the Penn men's basketball game tonight at the Palestra. Instead, the main factor in the Quakers' 13-point victory over Lehigh was Penn's 17 offensive rebounds. "I thought the key to the game was the offensive boards," Lehigh coach Sal Mentesana said. "People haven't done that to us all season, but we haven't played a team of this caliber either." The Quakers bested the Engineers in total boards 37-30, as Lehigh actually pulled down one more defensive rebound than Penn. But the 17-9 advantage the Quakers held in offensive boards was the outstanding statistic. Not only did the Quakers outrebound the Engineers by eight on the offensive side, but the boards came at key points in the game. With 10:55 left in the contest, the score was 49-45 in Lehigh's favor, as the Quakers had squandered a 10-point halftime lead and were trading baskets with the Engineers. Lehigh then fouled Penn guard Duane King, and the Quakers sophomore made his first free throw. King missed his second shot, but Koko Archibong fought for position under the basket, grabbed the rebound and made a lay-up. From there, the Quakers scored on their next 15 possessions down the court, putting the game out of reach. Adam Chubb also played a key role in keeping Penn in the game by pulling down rebounds. On one of the Quakers early possessions, Lamar Plummer drove down the court and missed a shot. Chubb grabbed the rebound and dunked the ball into the basket, igniting the crowd and adding to a 7-0 Penn run. "Koko had a couple of rebounds off of missed free throws," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "And Adam's going to be a real good player, but he's got to rebound better, although he had some key boards tonight." Duane King was the other leader in offensive boards. In fact, Chubb, Archibong and King all grabbed more offensive rebounds than defensive ones. King's most impressive offensive board came in the first half when, in leading a fast break, he missed his initial lay-up try but grabbed the rebound and succeeded on his second attempt. Not surprisingly, when the Quakers failed to grab offensive boards, the team did not score. After shooting over 45 percent from field goal range in the first half, the Quakers came out flat in the second stanza, missing all of their shots in the first four minutes. In that period, the Engineers managed to grab four of their 21 total defensive rebounds. They rallied to tie the score at 37 and eventually took a lead. But the Red and Blue rebounded, literally and figuratively, to pull out the win. "They are a very good rebounding team," Mentesana said. "They're stronger than us. It wasn't that we didn't box out, it was that they were very good at it." The impressive number of offensive boards overshadowed the Quakers' shortcomings at the line. Missed free throws -- which have been Penn's achilles heel all season -- did not hurt the team tonight, although the Red and Blue shot only 64 percent from the charity stripe in the second half. On more than two occasions, however, when a Penn player missed the second of two free throws, the Quakers were able to grab the rebound and make the second attempt. While consistent play has so far eluded the Red and Blue, Penn's aggressiveness in grabbing boards has resulted in needed scoring opportunities for the up-and-down Quakers.

Terps' insurmountable run kills Quakers

(12/11/00 10:00am)

On February 9, 1927, Maryland became the first visiting team ever to beat Penn at the Palestra, holding the Quakers to only 21 points for the entire game. Ironically, Maryland scored 21 points by itself in less than six minutes in a 21-1 run in the middle of the first half on Saturday night. It was this spurt that made it possible for the Terrapins to beat the Quakers, 73 years after their first victory over Penn. If the Quakers had been able to stop this run and hold Maryland in the first half, the team's magnificent play in the second half might have been good enough to pull off the upset. "As a team, we've been playing in spurts a little too much this year and that's what happened tonight," Penn captain Geoff Owens said. "We didn't play well in the first half and they exploited it because they are a good team." The Quakers actually started the first half well, scoring the first two points of the game and then trading baskets with the Terps for the first five minutes of the half. With Maryland up 9-7, Lamar Plummer came down the floor and drilled a three to put the Quakers up by a point. After a Juan Dixon turnover, Owens was able to penetrate into the lane and hit a layup, giving Penn a three-point lead. As play stopped for a media timeout, the Palestra faithful had visions of a huge upset and the Quakers' first win of the season. But then reality hit. And it hit hard. Dixon made a pair of free throws out of the timeout followed by a Plummer miss on the other end. Byron Mouton drove into the lane, scored the basket and was fouled. Mouton hit the foul shot in what were the first three points of a 19-point first half for the 6'6" junior. "We didn't have an answer for Mouton," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I thought he made some really tough shots." After the Mouton free throw, Maryland put on a full-court press, causing Penn point guard Dave Klatsky to turn the ball over. After the turnover, Mouton converted another three-point play on a foul by Penn forward Josh Sanger. Seconds later, Mouton sunk a three-pointer for his ninth straight point. "I thought Mouton was incredible," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "He's really been a factor for us in the starting role." Mouton, however, was not the only Terp to light up the Quakers in the first half. Dixon showed why he was a pre-season All-American, scoring 12 points and going 5-of-5 from the charity stripe in the first session. Dixon's three-pointer followed by a fast break layup pushed Maryland's lead from seven to 12 with about 11 minutes to go until halftime. Mouton would go on to sink another three-pointer with 9:46 left, capping the blistering 21-1 run and putting the Terrapins up 30-13. When the Quakers finally put an end to the run with two Klatsky foul shots, Maryland kept its offensive machine rolling, leading by as much as 24 with 4:04 left in the half. The Terps went into the locker room with a seemingly comfortable 22-point lead. "It worked out well in the first half to get the lead to where we had it," Williams said. "We played very well in the first half and it wasn't Penn not playing. That's about as good as we've played all year." Maryland's numbers in the first frame certainly echo Williams' sentiments. The Terps shot 51 percent from the field, hitting 7-of-11 three-point attempts. Conversely, the Quakers shot just 9-of-27 from the field and only 22 percent from three-point land. While the Quakers showed signs of brilliance in the second half against the No. 17 team in the country, for about seven minutes in the first half, Penn could not compete, and watched Maryland build a lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

Terp's insurmountable run kills Quakers

(12/11/00 10:00am)

On February 9, 1927, Maryland became the first visiting team ever to beat Penn at the Palestra, holding the Quakers to only 21 points for the entire game. Ironically, Maryland scored 21 points by itself in less than six minutes in a 21-1 run in the middle of the first half on Saturday night. It was this spurt that made it possible for the Terrapins to beat the Quakers, 73 years after their first victory over Penn. If the Quakers had been able to stop this run and hold Maryland in the first half, the team's magnificent play in the second half might have been good enough to pull off the upset. "As a team, we've been playing in spurts a little too much this year and that's what happened tonight," Penn captain Geoff Owens said. "We didn't play well in the first half and they exploited it because they are a good team." The Quakers actually started the first half well, scoring the first two points of the game and then trading baskets with the Terps for the first five minutes of the half. With Maryland up 9-7, Lamar Plummer came down the floor and drilled a three to put the Quakers up by a point. After a Juan Dixon turnover, Owens was able to penetrate into the lane and hit a layup, giving Penn a three-point lead. As play stopped for a media timeout, the Palestra faithful had visions of a huge upset and the Quakers' first win of the season. But then reality hit. And it hit hard. Dixon made a pair of free throws out of the timeout followed by a Plummer miss on the other end. Byron Mouton drove into the lane, scored the basket and was fouled. Mouton hit the foul shot in what were the first three points of a 19-point first half for the 6'6" junior. "We didn't have an answer for Mouton," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I thought he made some really tough shots." After the Mouton free throw, Maryland put on a full-court press, causing Penn point guard Dave Klatsky to turn the ball over. After the turnover, Mouton converted another three-point play on a foul by Penn forward Josh Sanger. Seconds later, Mouton sunk a three-pointer for his ninth straight point. "I thought Mouton was incredible," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "He's really been a factor for us in the starting role." Mouton, however, was not the only Terp to light up the Quakers in the first half. Dixon showed why he was a pre-season All-American, scoring 12 points and going 5-of-5 from the charity stripe in the first session. Dixon's three-pointer followed by a fast break layup pushed Maryland's lead from seven to 12 with about 11 minutes to go until halftime. Mouton would go on to sink another three-pointer with 9:46 left, capping the blistering 21-1 run and putting the Terrapins up 30-13. When the Quakers finally put an end to the run with two Klatsky foul shots, Maryland kept its offensive machine rolling, leading by as much as 24 with 4:04 left in the half. The Terps went into the locker room with a seemingly comfortable 22-point lead. "It worked out well in the first half to get the lead to where we had it," Williams said. "We played very well in the first half and it wasn't Penn not playing. That's about as good as we've played all year." Maryland's numbers in the first frame certainly echo Williams' sentiments. The Terps shot 51 percent from the field, hitting 7-of-11 three-point attempts. Conversely, the Quakers shot just 9-of-27 from the field and only 22 percent from three-point land. While the Quakers showed signs of brilliance in the second half against the No. 17 team in the country, for about seven minutes in the first half, Penn could not compete, and watched Maryland build a lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

Ivy League race should be wide open

(11/16/00 10:00am)

Although the Penn men's basketball team is the preseason favorite to win the Ivy League championship for the third straight year, the Quakers stand to face stiff competition from a number of teams. "Everybody is going to make some noise this year," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think each game will be very tough, and I think anybody can step up and have a good season." Here's a closer look at the Ancient Eight. Brown Coach: Glen Miller 1999-2000 record: 8-19, 4-10 Ivy Key returning players: So. F Earl Hunt; So. F Alaivaa Nuualiitia; Jr. G Jesse Wood; Jr. F Josh Meyer Outlook:Brown has not defeated the Quakers since February 1991, a span of 18 consecutive games. That could all change this year with the return of sophomores Hunt and Nuualiitia. Hunt ranked second in the league in scoring last year at 17.0 points per game, while Nuualiitia put up 13.3 ppg and 6.6 rebounds per game. The Bears also welcome back forward Shawn Etheridge, who was the team's top scorer going into last season but missed much of the '99-'00 campaign with a broken foot. In the backcourt, the Bears will rely on Wood, who sank 51 three-pointers last season. Point guard Omari Ware is probably Brown's best athlete and should start. "Brown made a significant impact in the Ivy League last year and should continue that this year," Dunphy said. Columbia Coach: Armond Hill 1999-2000 record: 13-14, 7-7 Key returning players: Jr. F Craig Austin; Jr. F Joe Case; Jr. F/C Mike McBrien; So. C Chris Wiedemann. Outlook:Columbia looked to have all five of its starters returning, but a preseason injury to senior guard Treg Duerksen dashed those hopes. Still, the Lions have a formidable team led by Austin, who was the first Columbia player to be named first team All-Ivy since 1993. Austin averaged 14.2 points per game and will be joined in the frontcourt by Wiedemann, who tallied 10.2 ppg last year, and Case, who grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game. The backcourt is now weaker without Duerksen, but juniors Victor Munoz and Derrick Murphy, who split time at point guard last season, will both play now. "It's a shame about Duerksen," Dunphy said. "But they still have one of the better players in the league in Austin, so he'll be able to help them compete." Cornell Coach: Steve Donahue 1999-2000 record: 10-17, 3-11 Key returning players: Sr. F Ray Mercedes; Jr. F Greg Barratt; Jr. G Wallace Prather; Sr. G Kevin Cuttica; So. G David Muller Outlook: If one team might have an advantage over Penn, it could be Cornell. That's because first-year coach Steve Donahue was the Quakers' assistant for 10 seasons. "I think Cornell will be improved," Dunphy said. "I think if those guys buy into what coach Donahue is teaching, they will have a good team." Donahue inherits the last-place team in the Ivies, but with four of their top players returning, the Big Red should improve. Mercedes leads the way. Last season he led the team in points at 14.8 per contest. Prather anchors the Big Red backcourt. He was second on the team in scoring last season with 12.7 points per game and first in assists and steals with 3.4 and 2.0 per game, respectively. Muller, who averaged 4.9 points per game last year, will join Prather at guard. Dartmouth Coach: Dave Faucher 1999-2000 record: 9-18, 5-9 Key returning players: Sr. G Greg Buth; Jr. G Flinder Boyd; Sr. F Ian McGinnis; Jr. F Vedad Osmanovic Outlook: Dartmouth will miss graduated forward Shaun Gee and his 18.1 points per game, but the Big Green expect big things from McGinnis at center. He led the nation in rebounding as a sophomore with 12.2 per game and is third all-time with 768 boards at Dartmouth. The Big Green might have the best backcourt in the league. At point guard, Boyd tallied 6.96 assists per game, which was good for 11th in the nation. At the other guard position, Buth will try to improve upon his 16.9 points a game average to make up for the departed Gee. "Dartmouth is going to be improved," Dunphy said. "I don't think you're going to see Dartmouth go 5-9. The fact that they lost Gee is one thing, but I like their first five guys." Harvard Coach: Frank Sullivan 1999-2000 record: 12-15, 7-7 Key returning players: Sr. F Dan Clemente; Jr. G Andrew Gellert; So. G Elliott Prasse-Freeman Outlook: Of all of the Ivy teams, Harvard gave the Quakers their biggest scare last season, as the Crimson lost by only one point when the teams met in Boston last February when Clemente's buzzer-beater attempt bounced away. The Crimson will be strong again this year despite losing two big scorers in Tim Coleman and Damien Long. Clemente was named first team All-Ivy last season even though he missed 11 games with a detached retina. His 18.6 points per game would have led the Ivy League, had he not missed those games. Harvard also boasts the league assists leader in Prasse-Freeman and steals leader in Gellert. "Harvard has some really good perimeter guys," Dunphy said. "I like how they approach the game." Princeton Coach: John Thompson III 1999-2000 record: 19-11, 11-3 Key returning players: Sr. G C.J. Chapman; Jr. G Ahmed El-Nokali; Jr. G/F Eugene Baah; Jr. F Nate Walton. Outlook: When Michael Jordan and Matt Langel graduated in May, Princeton seemed to have an inside track on the league title. But then something went terribly wrong at Old Nassau. Instead of losing just Mason Rocca to graduation, first team All-Ivy center Chris Young left to play pro baseball and guard Spencer Gloger transferred to UCLA. All of a sudden, the Tigers went from being a sure title contender to being a team with a lot of question marks. On the bright side, guards Chapman and El-Nokali should provide some stability in the backcourt. Last season, Chapman put up 8.0 points a game while El-Nokali tallied 6.9. Chris Krug returns after missing a year in the frontcourt, and he will be joined by Nate Walton, who averaged 4.4 rebounds per game during the '99-'00 season. "I don't think you can ever discount Princeton just because of who they are and the winning tradition that they have," Dunphy said. Yale Coach: James Jones 1999-2000 record: 7-20, 5-9 Key returning players: So. G Chris Leanza; Sr. C Neil Yanke Outlook: The Elis are the Ivy League's youngest team, welcoming six newcomers. But Yale might have lost its chance at contending for a title when Onaje Woodbine decided to quit the team to pursue his studies. However, Leanza and Yanke might lead this team to surprise some in the league. Last season, Leanza averaged 12.3 ppg, while Yanke pulled down 7.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Isaiah Cavaco missed most of last season but had a good sophomore campaign and looks to contribute this year. Freshmen Matt Minoff and Paul Vitelli could see early action in the backcourt if Cavaco should falter. Sophomore forward Bill Parkhurst is the only other Eli besides Yanke and Leanza to have seen significant action last season and is expected to have a good year.

Defense stops Bears to enable comeback

(10/30/00 10:00am)

In a game where there were 55 first downs, 875 passing yards and 1,050 yards of total offense between Penn and Brown, defense was obviously not the story of the day. And while it is true that the Quakers defense allowed Brown's offense to score five touchdowns, the Penn offense could not have gotten the ball back at the end of the fourth quarter to make its miracle comeback without the strong defensive stands at the end of the game. With 10 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game, Penn wideout Rob Milanese fumbled the ball on his own 42-yard line. Brown had just scored its third touchdown of the second half, and the weary Penn defense was forced back onto the field. The Brown offense started up just where it had left off the previous drive, with quarterback Eric Webber completing a 15-yard pass to Stephen Campbell, which was followed by a 10-yard Mike Malan run. A Quakers penalty gave the Bears first and goal from the five-yard line, and it looked certain that Brown would take a commanding 42-20 lead. But it was at this point that the Quakers defense dug in. Ed Galan stuffed Malan for a loss of five, and two plays later the Bears were forced to kick a field goal. "We have an explosive offense," Penn co-captain Joey Alofatuli said. "As long as we can get some drive stops in there somewhere, we can turn the ball over to the offense and they have the capability of scoring." But the Quakers offense wasn't able to turn itself around just yet. After a Gavin Hoffman incompletion, an intentional grounding and a completion that came up short of a first down, Ryan Lazzeri was forced to punt to the potent Brown offense again. With only 6:10 to go in the game, the Penn defense had to make a stop -- and fast. Surprisingly, after a one-yard run on first down, the Bears elected to throw the ball on second and third downs. Both attempts were incomplete, and Brown was forced to punt. The drive lasted just 1:06. "I assume that if you have those kind of receivers and the quarterback is putting up the kind of numbers he is, you are going to try and throw some high percentage passes," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said of the Brown play selection. "But, if you don't complete them, time doesn't come off the clock." With 5:04 left, the Quakers offense drove down the field in 17 seconds and scored a touchdown, cutting the lead to 38-27. But the Penn defense still needed two more stops to make a Quakers win possible. The Bears started their next drive on the Penn 41 after a failed on-side kick, putting even more pressure on the defense. But John Galan penetrated the line on a first-down rushing play, tackling Malan three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Brown passed on the next two downs, and was forced to punt on the third. But there was no rest for the Quakers' weary "D." The Red and Blue defensive unit was back on the field 17 seconds later after another offensive strike. With their lead cut to 38-33, the Bears were able to complete a 17-yard pass to Campbell. But instead of running out the clock, Penn's ability to stop the ground game compelled the Bears to pass on the next three plays, and they came up short on each. "We didn't get the first downs that we had to," Brown coach Phil Estes said. "I know how good this Penn offense is, and giving them the ball in the fourth quarter with any amount of time, that there was the possibility that they were going to come back and score." The Quakers defense gave the offense the ball with 1:41 left in the game, which was plenty of time to pull off another TD. Brown got the ball back with 28 seconds left, but after two complete passes to Campbell, backup quarterback Kyle Rowley was brought in to attempt the Hail Mary. While the pass was well short of the end zone, Campbell caught the ball and quickly lateralled to a teammate. Another lateral followed, and it almost looked as if Brown might score. But the Penn defense had worked too hard to watch the game end like that. A frantic Brown lateral went out of bounds, and Penn had its improbable victory.

Football to chase Campbell

(10/26/00 9:00am)

Through the first six games of the 2000 season, the Penn football team's defense has faced some of the finest receivers in Division I-AA. Phil Yarberough from Lafayette, Damien Roomets from Dartmouth and Yale's Eric Johnson are all talented wideouts who the Quakers had to try to contain. It won't get any easier this weekend against Brown. The Bears possess the No. 1 offense in Division I-AA, and leading that offense is Stephen Campbell, a wide receiver whose individual statistics compare with some of the best college wideouts to ever play the game. Right now, Campbell has 253 career receptions, leaving him in fourth place and only 53 receptions behind a former Mississippi Valley State player by the name of Jerry Rice, who set the career collegiate receptions record of 301 before moving on to NFL stardom. If Campbell catches 12 balls a game for the Bears' remaining four games, he will tie the record. "Stephen has tremendous natural ability," Brown coach Phil Estes said. "But he also works very hard. He worked all summer to improve his speed and always studies film. He is an all-around great competitor and has such a great feel for the football field." Currently, Campbell is atop the Division I-AA leaderboard in almost every wideout category. He is No. 1 in receptions with 68. He leads in yards per game at 126.0 and in total yards with 756. Despite his individual achievements, Campbell gives a lot of credit for his success to the Brown football program. "Our system is predicated on the pass, which has allowed me to have really good numbers," Campbell said. "The coaches really make sure the players fit the system well, which has been a main reason for the team's and my success." Although he hasn't always been the best in the country, Campbell has been a standout ever since his rookie season in 1997. That year he caught 35 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns, and his numbers have improved steadily every year. In his sophomore year, Campbell was a first team All-Ivy selection and was second in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game in the Ivies. Last season, the Kent, Wash., native had a breakout year. Sean Morey, a Brown wide receiver standout who was drafted by the New England Patriots, graduated in May 1999 -- leaving Campbell as the premier target. Campbell played an integral role in Brown's Ivy-title winning campaign last year. He compiled numbers that ranked him among the nation's best. He caught 89 passes, which is good for 11th best all-time in Division I-AA history. His average of 8.9 receptions per game was sixth in I-AA. He was a unanimous first team All-Ivy and All-ECAC selection. All of those attributes have certainly shown while playing against Penn in the last few years. Last season, Campbell had a stellar game against the Quakers, catching 10 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. In 1998, he had nine receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns against the Red and Blue. "He's a very consistent receiver; he gets the job done," Penn cornerback Hasani White said. "The key thing is that we're not going to let the best person beat us. We're going to make Brown beat us with somebody else. They have the No. 1 offense in the country and he is a focal point. But they are spreading the offense around, so it's going to be a collective effort." Although Campbell is the go-to guy on the Bears offense, running back Mike Malan and wideouts Chas Gessner and Bill Rackley lead a talented supporting cast. Malan ran for a career-high 234 yards and five touchdowns last week against Cornell, and Gessner and Rackley have been consistent all season, compiling 385 and 376 receiving yards respectively. "They are making more of a commitment running the ball with Malan, and they're doing a better job of spreading the ball around, but Campbell is still the No. 1 guy on that offense," Bagnoli said. With statistics such as Campbell's, the 6'3", 205-pound receiver certainly has a shot to be drafted into the NFL in April. But Campbell is trying to remain focused on the season. "Right now, I am trying to focus on the year, but it is a goal of mine," he said.

Football loaded for Ivy opener

(09/29/00 9:00am)

When your quarterback has averaged 328.5 yards per game in his first two contests and your opponent has let up 42 points and 298.5 passing yards in its first two games, the odds of a victory are most definitely in your favor. Add to that your first team All-League running back's return to the lineup, and you're in even better shape. That's the scenario for the Penn football team as it faces Dartmouth tomorrow in both teams' first Ivy League game of the season at Franklin Field. The Quakers (1-1) are coming off an impressive 45-28 win over Lafayette, while the Big Green (0-2) have yet to win a game, losing last week to New Hampshire, 42-21. Although Dartmouth has lost both of its contests, the Quakers are ready for a battle. "I think they are much improved," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "They've had a couple of injuries in the secondary, which seems to hurt them. I think they are playing hard. They're averaging [391] yards a game of offense. They move the ball against everybody." But everybody has had no trouble moving the ball against them either. Last week, the Big Green allowed touchdowns of 39, 60 and 75 yards and allowed 21 points in the first quarter alone. Dartmouth's offense has been convincing, however. Against UNH last week, backup quarterback Greg Smith threw for three touchdowns and 283 yards, and Damien Roomets had a team-record 17 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns. "I think we played a couple of really good teams in Colgate and UNH," Dartmouth coach John Lyons said. "I think offensively we've made big improvements from last year. I think we're moving the ball better than we had." Penn's offense has been just as good. Over the first two games, Gavin Hoffman has thrown for 356 yards in the loss at Lehigh and 301 yards in the win over Lafayette. Hoffman found nine different receivers for the second straight game last week. Those targets included senior tight end Ben Zagorski and senior wide receivers Doug O'Neill and John Holahan for touchdowns. "Offensively, we continue to be somewhat productive when given opportunities," Bagnoli said. "We went in there trying to get a running game a little bit better established than we did against Lehigh. We ended up rushing for 150-plus yards." That running game should be further bolstered by the return of Kris Ryan. Ryan has sat out the first two games due to a high-ankle sprain, but is primed for his return tomorrow. "I'm happy to get back into the mix," Ryan said. Despite Ryan's return, the offensive strategy that has been so successful is not expected to shift. "I don't think the game plan has changed," Hoffman said. "I don't think we adapted it when he left. But he's certainly a weapon and we're going to get him involved." Coincidentally, Ryan made his first collegiate start in last season's Penn game against Dartmouth. In that contest, Hoffman threw for 196 yards and one touchdown, while Ryan ran for a then-career high 99 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown scamper in a 17-6 Penn win. That win made it two in a row for the Quakers over Dartmouth and six out of the last 10. Penn remains confident that it can make it three in a row tomorrow. In spite of a good performance last week, the Quakers know they have yet to put together a full game. "Overall, we played well last week," Penn safety Hasani White said. "The defense let down at times, but we held [Lafayette] to 198 yards. We held Lehigh to 300 yards. They hadn't been held to 300 yards in 15 years, so the defense is playing well. But we haven't played four quarters yet, three, maybe two quarters, but we've yet to play a four-quarter game and that's what we're looking for this week." A full game would be a welcome sight in the Quakers' first Ivy League game. They know that the first two games meant nothing in the standings. "We definitely realize there's a lot more riding on this game," Hoffman said. "If we lose this game, the games we play in November mean nothing." If Penn's defense can shut down the Big Green as it has its previous two opponents and its offense continues to roll, the Quakers should have little trouble gaining their first Ancient Eight win.

Former M. Soccer goalie in A-League

(09/27/00 9:00am)

At a school like Penn, not many athletes go on to play professionally. Doug Glanville, Jerome Allen and Jim Finn were all talented enough to take their athletic careers to the next level, but they are more the exceptions than the rule. After his season with the Hershey Wildcats of the A-League, former Penn soccer goalie Mike O'Connor is on his way to membership on that short list. O'Connor, who graduated in May, was a star on Rhodes Field from his rookie season in 1996. That year, he earned All-Ivy team honors as well as All-Mid-Atlantic team status. He was also named 1996 Ivy Rookie of the Year. Needless to say, his future looked bright. During a club practice in the spring of 1997, however, O'Connor tore his meniscus while diving for a ball, thus putting his young career in jeopardy. After surgery and extensive rehab, he was able to play his sophomore year, but his knee hadn't fully recovered. He had surgery again after sophomore year, but in his junior season, O'Connor still hadn't regained his top form that was so impressive in '96. But O'Connor made a dramatic comeback last season, starting all 17 games, posting a 91.8% save percentage and earning All-Ivy honorable mention. For his career, he holds the Quakers record for shutouts with 14.5, total minutes played with 5,750 and minutes played in a season with 1,560. "A keeper of Mike's caliber has the ability to singlehandedly keep the team in a game," Penn coach Rudy Fuller said. "There were a number of games last season when he did just that." Even though his senior season came to a close, O'Connor had his career back on track. So he decided to continue playing. "A lot of my friends were interviewing for jobs," O'Connor said. "But soccer was something I really wanted to pursue." After an unsuccessful attempt to make a team in Boston, O'Connor was given a chance to play for the Delaware Wizards. Balancing classes and practice, O'Connor played with the Wizards, a division II team, through mid-June. He impressed the coaches so much in the short time he was with the Wizards that he was promoted to the Hershey Wildcats, a team that acts a feeder to D.C. United, the Major League Soccer team. Even at America's second-highest level of professional soccer, O'Connor continued to excel. He started eight of the team's last 10 games, and the Wildcats posted a 6-1-1 record during that span. In those eight starts, O'Connor recorded five shutouts and maintained an 0.76 goals against average. Even though he is having so much success on the Wildcats, O'Connor believes that there is a tremendous difference between college and professional soccer. "[Professional] soccer is so much more physical, much faster, and overall more exciting," he said. This experience has also allowed O'Connor to play against some of the best players in the world. In one game, the Philadelphia native faced a one-on-one situation with Jamaican international Onandi Lowe, a 6'3" forward. O'Connor is the first Quaker under Fuller to get the opportunity to play professionally. "It's really a great thing not only for Mike, but also for the Penn program," the third-year coach said. The Wildcats ended their season in fifth place in the A-League's 13-team Eastern Conference. They made the playoffs but lost in the first round to perennial league powerhouse Rochester by a 3-2 score. Despite the sour end to the season, O'Connor's enthusiasm was not dampened. "The Rochester game was a tough loss. But they have the most fans there, and we got to play in front of 17,000 people," he said. "It was really exciting." The Wildcats signed O'Connor to a two-year contract, so he is almost assured a spot on the roster next season. In the offseason, O'Connor will probably land a position on an indoor soccer team to keep in shape for next year. As for the possibility of making it to the MLS, O'Connor is hopeful, but reserved. "A few guys got called up from the team this year," he said. "You never know what is going to happen. I'm hoping to have a real good preseason and take it from there." One thing O'Connor does know is that he does not regret making this tough and unorthodox decision. "Even if I had a great job, I'd know I'd always be second guessing how far I could have taken soccer," he said.

Hot third vaults Syracuse by M. Lax

(04/24/00 9:00am)

Penn was tied with the No. 2 Orangemen at the half, but then faltered. A tough season for the Penn men's lacrosse team got a little tougher on Saturday when the Quakers suffered a disappointing loss to national No. 2 Syracuse. Penn (5-8) entered halftime tied 3-3 with the formidable Orangemen (10-1), but Syracuse went on a 6-0 run in the third quarter and ended up winning the game, 9-4. While the Quakers are upset with the loss, they know they put up a good fight against a national powerhouse. "Syracuse is a team that tends to have runs, and the third quarter was when they had theirs," Penn senior co-captain Pete Janney said. "The defense still played phenomenally, and [Penn goalie] John Carroll made some huge saves in goal." Despite giving up six goals in the third, not only did the Penn defense hold the Orangemen to their lowest goal output all season, but they also held Syracuse to only its second scoreless period of the season in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Quakers, however, their offense couldn't hold up in the second half. "We were getting some really good possessions throughout the game, but we had a lot of problems finishing," Janney said. The statistics sheet shows that shooting accuracy was a problem for Penn, as the Quakers took 42 shots -- only three fewer than the Orangemen -- but Syracuse goalie Rob Mulligan was forced to make just 16 saves. Other offensive categories illustrate that the Quakers and the Orangemen were pretty evenly matched as well. Syracuse scooped 43 ground balls to Penn's 34, and the Red and Blue had four fewer face-off wins during the game. This parity was most evident throughout the first half. Both teams got off to slow starts offensively, and the first goal wasn't scored until Syracuse sophomore Michael Springer took a Ryan Powell feed and put the ball past Carroll with 4:51 left in the first quarter. The Quakers quickly countered when Billy Reidy scored 33 seconds later on an unassisted goal. Penn and Syracuse traded goals throughout the first half, ending the first quarter tied 2-2 and the second knotted at three. The last goal of the half, off the stick of Todd Minerley, came with 33 seconds left. Minerley also assisted on two goals. Coming out of halftime, the Quakers looked to continue to match the Orangemen's intensity, but that was not to be. With less than five minutes gone by in the half, Springer scored his third goal of the day on a pass from Josh Coffman. From there, Syracuse went on to score five goals over the next 7:03 of play to sink the Quakers' hopes of an upset. "We called a timeout to try to stop the run and were able to stop them from there," Janney said. "But it was too late because the offense couldn't counter. Reidy tallied his second score of the day early in the fourth quarter, but the Quakers failed to rally despite taking 13 shots on goal, winning two face-offs and holding their opponents scoreless. The game was slightly reminiscent of the meeting between these two teams last season. In that contest, the teams went into the second quarter of play tied at one, but the Orangemen erupted, scoring 11 out of the next 12 goals over the middle two periods. In the 2000 version, however, Penn was able to play as good and at times better than an athletically superior team for three out of four quarters. What can put the Quakers at ease even more is the fact that the Orangemen went on to smoke Princeton, 16-4, the day after the Penn-Syracuse meeting. The defeat was the Tigers' worst since a 1990 loss to Johns Hopkins. Springer continued his torrid weekend, tallying a career-high five goals -- he set his previous career-high the day before with four -- and Powell contributed with six assists and a goal. With the defeat, Penn can no longer finish the season with a .500 record, since it has only one more game on the road. The Quakers face Delaware away next weekend and would like to end their season like they started it, on a high note. Penn opened its season with an upset win over nationally ranked Notre Dame, but has since fallen on hard times, losing eight of its last 12. The game also represents the last for seniors Janney, Reidy, co-captain Bill Fowler and Mike Kehoe. "It's starting to hit me that this is our last game," Janney said. "It would really be great to go out on a positive note."

M. Lax aims to break 80-year losing streak

(04/21/00 9:00am)

Penn faces No. 2 Syracuse tomorrow. The Quakers haven't beat the Orange since 1919. To say the Penn men's lacrosse team faces an uphill battle when it meets national powerhouse Syracuse on Saturday might just be the understatement of the year. Take into account the following: The Quakers-Orangemen rivalry dates back to 1918 with Syracuse winning 22 of the 24 previous meeting. Penn's last win came during the Wilson Administration and before the Black Sox threw the World Series -- the Red and Blue eked out a 2-1 victory in 1919. Syracuse is 8-1 and ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Quakers are 5-7 and have lost four of their last five. But despite the stacked odds, Penn still believes it has a good shot at beating the Orangemen. "If we limit our number of turnovers and the defense has a really solid game, we have a chance of winning," Penn co-captain Bill Fowler said. "They have an awesome offense, so we can't allow any easy goals." For Penn, however, the season has been marked with uneven play. Perfect examples of this inconsistency are its past two contests against Villanova and Brown. Last Wednesday against Villanova, the Quakers suffered a heartbreaking double-overtime loss, 15-14. In that game, they took an early 6-3 lead, but a 9-2 Wildcats run put the Red and Blue back on the offensive. Junior Todd Minerley scored with 28 seconds left to tie the score at 14, but the Quakers couldn't hold the momentum and lost when Villanova's Eric Dauer put the ball past Penn goalie Ryan Kelly in the second extra-frame. The results weren't any better for the Quakers last Saturday in their final home and Ivy game of the season against Brown. Penn had control for much of the game but trailed by one at the end of the first half and by four at the end of the third quarter. The Quakers managed to tally four goals in the final frame, but they still came up short, losing 9-7. This kind of erratic play will knock the Quakers right out of the game on Saturday when they take on the Orangemen at neutral-site Princeton. Syracuse boasts one of the most powerful offenses in the country and has the statistics to prove it. The team is outshooting its opponents, 370-307, and is outscoring them, 130-76. That means the Orangemen are beating their opponents by six goals per game. As far as faceoffs, another important offensive category, go Syracuse is winning seven more than their opponents per game. Behind their impressive stats are some very talented players. All-American Ryan Powell leads the team in both goals with 27 and assists with 28, which is good for 55 points. Sophomore Michael Springer has tallied 25 goals thus far this season with 10 assists, and sophomore Liam Banks has 18 goals and 25 assists. "On defense, we're not doing anything different," Fowler said. "We're just going to have to play a tough zone." The Orangemen defense is just as talented as their offense. Seniors Marshall Abrams and Joe Ceglia lead the backline and Abrams is known as one of the best stickhandlers in the country. Penn's defense -- and offense -- will not only have to be better than it has been all season in order to beat Syracuse, but also better than when these two teams met up last year. In that contest, held in Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, the Orangemen beat the Quakers soundly, 16-7. Like this season, the Quakers' play was topsy-turvy throughout the game. The two teams ended the first quarter 1-1, but Syracuse went on a 11-1 run in the two middle periods and never looked back from there. Highlights for the Quakers were few, but co-captain Peter Janney did net one goal and record two assists. From the record and the ranking, the Orangemen are arguably even better this year, although they are 1-1 in their last two games. The 'Cuse is coming off a 16-8 win against Rutgers, but coach John Desko's squad lost its undefeated record and its No. 1 ranking on April 11 against Cornell after the upstart Big Red surprised the Orange, 13-12. Syracuse had retained the top-team status since their first game of the season when they beat Virginia. With the loss to the Big Red though, they dropped to No 2. While a Penn win would be huge for a team that has had a disappointing season, the Quakers know that a victory would not change what has happened in 2000. "As far as winning, it would be great as something to look back on, beating the No. 2 team in the country," Fowler said. "But, it's definitely not something that's going to save the season. The Ivies were the most important, and we don't have any more of those games."

M. Lax looks for revenge

(04/12/00 9:00am)

Penn hopes to get back at Villanova for an upset loss on the Main Line last year. The Penn men's lacrosse team (5-5) will have revenge in mind when the Quakers face Villanova tonight at 7 p.m. at Franklin Field. In what was probably the biggest upset of the 1999 season for Penn, the Red and Blue dropped a 7-5 heartbreaker to the Wildcats last year on the Main Line, allowing four goals in the final quarter. "We have a bad taste in our mouths from last year," Penn co-captain Pete Janney said. "That's really pushing us to work hard for this game." The Quakers are coming off their first Ivy League win, a 7-4 victory over Dartmouth this past Saturday, marked by an impressive defensive effort. The backline must continue its strong play tonight against a Wildcats team that boasts a high-octane offense. Villanova returns 13 seniors, including its three best players -- Chris Lawson, Eric Dauer and Jack McTigue -- in the midfield. Lawson leads the team with 19 goals; Dauer has tallied 16 thus far this season; and McTigue has 25 assists to go along with two goals. "They are all strong, very powerful athletes," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "The midfield line is probably as good as we're going to see all season." Those three players had the biggest impact for the Wildcats in last season's game against the Quakers. In that contest, Penn got off to a slow start when Lawson put a crisp shot past Matt Schroeder, the Red and Blue's goalie of a year ago. Just minutes later, Dauer scored when the ball bounced off a defender's stick and into the goal. The Quakers rebounded, however, and held the Cats scoreless for the rest of the half. After two goals from Janney and one each by Scott Solow and Todd Minerley, the Quakers took a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter. But that was when Penn shut down. Villanova stormed back to tally four goals in the last quarter, including Lawson's second goal of the game. McTigue assisted on every goal of the quarter, as the frustrated Quakers could not net one and were upset, 7-4. In a display of futility, the once-strong Penn offense was not only held to a meager four goals, but was also outshot, 36-27. The defeat sent the Red and Blue into a downward spiral as the team lost its last two contests by a combined 12 goals. Despite last year's game being being billed as an upset, the Wildcats have no reason to believe they can't beat the Quakers again. Villanova (6-3) is coming off a convincing victory last weekend against Fairfield. The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter and extended that to 5-2 at the half. Villanova continued its strong play in the second half and defeated the Stags, 12-7. Dauer totaled three goals, while Lawson added two and McTigue tallied three assists. "They are very confident right now," Van Arsdale said. "They've been playing very well recently, and the game should be two evenly matched teams with some momentum coming off wins." While the Wildcats offense has been given much attention by opposing teams, adversaries must also be mindful of their reliable defense. In last year's game, junior defender Brian O'Hagan shut down Minerley, which prevented the Quakers offense from getting quality feeds. A win at Franklin Field today would give the Quakers their first winning streak since the first two games of the season, when Penn upset Notre Dame it its home opener and followed that up with a win against Bucknell. The victory would also give the Red and Blue confidence going into the tough three-game stretch that ends their season. Before the month is out, the Quakers will face Brown, Syracuse and Delaware -- Penn lost to all three last season. "Syracuse is one that will probably take a little more than extra on our part and a little less on theirs," Van Arsdale said. "But the other two games are very winnable." If the Quakers can pull of a win tonight, maybe they can get used to the feeling of revenge and end their season on an upswing.

M. Lax tops Dartmouth on the road

(04/11/00 9:00am)

Adam Solow scored twice in his return to the school that he attended for two years. After four unsuccessful attempts, the Penn men's lacrosse team came back from Dartmouth this weekend with its first Ivy League victory of the 2000 season in hand. The Quakers (5-5, 1-4 Ivy League) had lost to Ivy rivals Yale, Harvard, Cornell and Princeton before picking up the 7-4 victory against the Big Green (3-4, 0-1) on Saturday afternoon in Hanover, N.H. "It was definitely huge to get the win at Dartmouth," co-captain Pete Janney said. "Losing to the other Ivy teams was getting a little stale, and we didn't want to go 0-6 in the league." While the win gives the Red and Blue confidence for the remaining four games in the season, the victory was not always a given. The Quakers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after goals by Janney, middie Kevin Cadin and middie Adam Solow. Janney scored 51 seconds into the game off a set play following a face-off. Janney won the face-off and passed the ball back to Penn's Billy Reidy. Reidy fed the ball to Janney, who fired it on goal for the first score of the game. Cadin followed suit 10 minutes later, netting his first of two goals on the day for the Quakers. The third score of the first quarter came from Solow. His goal was especially meaningful considering the fact that he transferred from Dartmouth this season after leading the Big Green in scoring in 1999. "It was important for Adam to get going early," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "He did, and played a good game." Penn's momentum would switch quickly, as Dartmouth capitalized on Quakers turnovers and knotted the game at three going into halftime. "We made really stupid mistakes in the second quarter," Janney said. "We didn't handle the ball well on the perimeter. We made a lot of bad passes and didn't give the offense enough opportunities overall." The lack of focus illustrated in the second frame did not carry over in the third, however. The Quakers, who spent time in the nation's top 20 earlier on in the season, rebounded to pull away from the Big Green, the usual cellar-dweller of the Ivy League. Dartmouth goalie Mike Gault went out early in the third quarter with an injury, and the Quakers took advantage. With just over four minutes gone by in the second half, Reidy, unassisted, scored the most crucial goal of the day to make the score 4-3 in Penn's favor. "Reidy was all over the field," Van Arsdale said. "He got to a bunch of ground balls, and we were able to let out a sigh of relief after he scored in the third." Five minutes later, Cadin put the ball past backup Dartmouth netminder Patrick McClammer, in what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Cadin had two assists to go along with his two goals. "I was just working off the ball, and I was in the right place at the right time," Cadin said. "We moved the ball around pretty well in the second half." Following Casey Burlage's second goal of the day for the Big Green, the Solow brothers scored the last two goals of the contest. First, Adam found the net. Then Scott scored to preserve the 7-4 win. Scott also tallied two assists. Penn goalie Ryan Kelly made 15 saves in the victory. With the victory at Dartmouth, the team hopes it can relax now that it no longer needs to worry about winning an Ivy game. "Hopefully, because the team has more confidence, it will lead to us loosening up a little," Van Arsdale said. "The effort and intensity was certainly there, but the execution isn't always there, which can be a sign of the team being a little uptight." One area of the field that certainly gained confidence from Hanover was the defense. Besides holding the Big Green to just four goals, the backline consistently held off Dartmouth attackers on breakaways when the offense turned the ball over. "The team defense was very strong," Janney said. "They were really convincing in the first quarter and continued that play throughout the game. Ryan played a great game in goal as well." With four games to go, the Quakers know they can still make something of their season. With games against Villanova, Brown, Syracuse and Delaware, they know all the games will be hard-fought but winnable. "We've been practicing well for the last week," Van Arsdale said. "The game this weekend was not picture perfect, and we know we can keep getting better."

M. Lax seniors look to take first-ever win over Tigers

(04/04/00 9:00am)

Princeton is riding a 26-game Ivy winning streak into today's game against Penn at Old Nassau. Penn men's lacrosse star Pete Janney has received many accolades in his four years as a Quaker. Last year, he was first team All-Ivy selection and an All-American honorable mention. Three years ago, he became the first Penn player to be named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. There is, however, something he has not accomplished. Janney, and the rest of the Class of 2000, have never beaten Princeton. They get their final chance at the Tigers tonight at 7 p.m. at Old Nassau's Class of 1952 Stadium. "I want this win a lot," Janney said. "Knowing how much they've been able to accomplish while I've been here, being able to knock them off would be great." Although not beating Princeton in four years is disappointing, the seniors and the rest of the team are in good company. The Tigers (4-1, 1-0 Ivy League) are riding a 26-game winning streak in the Ivies, as well as a 10-game winning streak against Penn (4-4, 0-3). Princeton is also seeking its sixth straight Ivy title this season. Also, in the four years that Janney has been at Penn, the Tigers have won two national championships. The Quakers can take pride in the fact that the only one-goal Ivy game that the Tigers have been a part of since the streak began took place last year at Franklin Field. In that game, Princeton spotted Penn a 7-3 lead into the third quarter before coming back to score six straight goals. The Quakers had a chance to tie the score with 10 seconds left in the game, but the Tigers were able to withstand the breakaway and came away with the victory. "We played an awfully tight game with them last year," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "It's similar this year that they clearly have more than anybody in the league, but the gap is not what it was two or three years ago." Despite not possessing the dominance over the league of past years, Princeton still has several dominant players. The Tiger that the Quakers have to be most fearful of is senior Josh Sims. Sims -- a high school teammate of Janney -- has scored at least four points in all of Princeton's games this season. "Sims is easily the Ivy Player of the Year favorite," Van Arsdale said. "He's just one of the best, if not the best, midfielders in the country." While Sims is clearly the one to watch, the Tigers have many more weapons. On the defensive end, they lost all of last year's starters to graduation. But freshman Damien Davis has played a crucial role in this year's squad, becoming only the third rookie at Princeton since 1991 to start the first game of his freshman year. "They're young on defense, but we have to concentrate on making as few mistakes on the offensive end as possible," Janney said. On offense, the Tigers are dangerous as well. Senior Matt Striebel guides the frontline and is second on the team in scoring with 10 points. B.J. Prager is is second on the team in goals with seven. "They were playing with a lot of young people offensively last year, and they've grown up," Van Arsdale said. "Matt Striebel runs the show, on that end. He's a very good athlete and someone we also need to pay attention to." The Quakers are coming off a difficult loss to Cornell last weekend. In that game, the Quakers were up 5-4 before the Big Red went on a run, scoring 12 of the next 14 goals. Penn dropped to 0-3 in the league and to 4-4 overall. "For us as a team to be successful, there is a certain way we need to play, and we did that in the first half," Van Arsdale said. "We won a fair amount of face-offs; we took long possessions; we moved the ball around well; and we didn't have any turnovers. That kind of play rests the defense. In the second half we didn't do any of that." Conversely, Princeton is coming into tonight's game fresh off a convincing win over a Yale team that beat the Quakers earlier in the season. The Tigers trounced the Elis, 17-5, with Brendan Tierney leading the team with three goals and two assists. Princeton played stellar defense throughout the game, holding Yale scoreless in the first quarter and only allowing one goal in the first half. While the odds may be against the Quakers, they can take solace in this fact: Before the Tigers' current 10-game winning streak against Penn, the Quakers had won 10 straight against their arch-enemies. If this pattern holds, Janney could secure one more distinction before tonight is over.

M. Lax wins to go back over .500

(03/29/00 10:00am)

The Quakers allowed the game's first goal, but then blitzed St. Joe's on the way to a blowout victory. Coming off a disappointing loss to Harvard last weekend, the Penn men's lacrosse team badly needed a win against St. Joseph's last night. And that is exactly what the Quakers got. Penn (4-3) got goals and assists from 12 different players to crush the Hawks, 19-9. "The best part of the game was the fact that we knew we were a much better team than them and that we didn't keep them in the game at all," Penn senior co-captain Bill Fowler said. The Quakers, who have had a tendency to start games slowly, did allow St. Joe's (6-2) to take an early 1-0 lead. But that was the only advantage the Hawks would hold for the entire game, as Penn stormed back to tally three goals in two minutes. Peter Scott scored the first of the Penn goals, followed quickly by a breakaway goal by Todd Minerley with an assist from Pete Janney. Adam Solow finished the run by netting a goal, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was 4-1 and the Quakers were in full control. At the half, Penn found itself with an 11-5 lead and augmented that by the end of the third quarter, putting the Hawks in a 15-7 hole at the beginning of the fourth frame. "We did what had to be done. Once we got the lead, it was no longer in doubt," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "The scoring was pretty balanced, and a lot of goals came out of the midfield, which was nice to see." Four middies -- Kevin Cadin, Mike Kehoe, Alex Kopicki and Solow -- all made important contributions in the game. The Quakers combined to take 63 shots on goal, which is about double their normal output. "It's big to have guys coming off the bench and even starters being able to put points on the scoreboard," Fowler said. "I'm always for dishing the ball around and having as many people contribute as possible." Penn's play also differed in that it was much more aggressive than usual. The Red and Blue registered eight penalties, almost matching their entire total for the season. This statistic did not bother the Penn coach, however. "I was happy that the team came out with so much energy," Van Arsdale said. "And since that was where the penalties stemmed from, I wasn't as concerned." One other change that the Quakers made in this game was naming freshman Ryan Kelly as the starting goalie the first time. Although Kelly has played in past games this season, John Carroll had been the starter until yesterday. "We felt it was time to give Ryan a chance to start," Van Arsdale said. "He played well and made the saves he should have made. The goals that were scored on him were hard goals to stop. I think Carroll also responded to not getting the start and played well in the second half." The change did not affect the rest of the team, not even the defense with which the goalie communicates throughout the game. "All season long we've dealt with both goalies," Fowler said. "I enjoy playing with Kelly because he's a great communicator, and Carroll has the ability to make great saves. Either way, they are both our last line of defense and are both good enough to be in the goal." Although the team was happy with the way it played, the Quakers know that they will have to improve their intensity even more against Cornell this weekend. While Penn's 63 shots on goal were impressive, the fact that most of those shots were not on net was a bit of a concern. "Some guys could have had a really big night points-wise, but we had trouble shooting on-cage," Van Arsdale said. In addition, toward the end of the game, the defense broke down on some of the goals as the Hawks did not have to work hard to put the ball in the net. "We cannot afford to have that happen against Cornell," Van Arsdale said. "They are going to make us work harder on the other end of the field, and we can't give up easy goals." Although the Quakers showed no signs of getting down on themselves after starting with two consecutive Ivy losses, last night's win was very important.

M. Lax hopes to run away from slow start problems

(03/28/00 10:00am)

The Quakers go to St. Joseph's today looking to score early and often on the Hawks. The Penn men's lacrosse team (3-3) has been giving all it's got so far this season, just not at the start of its games. Perhaps the Quakers would do well to heed the advice that the Rolling Stones give in song, to "start me up, kick on the starter give it all you got." In fact, the Quakers have trailed in the first quarter in all but one of their contests and need to come out strong tonight in their game against crosstown rival St. Joseph's. The Quakers' latest slow start came this weekend against Harvard. Within five minutes, the Red and Blue had spotted the Crimson a 3-1 lead and could not rebound from the deficit. Penn played well toward the end of the game, coming back from an 11-6 disadvantage to cut the Crimson lead to 13-12 with 3:51 to go. But Harvard was too strong and scored the last two goals of the game to defeat the Quakers, 15-12. "They simply played better," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "They have a lot of firepower, and they scored a lot early. And we started slow on both ends of the field." The Crimson's 3-1 lead was nothing compared to a 6-1 advantage held by Yale and a 5-1 lead by North Carolina in earlier games this season. In both of these games, Penn was able to come back and tie the score. The Quakers even took the lead on UNC, but both contests resulted in losses for Penn because of the energy spent digging out of the hole. "If you're going to take something positive from the losses, it's that we do have the capability to score six or seven goals in a quarter," co-captain Pete Janney said. "We'd just like to do it in the first quarter instead of the fourth." Penn hoped it had solved its first-quarter woes with a convincing win over Lafayette last week. In that contest, the Quakers jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held the Leopards scoreless in the first half. That was not the case, however, as the early sluggishness struck again this weekend. The Quakers have continued to work on the problem in practice and though Van Arsdale says the solution is "easier said than done," the team is confident it can play consistently well for a full 48 minutes. "We've really turned up the intensity in practice," Janney said. "We've had full-field scrimmages and are keeping everyone focused." The Quakers cannot afford to start slowly against St Joseph's. The Hawks boast a 6-1 record coming into tonight's game, which is the best start in the school's history. The Hawks are averaging 13.8 goals a game compared to Penn's average of 10.5. In addition, St. Joe's holds an average margin of victory of 11.2 goals -- five better than that of the Quakers. "They're very explosive offensively and move the ball up and down the field well," Van Arsdale said. "They don't play the most competitive teams, but any team that wins as much as they do has to have a lot of confidence." There are three players who make the Hawks offense as powerful as it is. Senior Drew Scott leads the team with 32 points, including 21 goals. Sophomore Bert Whitelock is also dangerous, with 31 points and 28 assists. Junior Randy McNeill completes the trio, also tallying 21 goals, good for 28 points. The Hawks' strong attack faces a young Penn defense whose lack of experience has shown a bit in recent games. Nevertheless, Van Arsdale refuses to use the backline's youth as an excuse. "It is a factor," he said. "But these players have played in games, and we don't want to lean on that at this point in the season." Despite its powerful offense, St. Joe's is coming off its first loss of the season, a 20-7 drubbing to No. 14 Delaware. And speaking of slow starts, the Blue Hens raced out in front of the Hawks, 8-0, and made the score 10-2 at the end of the first half. St. Joe's could never get going and trailed 15-5 at the end of the third quarter. Scott was held without a goal but managed three assists, while 13 different players scored for Delaware. The next stretch of games is arguably the most important in the Quakers' season. After the Hawks, Penn plays three Ivy opponents in a row: Cornell, Princeton and Dartmouth. "Up until now, we've been up and down," Janney said. "It's so important that we get a win tomorrow, and then go from there."

M. Lax mauls Leopards to move past .500

(03/22/00 10:00am)

The Quakers pummeled Lafayette, 20-5, after going 1-2 during break. While most of the student body was either relaxing at home or on a tropical island over spring break, the Penn men's lacrosse team was hard at work on the field. The Quakers played three games during the week off and one more yesterday, going 2-2 in that span. Penn started off the week with an overtime win against Bucknell, but then dropped two to North Carolina and Yale, before winning yesterday in convincing fashion against Lafayette. "We're playing OK right now, not terrific," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "We have ups and downs within each game." With its record at 2-2, yesterday's contest against a weaker Lafayette squad was a crucial one, and Penn passed with flying colors, demolishing the Leopards, 20-5. "We had come out a little slow in past games, and we wanted to take [yesterday] to work on starting faster and we were able to accomplish that," co-captain Pete Janney said. The Quakers jumped out to a quick 9-0 advantage on the backs of the defense that held Lafayette scoreless throughout the first half. Along with the contribution from the backline, the entire team played well. Midfielder Billy Sofield won 80 percent of the face-offs, and goalie John Carroll regained the form that helped Penn win its first two games of the season. "Today, every ground ball was ours," senior co-captain Bill Fowler said. "The defense put pressure on the ball from the beginning. That caused a lot of turnovers, and the offense was able to run right through their defensive line." Scott Solow led the team with three goals, while junior Todd Minerley tallied six assists and a goal. Solow netted two of his goals early in the game during the 9-0 run. "It felt really good to beat up on somebody," freshman midfielder Alex Kopicki said. "We don't have too many easy wins on our schedule, and while we didn't take that attitude going into the game, once we got going, it was nice." The Quakers' first opponent of spring break was Bucknell, which Penn had beaten 11-8 when the teams met last spring. Playing the contest in a driving rain in Baltimore on March 11, the Red and Blue trailed from the start and were down 2-1 at halftime. The Quakers were also behind going into the fourth quarter, but rallied to tie the score at four and send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Kopicki took the ball from the top of the crease past his defender, forcing another defender to cover him. Kopicki passed the ball to a wide-open Solow, who scored the goal from 10 feet away to give Penn the win. "The Bucknell game was a good, physical game," Fowler said. "They felt like they could play with us, and we quietly fought back to take it." In the next game at UNC on March 14, the fourth quarter result was not as gratifying. The Quakers spotted the Tar Heels a 5-2 lead, but stormed back in the third quarter to take a 6-5 advantage. "The third quarter of the North Carolina game was the best 12 minutes of lacrosse this season," Van Arsdale said. "We had their frontline really struggling." The UNC offense wouldn't struggle for long, however. The Tar Heels bounced back, netting six goals in a row to eventually win, 13-7. The turning point seemed to come in the beginning of the fourth quarter. With the game knotted at six, UNC All-American Todd Maher took the ball from the midline all the way down the field and scored. "It was just a breakdown of team play," Fowler said of the fourth-quarter collapse. "The energy was there, and the teamwork was there. They just kept getting one goal after another, and we were unable to stop the momentum." While the UNC loss was discouraging, the loss to Yale on Saturday was more disappointing. "Against Yale we were overworked and were forced to play from behind," Van Arsdale said. "In this sport, play is determined when balls are on the ground, and they made plays on the 50-50 balls and we didn't." The Quakers went down 6-1 early on, but managed to claw back to tie the score, 8-8. Nevertheless, Penn never held a lead and lost, 11-10. "We came ready to play, but they seemed to have more effort and came ready to win," Fowler said. While Penn was happy with yesterday's win, it knows that it still has room to grow. "We didn't take full advantage of scoring opportunities," Janney said. "There were times during the game that we could have shot the ball on goal and didn't, and we need to work on that." With the win, Penn improves its record to 3-2. Yet with four out of the next five games against Ivy opponents, the Quakers know that wins are not going to come easily.

M. Hoops declaws Tigers for 14-0 Ivy record

(03/08/00 10:00am)

Jordan and Langel say goodbye to Palestra by leading M. Hoops win There were 14 minutes and 19 seconds left in the Penn men's basketball game against Princeton last night. The Tigers, after trailing by as many as 21, had just gone on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 12. And most of the Penn fans in the sold-out Palestra crowd all thought the same thing. Not again. The fans remembered back to February 9, 1999, when the Quakers blew a 33-9 halftime lead to lose by a heartbreaking score of 50-49. But that disaster would not be repeated thanks mostly to the senior backcourt leadership of Michael Jordan and Matt Langel. Playing in their final game at the Palestra, Jordan and Langel stepped to the forefront and led the team to victory. Following a C.J. Chapman three-pointer that capped the Princeton run, Langel found Jordan cutting through the middle for an easy layup, and the Quakers were back on track. "When they cut the lead, we knew we had to step up and stop the run, and I think we did that," Jordan said. "Guys stepped up and made some big shots." Following the layup, Chapman sunk another three-pointer. But the Quakers did not panic, and Jordan spotted up from beyond the arc at the other end and responded by nailing another clutch shot. Later in the game, the Tigers clawed back to pull within 10, 55-45, but unlike in last year's debacle, the Langel-Jordan backcourt stayed poised throughout the game and did not allow the Tigers to cut into the lead any further. On the next trip down the court, Jordan hit Penn center Geoff Owens, who scored to increase the lead. On the Penn possession after that, Langel did the same, finding Owens for another bucket. "We're a totally different team from last year," Jordan said. "They had a lot of veterans last year. This year we have the veterans. We were prepared. We knew they were going to make a run. We just had to withstand it." And withstand it they did. Langel nailed his third three-pointer of the game with 3:44 left in the game, vaulting him past Garett Kreitz and into second place on Penn's all-time list. The bomb from downtown also put Penn up by 17 points, which the Quakers extended to 21 to win 73-52. While the crowd may have worried about a Princeton comeback, Penn coach Fran Dunphy did not think about it, knowing the type of leadership his co-captains provide. "I felt as good going into tonight's game about what [Langel and Jordan] were going to do as I have all year long and as I have anytime they've been playing for us," Dunphy said. "There was a feeling that they knew what they had to do, and there was a sense that Matt and Mike would step up and make big shots and that's exactly what they did. They played great defensively and did everything you would want from senior leadership." The Tigers' second-half run was not the only time that Langel and Jordan rose to the occasion last night. The Quakers went on a 17-0 run that began with 6:52 left in the first half and ended with 16:59 left in the second. Jordan was the main contributor to the run, coming up with a steal and a breakaway layup in the final seconds of the first stanza and an assist and a basket in the opening two minutes of the second. "I guess I had a little extra energy tonight," Jordan said. "I was feeding off the crowd, I know when I got that steal I was really high over the rim. We talked about making a statement within the first five minutes after halftime, and I think we did that." Both guards ended the game with impressive numbers. Jordan had 25 points -- two shy of his career high -- along with six rebounds and three steals. Langel had 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point land. He also tied a career high in assists with eight to go along with four boards. "Mike was able to get to the rim and get some open shots. I didn't get a lot of looks, but I thought I was able to set some people up for some good buckets," Langel said. "The second half I got more screens off the ball, and my teammates got me open for some threes." While Penn's guards clearly illustrated what leadership means to a team, Princeton coach Bill Carmody did not put much stock in the experience factor. "We have guys that have played before -- they're 19, 20 years old -- so I don't like that out," Carmody said of the Quakers, four of whom have been playing together for four years. "It might be a factor, but I don't want our guys to think that it is. You can win with sophomores." Jordan and Langel's veteran inspiration will certainly help the Quakers as they enter the NCAA Tournament next week. Last year, Penn had an 11-point halftime lead over Florida in the first round, but then closed up shop in the second half to lose, 75-61. "The two guys in the backcourt are better than they were [last year]," Dunphy said of the senior duo's readiness for the Big Dance. "They were good last year, but now they understand how hard it's going to be. But they also understand that they can go there and do some damage."

No luck for the Irish: M. Lax upsets Notre Dame in opener

(03/06/00 10:00am)

The young but determined Penn men's lacrosse team came from behind to beat No. 12 Notre Dame 10-7 in the Quakers' first game of the season at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. Penn was slow at the start, spotting the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead, but co-captain Pete Janney led the Quakers back, scoring twice in the last 1:09 of the first quarter. From there, Penn never looked back, scoring seven of the next nine goals -- including another two by Janney. "We just let Pete do his thing, and he just carried us all the way through," Penn junior Todd Minerley said. "He's our leader out there, and he set the tone for us and everybody just followed." While Penn's attack was impressive, an inexperienced defense and goalie were also strong from start to finish. Sophomore goalie John Carroll -- starting in his first game ever -- had 18 saves, including eight in the first quarter when the Irish could have put the game out of reach. "Carroll bailed us out early in the game when they were getting a lot of opportunities," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. Penn's defensive corps was also dominant. Sophomore Scott Marimow had the unenviable task of guarding David Ulrich, Notre Dame's best player. While Ulrich still managed a hat trick, Marimow's staunch defense prevented the Notre Dame junior from doing more damage. "Scott Marimow was our X-factor, containing their best player," Minerley said. "He kept him under control and didn't let him get feeds." At 2-0, Penn looked like it was on the verge of collapse, but the team did not panic. Janney took the game into his own hands, tying the score as the first quarter expired. "We were a little nervous early," Van Arsdale said. "We wanted to be in the game for 60 minutes, but at the end of the first quarter I told the team that they had already given back 15. We knew we had to play harder." And play harder they did. Janney netted the first goal of the second quarter with just over 11 minutes to go. About two minutes later, midfielder Billy Reidy scored for the Quakers to make it 4-2. Penn sophomore Scott Solow added one as he took the ball and flung it right past the Irish goalie to increase the Quakers' lead to three. With the score 5-3, Minerley tallied the prettiest goal of the game. With 6:30 left in the half, Minerley took the ball from behind the goal, swung around to the front, switched hands and flicked the ball past Irish goalie Kirk Howell as he fell to the Franklin Field turf. The Red and Blue ended the half 7-4, outscoring Notre Dame 5-2 in the second quarter. Ulrich made the game close in the third quarter, scoring twice in the last 40 seconds of play. The Quakers, however, would not be denied this victory. Penn junior Kevin Cadin scored from the top of the crease on a pass from Alex Kopicki, and five minutes later, Minerley added his second score of the day. When the final whistle sounded, the Quakers had knocked off the No. 12 team in the country thanks to strong play on all sides of the ball. "I think our inexperience was overcome by some energy and enthusiasm," Van Arsdale said. "Our experienced guys are really giving us some good leadership. There's not a lot of them, but guys like Janney and Reidy are really stepping up and getting everybody focused in the right direction."