Penn's defensive line stopped the Penn's defensive line stopped the Dartmouth offense on Saturday. The makers of NyQuil should watch out, because the 9,377 fans at Franklin Field found something else that's green and puts them to sleep -- the Dartmouth offense. The Big Green struggled offensively all day on Saturday and their final numbers were indeed offensive. Dartmouth managed only 169 yards of total offense, went 3-for-17 on third downs and fumbled the ball five times, turning it over twice. Penn coach Al Bagnoli, in his first game since assuming departed defensive coordinator Mike Toop's responsibilities, said that the Quakers defense made an effort to use different looks to shake up Dartmouth quarterback Brian Mann -- a sophomore making his first start. "You don't want to ever get comfortable in what you are doing defensively, so that kid's in a rhythm and everything is crystal clear to him," Bagnoli said. "So we tried to come up with a lot of different fronts, we tried to disguise some coverages. Just trying to keep people off balance is the key." And it worked, as just about the only positive for the Dartmouth offense was 240-pound punter Wayne Schlobohm's performance. Schlobohm punted 10 times during the game, racking up 408 yards and bringing his Dartmouth record-setting career total to an even 8,500 yards. The young Big Green offense --Ewhich featured three sophomores and four juniors and returned only five starters from a squad which went just 1-6 in the Ivies -- had trouble moving the ball right from the very start. After an interception set them up at midfield in the first quarter, the Big Green could only muster 10 yards before calling on Schlobohm. Penn again handed Dartmouth a golden opportunity to score when quarterback Gavin Hoffman's fumble was recovered at the Penn 18-yard line. But Penn defensive lineman Jason Maehr stuffed an option run by Mann for no gain. Then after a three-yard swing pass to tailback Reginald Belhomme, Maehr batted down Mann's pass attempt. Alex Csizinsky's failed 32-yard field goal attempt capped off a drive that would typify the Dartmouth offense's afternoon. On Dartmouth's next possession, Mann managed to drive his troops 14 yards to the Penn 42 but threw the first of two interceptions with 3:03 left in the first quarter. That was the last time the Big Green offense would see Penn's side of the field until there were two minutes left in the game. An overwhelming performance by the Penn defense never allowed Dartmouth to find any sort of offensive rhythm. Constant pressure from the defensive line rendered both the running game and the option ineffective. Workhorse back Belhomme gained only 59 yards on 18 carries. "We weren't able to run the ball as effectively as we wanted to, especially on first and second downs," Belhomme said. "They didn't blitz too much but their down lineman came pretty hard." And that was the plan, according to Maehr. "When we came in, we wanted to dominate," he said. And dominate they did, holding Dartmouth to a skimpy 85 rushing yards -- just 20 to set the tone in the first half -- and limiting the option-running Mann to a final total of minus-six rushing yards, 11 of which were gained on a scramble. Big Green coach John Lyons said that Dartmouth was the cause of many of its own problems, but gave credit to the Quakers defenders for keeping Dartmouth on its heels all day. "We had some bobbled snaps, we had some penalties at inopportune times," Lyons said. "I think if we could have scored early and got some momentum and got some confidence, I think that would have really helped us." Mann had limited success from the air, going 12-for-22 and passing for 57 yards. The sophomore was replaced halfway through the fourth quarter by another sophomore, Greg Smith. He led the Big Green to their only score of the day after a 35-yard drive against Penn's second-team defense. "Not only am I a sophomore but we're a young offense -- basically we showed that," Mann said. "We had a lot of sophomores in there and we played like sophomores." There was no learning curve, however, for Penn's defense, which featured seven returning starters, four of them on the defensive line. The unit which led the Ivy League in total defense last season picked up right where it left off, allowing a paltry 2.7 yards per offensive play to the Big Green. The strong defensive effort proved to be a big help on Saturday. The Quakers offense, still adjusting to new faces and roles, turned the ball over five times to the Big Green. And the Quakers 'D' will again be called on to come up big next week against Villanova. The Wildcats put up 35 points in a win against Richmond two weeks ago and churned out 26 more in an upset win against Division I-AA defending champs UMass.
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The hard-working fullback has started 25 straight games. Somewhere in the middle of Jim Finn and Carmelo Rubano, somewhere in the middle of the limelight and the spotlight, somewhere in the middle of guts and glory, there stands Brian Cosmello. It is the middle. It is his home. Cosmello has grown quite comfortable in the middle. He has been the starter, lining up at fullback for 25 straight games -- a streak which began in the middle of his freshman year. And although he's started every Saturday for the past 2 1/2 years, chances are you've never heard of him. Because here in the middle, there are no stats. There are no show-stopping plays. There is no one to pat your back. Here in the middle, it is up to you to do everything and do it well. It is your job to win games and give others the credit. It is your job to be Brian Cosmello. It is your job to block on every offensive play of every game of the season. It is your job to make other people better, to touch the ball 14 times in 25 collegiate games and never to complain. "[Cosmello] is one of the most unselfish kids I've ever been around," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "If you take a look at his job description last year -- here's a kid who plays every single play of the offensive game and on every single play he blocks with the exception of [our] sending him out for five passes a year. "And he never complains. He never says, 'I want the ball.' He never says 'boo.' He just keeps blocking --Eand he blocks with an efficiency that is very unusual in this league." Blocking so efficient that with a stat line of five pass receptions for 39 yards, Cosmello garnered second-team All-Ivy honors last year. Cosmello is anything and everything to the Penn offense, which features three new starters at offensive line, a transfer quarterback and a platoon of young tailbacks. "He's still going to have to block at the level that he blocked last year and besides he's also going to have to be a bigger factor in the total offense," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "There's more pressure on him this year than there's ever been --Enot only to be the stalwart blocker that he's been, but also to be a ball carrier, to be a pass receiver, to be a leader as a senior." In the middle, you don't ask to be a leader. You simply are. By doing what you do, day in and day out. You lead. Just ask Cosmello. "I'm not the most vocal kind of guy, I lead more by example," he said. "I say a word here and there whenever I think it's necessary. I rely on being mentally sound and not making mistakes. Hopefully that will rub off on them." Cosmello has experience leading people. Last year he led one of his best friends, Jim Finn, to the better part of 1,450 rushing yards and the Penn single-season record. "Ninety percent of Finn's runs were behind Cosmello," Bagnoli said. "He's the guy who is either going to make or break the play anytime it goes front side." But in the middle, you don't tell anyone that you cleared the way for the team's superstar. You're just happy to be along for the ride and say how lucky it was to play with him. You don't think about what you could have done. You don't ask for more carries or time off for good behavior. "Obviously, I'd like to be a little bit more involved in the offense and I think it's going to happen this year, but as far as the past, I was doing what I was best at doing, which was blocking," Cosmello said. "I think I'm pretty good at that." Offensive coordinator Chuck Priore loves Cosmello. He loves that he blocks, he loves that he catches, he loves that he does his job. But most of all he loves that he blocks. "He's probably the one reason we've been successful," Priore said. "It's like having another offensive lineman in the backfield and he's a dominating player at that position." In fact, when Cosmello turned heads with his blocking ability on the scout team freshman year, Priore decided to switch from Penn's one-back offense to the now familiar, and always Cosmellic, two-back set. Cosmello took his place in the middle of that set, right between tailback Jasen Scott and quarterback Tom MacLeod in a loss against Brown, and he's been there ever since. He brought with him an intensity that propelled him to three varsity letters and a captainship on his Seton Catholic Central high school football team in Binghamton, N.Y. And an intensity that burns still, according to Priore. "[He's] really quiet, really intense," Priore said. "He challenges teachers in the classroom. He's that kind of person. He wants to know the answers. Mentally he's really strong." Penn's winning tradition, among other attributes, brought Cosmello to the middle of the Quakers offense. People in the middle hate to lose. "My whole career in football, I've never really been on a winning team ever," Cosmello said. "My best record was like 5-3 when I was in middle school. I wanted to come here and be on a winning football team." Winning is good, especially when you're in the middle. Winning makes you forget about the dings, the sore spots, the injuries that nag and that may never go away. The bumps and bruises that come with being the middle of the offense -- the focal point, without which nothing gets done -- aren't so bad when you win. But even people in the middle are human. Even people in the middle feel the effects of throwing your body in the way of anyone not in a Penn jersey for 25 straight Saturdays. "It's tough. Every year I get older, I feel like I get five years older," Cosmello said. "When something starts to hurt, you have to get it taken care of really quick. As a freshman, I felt like I could never be hurt. Every year, [you have to] prepare yourself mentally and physically." And Cosmello prepares. Every weekend. Without failure or gripe. Well, there is one little matter he'd like to settle. "I'd like to score a touchdown, I guess," Cosmello said. Even people in the middle like touchdowns. But all Cosmello really wants is another Ivy League title, an improved season and to have as much fun as he can in what is possibly his last year in the middle. The presence of pro scouts at practices, including scouts from the Colts, the Bills and the Titans, says that the pros like people in the middle, too. "If there's a possibility, I could try. But if not, that's why I came to an Ivy League school," he said. For right now, Cosmello is content to do his job. And on any given Saturday, you may see someone score a touchdown, and you may ask yourself how he did what he did. But the answer is right on the field, in a red and blue jersey, wearing No. 32. Just look for the one in the middle. His name is Brian Cosmello.
Loyola Academy '97 Northbrook, Ill. At the NCAA Wrestling Championships on the weekend of March 18-20, the Quakers finished 11th in the nation, which bested last year's 27th-place finish and is Penn's best result since finishing eighth in 1942. On the strength of three All-American performances -- a Penn record -- by Brett Matter (149 lbs.), Andrei Rodzianko (197 lbs.) and Bandele Adeniyi-Bada (285 lbs.), the Quakers totaled 45.5 team points, just one behind 10th-place Boise State. The Quakers stood in 10th place for much of the tournament but Kirk White's championship victory at 165 lbs. dropped the Quakers back to 11th and pushed the Broncos to 10th. "The whole team wrestled well out here," Rodzianko said. "We were ready, we were well-trained and we really showed it." In addition to the three All-Americans, Mark Piotrowsky (141 lbs.) -- who battled through knee injuries -- and Rick Springman (165 lbs.) both were knocked out of the competition just one round short of placing in the top eight. Matter tore through his first three foes, pinning one and beating the other two by a combined 12-1. But in the semifinals he ran into top-seeded T.J. Williams of Iowa, the eventual NCAA champion. After a scoreless first period that saw Williams draw a stalling warning, the Iowa sophomore opened up, getting two takedowns in the second period en route to a 7-2 victory. "Once Williams got the first takedown, then he was able to sit back and counterattack," Penn coach Roger Reina said. The loss dropped Matter into the consolation bracket, where he lost a tight 3-1 match to No. 2 seed Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State. "I thought Brett controlled the match," Reina said. "[Wright] was completely defensive and should have been hit with stalling points." In the fifth-place match, Matter beat Lehigh's Ryan Bernholz, 5-3. Although Matter came into State College seeded No. 5, he was not satisfied with the fifth-place finish. "I'm happy to be an All-American, I suppose," Matter said. "But I didn't come here just to be an All-American. I came here to win." Adeniyi-Bada stumbled out of the blocks at heavyweight, losing a second-round match 2-1 to Slippery Rock's Derek Delporto on a stalling call. He wrestled back to the placing rounds, however, meeting nemesis Bronson Lingamfelter of Brown. Lingamfelter had pinned Adeniyi-Bada in the EIWA semifinals after Adeniyi-Bada controlled the match for almost three periods. But there would be no mistakes for Adeniyi-Bada this time around as he grabbed a convincing 14-6 decision. "It was nice to let him know he only got a fluke and if he wants to go anywhere, he has to go through me" Adeniyi-Bada said. "I just have to keep on spanking him." On March 18, he suffered a hip injury in his match against Oregon State's Mat Orndorff, the No. 4 seed. He competed through the pain, though, and lost 6-2 to set up a rematch with Delporto in the seventh-place match. The second time was a charm for Adeniyi-Bada, who won, 3-2. "We had [Delporto] scouted well out of that match and Bandele took advantage of it," Reina said. "We thought he could score on a double-leg and that's exactly what he scored on." Rodzianko came into the tournament seeded second but two losses to No. 5 seed Nick Muzashvili of Michigan State left Rodzianko in fourth place. After being knocked into the consolation bracket by a 5-4 loss to Muzashvili, Rodzianko faced stiff opposition on his way to the third-place match. The Penn tri-captain needed overtime to beat sixth-seeded Sam Neider of Northwestern, 3-1. He then pinned fifth-seeded Chris Vike of Central Michigan in the third period of a wild match. Rodzianko went up 2-0 on an early takedown and added three back points to take a 5-0 lead. But with 30 seconds left in the second period, Vike came up with three back points of his own, narrowing the gap to 5-3. In the third period, Rodzianko regained his edge, took Vike down and pinned him at 5:28. "I though he had taken [Vike] out of the match but he came roaring back," Reina said. In the rematch with Muzashvili for third place, the Michigan Stater outlasted Rodzianko 3-1. "Andrei had some scrambles that he had an opportunity to score on," Reina said. "But Muzashvili capitalized at the buzzer." The Quakers continued their upwardly mobile trend in the national wrestling scene and, with six of eight qualifiers returning next year, view this year's tournament as a stepping stone for greater things to come. While Rodzianko and Piotrowsky are graduating, Penn returns qualifiers Justin Bravo (125 lbs.), Jason Nagle (133 lbs.), Yoshi Nakamura (157 lbs.), Matter, Springman and Adeniyi-Bada.
The losingest season ever in Penn baseball history ends with a pair of doubleheaders at Cornell. With only four games left of a season fraught with disappointment, Penn baseball coach Bob Seddon is calling his players out. "My message to them is show me why you belong in this program," Seddon said. "Show me why you're a Division I player." Plagued by mental errors and lethargic play all year, Penn has set a school record with 27 losses this season -- and has Seddon searching for something good to take away from the experience. "We're trying to build something for the future," Seddon said. "Are these the guys we're building with or what?" Seddon's Quakers (6-27, 3-13 Ivy League) get one last weekend to prove themselves, as they head up to Ithaca, N.Y., for a pair of doubleheaders tomorrow and Sunday against Ivy League Gehrig Division foe Cornell (8-20, 5-7). Cornell had spent much of the season sharing the basement of the Gehrig Division but the Big Red have begun to turn things around as the season winds down. Cornell has won five of its last seven games, including victories in three of four against Columbia last weekend. Cornell's bats, which have been relatively quiet for most of the year, came alive against the Lions. Cornell took full advantage of Columbia's tiny Coakley Field, racking up 43 runs in the four games. Centerfielder Michael Macrie led the charge for the Cornell hitters against Columbia. The senior went 12-for-21 with 10 runs scored and 10 runs batted in. Second baseman Andrew Luria was right behind Macrie. The freshman -- who leads Cornell with a .429 batting average -- had eight hits and 12 RBIs over the weekend. The resurgence of the Big Red bats could spell trouble for an injury-laden Quakers pitching staff. Penn will be without the services of pitchers Dave Gonzalez, Jordan Reed and John Dolan and may miss Will Clark due to a death in the family. The Quakers have to travel with only six or seven pitchers, which means Seddon and pitching coach Bill Wagner will have to rely heavily on their four starters -- Mike Mattern, Sean McDonald, Matt Hepler and Mark Lacerenza. "We have to stretch our pitchers out again, so that's a concern," Seddon said. But Hepler said he and the other starters have not minded pitching the lion's share of the innings. "We've been throwing a lot of complete games but I think everyone's arm is still alive because during the week we really haven't been getting a lot of innings," Hepler said. The Quakers hitters have to contend with a solid Cornell staff, which has been carrying the Big Red for most of the year. Cornell coach Tom Ford most likely will tap senior Brian Williamson, freshman Brendan McQuaid and two juniors -- Nick Bayer and John Osgood. Bayer has been Cornell's most successful pitcher thus far, going 3-3 with a 4.28 earned run average. He has four complete games for the Big Red this year. Seddon called Osgood one of the "best athletes for either team." The junior -- who also plays first base -- has been hit hard this year, giving up 45 hits and 33 runs in 33 1/3 innings. Osgood took the loss last year when McDonald threw a no-hitter against the Big Red. Osgood had a one-hitter of his own going into the bottom of the sixth but gave up four runs to seal the win for Penn. The Quakers can catch Cornell and get out of the Ivy cellar with at least three wins this weekend and help from Princeton, Cornell's next and final Ivy opponent. Hepler said the key to Penn's success is for them to be more relaxed when playing. "In some cases the pitchers have been trying to do too much," Hepler said. "They feel like they have to take it upon themselves to win the game and strike people out. "If we get behind by a few runs, then [our hitters] almost have the mentality that we have to make it up with one swing." But the Quakers can't come out too relaxed, lest they draw Seddon's ire. "If a player is lethargic then he can come sit next to me," Seddon said. "And I don't even know if I want him next to me because I'm not going to be lethargic."
Ivy Basketball Rookie of the Year Chris Young leads a strong Princeton pitching staff against a reeling Penn squad. and Andrew McLaughlin Thus far, the Penn baseball season has been a forgettable one. But the Quakers hope that this weekend will be different. After all -- it's Princeton. On paper, at least, the Tigers pitching staff looks as if it could shut down the Quakers' bats. Penn has scored an average of just over three runs per game over its last 10 outings, not counting a 13-7 win over Yale, the only victory in that stretch. But when the Tigers (10-15, 4-4 Ivy League) visit Bower Field to take on Penn (6-23, 3-9) for doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at noon, the records can be thrown out. "These definitely seem to be the games we get up the most for, no matter what our record is at the time," senior first baseman Russ Farscht said. "Definitely it's extra-intensive." This version of the rivalry has its fair share of history, especially for the Penn seniors. In 1996 and 1997, Penn and Princeton finished the season tied atop the Gehrig Division standings and both times the Tigers emerged victorious in a one-game playoff. Last year's squad dropped three of four to the Tigers, effectively eliminating it from Gehrig title contention. Penn pitcher Sean McDonald earned the lone win, 8-1, against Princeton in '98, going all seven innings and giving up just one run and six hits. "Last year, I was pretty successful against an offensive-minded Princeton team so I don't see why this year should be any different," McDonald said. Farscht led the Penn attack in that win, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs. Despite their current record, three or four wins this weekend can vault the Quakers out of the cellar and into contention in the Gehrig race. But they will first have to deal with a solid Tigers pitching staff -- which is keyed by none other than Ivy League Basketball Rookie of the Year Chris Young. Princeton's 6'10'' right-hander has been nothing short of stellar thus far and is making a compelling case for garnering the Rookie of the Year in baseball as well. In three starts, Young has compiled a 2-0 record, a 0.60 earned run average and has given up just six hits in 15 innings of work. Opposing hitters are batting a meager .125 against Young, who threw a complete game two-hitter against Ivy power Harvard in his last start. "He's big, throws strikes and has good off-speed stuff," Princeton coach Scott Bradley said. "He has great command." But Farscht was undaunted by Young's success thus far. "We've seen really good pitching in California, so it's nothing to worry about," he said. "You have to go out there like it's just another pitcher and just do your thing." The Quakers will counter with two freshman pitchers of their own -- Mike Mattern and Mark Lacerenza. Mattern leads the staff with a 3.98 ERA, a 5-2 record and 33 strikeouts. In his most recent effort, he picked up a loss at Drexel on Wednesday. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up four runs -- only one earned -- in relief of Lacerenza, who gave up four runs in 2 1/3 innings. Lacerenza is 0-4 on the year with a 5.70 ERA. He has struck out 20 batters in 30 innings and has pitched two complete games. Princeton will certainly not be the most potent offensive team Mattern and Lacerenza have faced this year. The Tigers are batting only .248 as a team and are averaging just 4.2 runs per game. "Their pitching staff keeps them in the game and their hitters hopefully outscore whatever their pitcher gives up," McDonald said. For the young Quakers squad, coming away from the weekend on the upside of the doubleheader series would go far in building confidence, especially in this season full of lowlights. And doing it against Princeton would be that much sweeter.
With an 11-6 defeat at Drexel, the Quakers set a season mark for futility. The Penn baseball team has earned itself a dubious spot in the annals of Quakers sports history. An 11-6 loss to crosstown rival Drexel yesterday afternoon brought Penn's season total to 23 -- a new school record for losses in a season. And there are still nine games to go. Once again, sporadic hitting and defensive lapses did in the Quakers as Drexel (11-17) rode a five-RBI performance from designated hitter Matt Neiber. The Quakers (6-23), however, had their fair share of opportunities in the early innings. Drexel starter Mark Horgan got into a jam in the top half of the first inning, walking leadoff man Kevin McCabe, giving up a double to Jim Mullen and walking Glen Ambrosius to load the bases. Horgan then struck out Quakers catcher Jeff Gregorio -- who came into the game leading Penn regulars with a .343 average and five home runs. McCabe came around to score on a passed ball and then Russ Farscht drew a walk, but Ron Rolph ended any chance of a rally by hitting into an inning-ending double play. The Dragons wasted no time in getting the run back off Penn starter Mark Lacerenza, who took the loss to move to 0-5 on the year. After Mike Francis led off the inning with a bloop single to center, he advanced to scoring position on an Ambrosius error. Neiber singled Francis home for the first of his five runs batted in on the day. The Quakers jumped out in front again, 3-1, on the strength of a two-run double in the top of the third by Farscht off new Drexel pitcher Eric Metzger. But the Dragons struck back, scoring three in the bottom half to take a 4-3 lead. Two Lacerenza walks set the table for a Neiber two-run triple -- which drove Lacerenza from the game. Usually solid freshman Mike Mattern relieved Lacerenza but the pitcher who has earned five of Penn's six victories did not turn in the type of game the Quakers have come to expect of him. "[It] was just one of those days," said Mattern, who pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief and gave up four runs on five hits. "I couldn't spot my fastball. I was having trouble getting my breaking ball over." Mattern gave up an RBI groundout to Lou Marchetti and got out of the third when Jose Jimenez was caught stealing home on a failed double steal attempt. After a hitless Penn fourth, Mattern ran into trouble in the bottom half of the inning. To start the Drexel fourth, Bruce Boehm laid down a bunt, which Mattern threw wide of first baseman Farscht. After a walk to Jeff Tornabene, Mattern misplayed another bunt attempt, allowing a run to score and putting runners at the corners with nobody out. Drexel coach Don Maines called a double steal, and it appeared that it worked as Tornabene slid into home before catcher Brian Fitzgerald's tag. But the home plate umpire called the 5'7'' second baseman out, claiming the diminutive Dragon never reached home plate on his slide. A two-run single after the botched steal put the Dragons up 6-3, but the Quakers were not done yet. With Gregg Mellott in to pitch for the Dragons in the top of the fifth, the Quakers tied the game up at six apiece. Mullen and Ambrosius led off the inning with singles. After a Gregorio strikeout, Farscht batted into a fielder's choice but he and Ambrosius advanced to second and third on a throwing error. Rolph smacked a two-run single up the middle, bringing in Ambrosius and Farscht. Anthony Napolitano then singled to center and centerfielder Renaldo Smith bobbled the ball, allowing Rolph to come all the way around from first to tie the game. Mellott then hit both Fitzgerald and Matt Homme, loading the bases, but once again the Quakers could not capitalize -- McCabe ended the inning with a strikeout. "The first couple innings we had so many runners on base," Ambrosius said. "We can't keep [failing to convert] and expect to win." Mattern gave up two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Dragons an 8-6 lead, and then the Penn bats fell silent -- not getting another base hit all game. Drexel added three more runs to its total off Penn freshman Dan Fitzgerald, who came in to pitch the sixth and the seventh. Sophomore Brian Burket came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Quakers, giving up a walk and a single before retiring the side. "We fell apart defensively again," McCabe said. "Mental errors, physical errors --Eit's become a pattern." A pattern that has etched the 1999 Penn baseball team into the record books.
Penn split a doubleheader with Yale and then was swept by Brown, giving it 22 losses to tie a school season record. First the good news. The Penn baseball team stopped a nine-game losing streak last weekend with a win over Yale. And now the bad news. It was the only win of the weekend. The Quakers are now losers of 12 of their last 13 games and are tied for last in the Ivy League. Penn has also tied a school record for most losses in a season with 22. Things started out well enough for Penn (6-22, 3-9 Ivy League), which came into the weekend hoping to win at least three of four. Yale (9-17, 4-4) threw its best pitcher, team captain Mike Finnegan, at the Quakers, but to no avail. Penn hit Finnegan and hit him hard, tagging him for 10 hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings en route to a 13-7 triumph. Shawn Spiezio started the day off right for the Quakers. After a single to lead off the game, he stole second. Following a Glen Ambrosius walk, catcher Jeff Gregorio singled home Spiezio. Russ Farscht grounded into a fielder's choice but Ambrosius scored from third to put Penn up 2-0 after the first half-inning. Given an early lead, freshman phenom Mike Mattern turned in another solid performance, going six innings for the victory. With a 5-1 record, Mattern has picked up wins in all but one of the Quakers' victories this season. Penn's bats did not quiet down, eventually running up a 12-1 lead for Mattern going into the bottom of the fifth. Yale appeared as if it might have a chance to come back, scoring two in the fifth and three in the sixth, but freshman Dan Fitzgerald closed the door in the seventh inning, picking up his first collegiate save. Freshman Mark Lacerenza got the start in the nightcap against Yale and worked himself into trouble in the bottom of the third. He walked the No. 9 hitter to start the inning and then miffed a sacrifice bunt attempt to put runners at first and second with no outs. Ben Johnstone then homered for the Elis, giving them an early 3-0 lead. Yale went up 7-1, but a five-run fifth inning off starter Matt McCarthy brought Penn back to within one. The Quakers got a little help in scoring their runs. Anthony Napolitano led off with a single before advancing to second on a passed ball, and then to third on a wild pitch. Jeremy McDowell drew a walk and Kevin Johnson singled home Napolitano. Jim Mullen reached base on an error, which brought in McDowell. Then Ambrosius' sacrifice fly brought in Johnson. Back-to-back doubles by Gregorio and Farscht brought in another run, making the score 7-6. But that was as close as the Quakers would get as the Elis tacked on eight more runs to pull away for a 15-6 win. "It was a heck of a ballgame in the middle innings and then our relief was bad," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. The game also foreshadowed what would lead to Penn's demise the following day on a dismal Sunday afternoon in Providence --Epoor fielding and poor execution at the plate. In the second game against Yale, Penn committed four errors in the field, leading to 11 unearned Yale runs. The Elis managed 15 runs off only 11 hits in the game and Penn left seven men on base, including three in the last inning. The Quakers made the trip to Brown (11-11, 6-2) knowing that they would face a much improved version of last year's Bears squad,Ewhich finished last in the Red Rolfe Division. "They've never been a good team for my 29 years," Seddon said, "but we sensed they were a better team than Yale." Penn starter Sean McDonald got off to a shaky start, giving up a leadoff triple. A sacrifice fly then brought in Brown's first run of the day. McDonald got out of the inning down only 1-0 but he did not fare as well the rest of the day. With pitchers John Dolan, Dave Gonzalez and Jordan Reed unavailable because of injury, McDonald went all six innings, giving up eight runs -- six earned -- on 11 hits. Penn's hitters came up short, stranding 10 men on base -- once again leaving the bases loaded in the last inning. Down 8-4, Napolitano represented the tying run at the plate but flied out to right to end the game. If that game wasn't pretty for Penn, the nightcap was even uglier. The wheels fell off for the Quakers, who were smacked by Brown in a 19-1 defeat. Seddon said the weather mirrored Penn's performance. "The day was nice to start off with but the uglier [our play] got, the colder it got," Seddon said. "We lost big and [starter Matt] Hepler got hit hard." Hepler went 2 1/3 innings, giving up 10 runs on seven hits. Only four of the runs were earned. Freshman Will Clark came in to pitch the remaining 3 2/3 innings, but fared no better. He surrendered nine runs on 10 hits. "He got tattooed and we had to leave him because we had nobody else," Seddon said. An RBI single by Kevin McCabe in the top of the fifth brought in the Quakers' only run of the game, while the Bears scored in every single inning. "The game was ugly," Seddon said. "You wondered how many runs they were going to score." With only eight Ivy League games remaining, Penn needs to stop the bleeding if it hopes to make any waves in the Gehrig Division. "Our team right now is at bottom," Seddon said. "But the difference between the top and bottom is tiny -- hardly any difference. "If they make the plays, we're going to be competitive in every game because no one is that much better."
A five-run inning for the visiting Leopards deflated the Quakers, who dropped their third straight game. Coming off an emotional, last-inning loss to Villanova the night before, the Penn baseball team looked sluggish in an uninspired 10-2 loss to Lafayette yesterday at Bower Field. On the mound for the Quakers (5-13) was freshman Dan Fitzgerald, making his first-ever collegiate start. Fitzgerald had pitched 5 2/3 innings previously while posting a staff-leading 3.18 earned run average. And things went well for the freshman -- for the first three innings, anyway. Fitzgerald took a one-hitter into the top of the fourth inning but ran into trouble with the heart of Lafayette's (2-10) lineup. The rally started with an infield single by Vince D'Angelis, who reached base when the umpire said Penn first baseman Russ Farscht bobbled third baseman Jim Mullen's throw. After a Bob Osipower single drove in D'Angelis, pitcher Mike Palos smacked a triple to left center, driving in a run and putting Lafayette ahead, 2-1, a lead the Leopards would never relinquish. Two singles and one run later, Fitzgerald was relieved by another freshman, Jordan Reed, with Lafayette up 4-1 and two runners on. Reed walked in a run but finally got out of the jam when Leopards first baseman Tye Gonser flied out to center. The baserunner at third tagged up and scored, but Eric Armstrong was gunned down trying to advance to third by Penn catcher Bill Collins. As it turned out, the five-run fourth was all the Leopards would need -- Penn's offense only managed to produce one more run all game. "We went down soft," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "We didn't have any spunk." Reed settled down to pitch four scoreless innings of relief but it would not matter as strong outings by Lafayette pitchers Palos and Chris Boyette kept the Quakers' bats at bay. "We've been playing some decent defense but the pitching has been coming through since last week," Lafayette coach Lloyd Brewer said. Penn picked up a late run when Jeremy McDowell, who came in to replace Randy Ferrell at centerfield, singled in Farscht in the bottom of the sixth, making the score 6-2. "We're getting eight, 10 hits in a game, but they are all sporadic," Seddon said. "We're not getting two or three hits an inning and you have to do that to win." Lafayette added four more runs in the top half of the ninth off freshman pitcher Will Clark. After the game, Seddon lamented his team's lack of energy, calling its play "lethargic." He said the late night after the Villanova thriller may have taken its toll on his young team. "Sure [the Villanova game affected the players], but that's not an excuse," Seddon said. "I went to bed, too, but I'm not lethargic." Seddon said he was upset that his players were not more motivated for the game and that it showed in their play. "It's boring to watch," Seddon said. "Mid-week games are tough, there's not a lot of excitement." As if the Quakers' day wasn't bad enough, more unfortunate news came after the game had already ended. Adding injury to insult, Penn's No. 1 pitcher thus far, freshman Mike Mattern, injured his ankle while clearing Bower Field after yesterday's game. The extent of the injury was unclear, but it may have been a sprain, which would most likely force Mattern to sit out the weekend's games -- a doubleheader against Harvard tomorrow and another twinbill against Dartmouth on Saturday. To date, Mattern has been the best pitcher in the Quakers rotation, posting a 4-0 record and a 3.24 ERA. Opponents are hitting a meager .235 against the righty. If Mattern is out this weekend, he will be sorely missed by the Penn pitching staff, which has worked six games in a five-day stretch. His presence would be a big boost to the Quakers going into games with league powerhouse Harvard and Dartmouth, which can hit the ball, Seddon said. Mattern's injury comes at a most inopportune time for the slumping Quakers, losers of three games in a row.
After wrapping up a season that saw three Penn wrestlers earn All-American honors, an 11th-place finish in the nation and a fourth-straight Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championship, the post-season accolades have now begun to roll in for the Quakers. Penn tri-captain and 197-pounder Andrei Rodzianko picked up first team All-Ivy honors, as did heavyweight Bandele Adeniyi-Bada and 165-pounder Rick Springman. Garnering second-team All-Ivy status were Brett Matter (149 lbs.), Yoshi Nakamura (157 lbs.), Justin Bravo (125 lbs.) and Jason Nagle (133 lbs.). Rounding out the All-Ivy Quakers was senior tri-captain Mark Piotrowsky (141 lbs.), who was named an honorable mention. Although Penn improved from 27th in the nation to 11th and finished well ahead of any other league rival at the NCAA Championships, only three Quakers were selected to the first team -- down one from last year. Dustin DeNunzio of Harvard nabbed the Wrester of the Year Award. The Rookie of the Year Award went to Brown heavyweight Bronson Lingamfelter, who was also an honorable mention pick. Springman earned the award last year for Penn. The Quakers went through the dual meet season undefeated, posting a 10-0-2 (4-0-1 Ivy League) mark, but shared the Ivy League crown with rival Cornell. The Big Red, however, only placed two wrestlers on the first team while third-place Brown tied Penn with three first-team selections. But Penn coach Roger Reina does not feel surprised or slighted. "It's all done through dual meets," Reina said. "If someone loses a dual meet in the Ivy League they're probably not going to be first team." That explains the case of three-time EIWA champ Matter, who took fifth in the nation to earn All-America honors yet was placed behind Cornell's Shawn Bradley, who did not place at the NCAAs. Bradley beat Matter in overtime in the Penn-Cornell dual meet, which left Matter with a 4-1 Ivy League dual match record and Bradley with a 5-0 mark. "The coaches pretty much vote along the dual meet records," Reina said. "This doesn't take into account how people finished at the Eastern championships or national results or anything outside of just Ivy League dual meets." The laurels did not stop there for Rodzianko, who finished the year with a 25-2 match record and ended up ranked fourth in the country. The Management and Technology senior also was named to the GTE Academic All-America First Team. He and Penn State senior Glenn Pritzlaff -- who won the 174-lb. title at Nationals -- were the only wrestlers named to the first team. "I think he works very hard," Reina said. "Anybody that looks at those accomplishments? might be quick to talk about how gifted he must be. "While he is gifted, he works very hard at the sport and he works very hard academically." For Rodzianko, the GTE honor adds another notch to his growing belt of accolades. He has already won championships at the Midlands Open and the EIWA tournament, where he was named Most Outstanding Wrester and given the John Fletcher Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the wrester who has earned the most team points at the EIWA tournament.
Penn looks to repeat last year's four-game sweep of Ivy rival Columbia. Now the real fun begins for the Penn baseball team. After spring break in California and three games this week, the Quakers finally start their Ivy League schedule and their quest to rise in the Gehrig Division standings. To start, Penn (3-9, 0-0 Ivy League) plays last year's Gehrig Division cellar-dweller Columbia (4-6, 0-0) in a home-and-home doubleheader this weekend in the Ivy League's first games of '99. The Quakers host the first twinbill, set to start at noon tomorrow at Bower Field. Then the series will head up to the Big Apple, where games three and four will take place on Columbia's Coakley Field. Last year, in a series marred by a near-brawl after the conclusion of the last game at Bower, Penn handled the Lions with relative ease. In the four games, Penn outscored Columbia, 49-10. But Penn will be hard-pressed to find many similarities between this year's series and last. Like the Quakers, Columbia has lost much of last year's lineup to graduation. Columbia touts 19 freshmen and sophomores on its 28-man roster, one more than Penn. The Quakers batting order lacks much of last year's power and Columbia's pitching staff -- under first-year head coach Mik Aoki, a former Dartmouth assistant -- is holding opponents to under five runs a game. Columbia boasts two impressive lefties in its rotation, seniors Dan Gati -- "a junkballer," according to Penn coach Bob Seddon -- and Dan Brunello, this week's Ivy League Pitcher of the Week. In 16 innings of work, Gati -- who is slated to pitch against the Quakers tomorrow -- has posted a 2.25 ERA, giving up only four earned runs in three appearances all season. Brunello has been nothing short of dominant thus far. After 17 innings pitched, he still has a perfect 0.00 ERA and a 1-0 record. Opponents are batting a measly .111 against the southpaw, who the Quakers will see on Sunday. Brunello has struck out 12 on the year and took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against William Patterson. "Good pitching is going to stop any kind of good hitting," Seddon said. "So if Gati is effective we'll have trouble." But despite Gati and Brunello's early-season success, Seddon is confident that his team can hit them. "I don't see how Columbia's pitching should dominate our hitters," Seddon said. "If they do, I'll be very disappointed." But as good as Columbia's pitching has been, the Lions' bats have not exactly been lighting up opposing pitchers. The Lions are batting only .218 as a team and have scored just 32 runs in 10 games. Columbia's most productive hitter has actually been a freshman, catcher Matt Buckmiller, who leads the Lions in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, slugging percentage and batting average. That spells bad news for the Lions batting order as Penn's pitching staff has grown more effective since the spring break trip. Freshman pitcher Mike Mattern picked up two victories this week, to bring his record to 3-0 -- the only three Quakers wins this season. Freshmen Mark Lacerenza and Will Clark also put in solid innings this week, with Clark taking the loss against St. Joseph's. Although Seddon and pitching coach Bill Wagner have not announced which pitchers will start this weekend, Seddon said that three freshmen pitchers -- Mattern, Clark and Lacerenza -- will probably see significant action. Sophomore Matt Hepler and senior Sean McDonald also figure to see action against Columbia. "Our staff is a better pitching staff than last year but they're not going to shut everybody out," Seddon said. "It's not that kind of pitching staff --you've got to score for them." With that in mind, Seddon has made some adjustments in the lineup heading into the weekend. Catcher Ralph Vasami, who has played behind Jeff Gregorio for most of the year, will get the nod at designated hitter. In leftfield, juniors Kevin McCabe and Jeremy McDowell will split time. The lefty McCabe will get the start against Columbia's righty pitchers, while McDowell -- a righty -- will start in left when Gati and Brunello take the mound for Columbia.
Just when the Penn football coaching carousel was beginning to settle, another new coach hopped on at the start of the spring season. But this time, he's a familiar face to the Quakers. All-Ivy linebacker Darren Macdonald joined the team as a defensive assistant coach March 17, the first day of spring practices. Macdonald also will stay on as a coach next season when the Quakers prepare to defend their Ivy League championship. Macdonald described his new role as a "work-study" position and plans to stay on as a coach while he completes his Wharton degree. Macdonald keyed a defensive unit last season that was ranked as high as third in the nation in total defense. But after an off-season that saw a slew of coaching changes and shifts, the familiar face is a welcome addition to the Penn defense -- even if it is on the sidelines. After longtime defensive coordinator Mike Toop left to take the same position at the University of Connecticut, head coach Al Bagnoli announced he would assume the additional role of defensive coordinator and brought in Cliff Schwenke from Northern Arizona to coach the linebackers. Linebacker Jim Hisgen, one of next year's co-captains, said the addition of Macdonald to the coaching staff is helping the team speed the adjustment process with all of the coaching changes. "He's working really well with the new coach," Hisgen said. "Coach Schwenke knows what he's doing but he's just getting acclimated to the defense. "I think it helps him because Darren is there. He pretty much knows the defense inside and out." Macdonald has four practices under his belt but said his role thus far has mainly been to help Schwenke grow accustomed to Penn's system. "I'm not too active right now -- I just try to give a few tips here and there," Macdonald said. "Basically the only thing [Schwenke] needs me for is to get a grip on what our schedule used to be before he came, what things we did -- so I'm more of an informant." Seeing their former teammate with a whistle in his mouth instead of a mouthguard may take some getting used to for the Quakers, but junior linebacker Joseph Yiu said not much else has changed regarding Macdonald's status with the defensive unit. "We always looked up to Darren basically as a coach," Yiu said. "We would listen to everything he said when he was playing. Having him as a coach really doesn't change anything." But Macdonald said the adjustment has not been all that easy. "I know everybody so well, it's hard to draw the line from being a player and a coach," Macdonald said. "So far it's been OK. I know it's going to get harder next year once the games start." Hisgen gave his newest coach a vote of confidence, however. "It's weird not seeing him in pads but he's doing a great job," Hisgen said. "He's taking the job real seriously and everybody respects him." Macdonald, soft-spoken but known for his intensity on the field, coaches exactly like he played, according to Hisgen. "He doesn't yell," said Hisgen, who spent most of last season starting next to Macdonald. "The way he's coaching right now, he's doing the same thing [he did as a player]. "He was never a big yeller, but he knew his stuff. He's able to communicate what he's trying to get across and how he wants it done." So far in spring ball, Macdonald has not needed to yell. The players have not seen much action in pads and are still learning to deal with the new coaching arrangements. But Macdonald is not looking forward to his first opportunity to straighten out one of his players. "I'm nervous that if I try [to discipline someone], they'll just treat me like I was one of them," he said. Macdonald said he will use his time as an assistant at Penn to gauge a possible career in coaching. Joe Piela, a co-captain of the '98 Ivy champion Quakers, said his former teammate has what it takes to be a successful coach. "I'd love to play for Darren," Piela said. "He's an intense kid. You like to see that in a coach, someone who's intense and who loves the game." "I've thought about [coaching], and I figured this is one way to find out," said Macdonald, who admitted he has a whole new appreciation for his former coaches' predicaments. "After the first couple of [practices] I was like, 'God, no wonder.'"
The Penn wrestling team boasts three All-Americans this season for the first time in its history. STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- It took 57 years, but Penn wrestling is finally one of the nation's elite again. Last weekend at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, the Quakers finished 11th in the nation, which bested last year's 27th-place finish and is Penn's best result since finishing eighth in 1942. On the strength of three All-American performances -- a Penn record -- by Brett Matter (149 lbs.), Andrei Rodzianko (197 lbs.) and Bandele Adeniyi-Bada (285 lbs.), the Quakers totaled 45.5 team points, just one behind 10th-place Boise State. The Quakers stood in 10th place for much of the tournament but Kirk White's championship victory at 165 lbs. dropped the Quakers back to 11th and pushed the Broncos to 10th. "The whole team wrestled well out here," Rodzianko said. "We were ready, we were well-trained and we really showed it." In addition to the three All-Americans, Mark Piotrowsky (141 lbs.), who battled through knee injuries, and Rick Springman (165 lbs.) both were knocked out of the competition just one round short of placing in the top eight. Matter tore through his first three foes, pinning one and beating the other two by a combined 12-1. But in the semifinals he ran into top-seeded T.J. Williams of Iowa, the eventual NCAA champion. After a scoreless first period that saw Williams draw a stalling warning, the Iowa sophomore opened up, getting two takedowns in the second period en route to a 7-2 victory. "Once Williams got the first takedown, then he was able to sit back and counterattack," Penn coach Roger Reina said. The loss dropped Matter into the consolation bracket, where he lost a tight 3-1 match to No. 2 seed Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State. "I thought Brett controlled the match," Reina said. "[Wright] was completely defensive and should have been hit with stalling points." In the fifth-place match, Matter beat Lehigh's Ryan Bernholz 5-3. Although Matter came into State College seeded No. 5, he was not satisfied with the fifth-place finish. "I'm happy to be an All-American, I suppose," Matter said. "But I didn't come here just to be an All-American. I came here to win." Adeniyi-Bada stumbled out of the blocks at heavyweight, losing a second-round match 2-1 to Slippery Rock's Derek Delporto on a stalling call. He wrestled back to the placing rounds, however, meeting nemesis Bronson Lingamfelter of Brown. Lingamfelter had pinned Adeniyi-Bada in the EIWA semifinals after Adeniyi-Bada controlled the match for almost three periods. But there would be no mistakes for Adeniyi-Bada this time around as he grabbed a convincing 14-6 decision. "It was nice to let him know he only got a fluke and if he wants to go anywhere, he has to go through me" Adeniyi-Bada said. "I just have to keep on spanking him." On Friday night he suffered a hip injury in his match against Oregon State's Mat Orndorff, the No. 4 seed. He competed through the pain, though, and lost 6-2 to set up a rematch with Delporto in the seventh-place match. The second time was a charm for Adeniyi-Bada, who won 3-2. "We had [Delporto] scouted well out of that match and Bandele took advantage of it," Reina said. "We though he could score on a double-leg and that's exactly what he scored on." Rodzianko came into the tournament seeded second, but two losses to No. 5 seed Nick Muzashvili of Michigan State left Rodzianko in fourth place. After being knocked into the consolation bracket by a 5-4 loss to Muzashvili, Rodzianko faced stiff opposition on his way to the third-place match. The Penn tri-captain needed overtime to beat sixth-seeded Sam Neider of Northwestern, 3-1. He then pinned fifth-seeded Chris Vike of Central Michigan in the third period of a wild match. Rodzianko went up 2-0 on an early takedown and added three back points to take a 5-0 lead. But with 30 seconds left in the second period, Vike came up with three back points of his own, narrowing the gap to 5-3. In the third period, Rodzianko regained his edge, took Vike down and pinned him at 5:28. "I though he had taken [Vike] out of the match but he came roaring back," Reina said. In the rematch with Muzashvili for third place, the Michigan Stater outlasted Rodzianko 3-1. "Andrei had some scrambles that he had an opportunity to score on," Reina said. "But Muzashvili capitalized at the buzzer." The Quakers continued their upwardly mobile trend in the national wrestling scene and, with six of eight qualifiers returning next year, view this year's tournament as a stepping stone for greater things to come. While Rodzianko and Piotrowsky are graduating, Penn returns qualifiers Justin Bravo (125 lbs.), Jason Nagle (133 lbs.), Yoshi Nakamura (157 lbs.), Matter, Springman and Adeniyi-Bada. "The team gained a great deal of experience," Reina said. "Not just being here and competing here, but being here and competing well as a team."
Getting outscored 132-40 in nine games wasn't exactly what Penn baseball coach Bob Seddon had in mind when his team left for a spring break trip to California. Sure, his team had been outdoors only a handful of times all year. Yes, all of Penn's opponents had played at least 12 games. And yeah, this was the highest-quality opposition Seddon had seen in his 29 years as coach. But to come away with a 1-8 record and a 10.95 staff earned run average? "The teams out there were very strong and we were not competitive," Seddon said. "We played good teams but we played lousy on top of it. We could have been playing East Podunk and we would have had trouble." The trip started off inauspiciously with a 21-3 loss to Cal State-Pomona. Penn jumped out 2-1 after one inning -- but then the floodgates opened. A seven-run fourth and a five-run sixth inning iced the cake for Pomona in the first game of a doubleheader. The nightcap proved a bit more interesting, with Penn faltering in the last inning to lose 5-4. Quakers ace Sean McDonald came into the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead. After retiring Pomona's No. 3 hitter, McDonald gave up a grounder to second base. Second baseman Shawn Spiezio fielded the ball but pulled his hamstring on the pivot and then separated his shoulder as he fell to the ground. Spiezio was out for the rest of the trip. After a hit batsman put runners on first and second, both baserunners scored on a fielding mixup and an error on rightfielder Kevin McCabe, giving the Broncos the heartbreaking victory. The next day brought Penn's lone win -- 14-4 over Whittier College. Three freshmen pitchers -- Mike Mattern, Mark Lacerenza and Will Clark -- combined to scatter seven hits over nine innings. "[Pitching] kept us in the ballgame," McDonald said. "We didn't fall behind early." With the pitchers keeping the Poets' bats at bay, the Quakers had a chance to utilize a more aggressive offense. All four of the Quakers' stolen bases in the trip came against Whittier. Captain Glen Ambrosius highlighted the day with Penn's first home run of the season -- a towering grand slam. "It was a bomb," Seddon said. "It went over fences, over telephone poles -- he really hit it." After the win, however, the bright spots were few and far between for the Quakers, as they dropped their next six games by an average of almost 14 runs. Even though Penn faced pitchers that will be drafted by Major League teams next season, McDonald said that cannot explain away the losses. "That would be copping out," he said. "It doesn't excuse our fielding percentage and not getting big hits." But the performances of the freshmen pitchers remains a positive. "They hung in there facing tremendous adversity," McDonald said. "They really showed composure through [fielding] errors and tough umps." In addition to picking up the team's only victory, Mattern pitched six solid innings against undefeated North Carolina, which is ranked No. 5 in the nation. "He did a hell of a job against North Carolina," McDonald said of Mattern, who gave up five runs, three of them earned, to the Tar Heels. "He has what it takes to get quality hitters out." Junior Jeff Gregorio also made a case for himself in a tight race for the starting catcher spot. He hit .407 on the trip with a homer and four RBIs. But Seddon still does not know just how his team will rebound from the trip. "I think you're going to find out what kind of team we're going to be in the next week and a half," Seddon said.
After losing offensive power to graduation, a younger, hungrier squad eyes the Gehrig title. After losing offensive power to graduation, a younger, hungrier squad eyes the Gehrig title.With the loss of several big bats, this year's squad will have to manufacture runs rather than rely on home runs. The 1998 Penn baseball team smashed the all-time Penn home run record, finished third all-time in runs batted in and averaged nearly eight runs a game. Those records appear to be pretty safe in the hands of this year's squad. Graduated are Armen Simonian, Joe Carlon, Mark Nagata, Drew Corradini and Dave Corleto -- and gone is their tremendous offensive production. Between the five, the Quakers immediately lose 194 hits, 140 RBI and 27 homers. But this is a different, younger, scrappier and hungrier Quakers team. Eighteen of the 28 players on Penn's roster are either freshmen or sophomores and many starting spots are still undecided. "We're playing fundamental baseball," pitcher Sean McDonald said. "We're not playing Gil Hodges baseball where we're just waiting for the long ball. "This year there's going to be a lot of stealing, moving guys around and putting a lot of pressure on the defense instead of sitting back and waiting for the long ball." Penn has to be a team that manufactures runs because unlike last year, when five of Penn's starters were legitimate home run threats, only seniors Glen Ambrosius and Russ Farscht pose serious long ball problems to opposing pitchers. Shortstop and team captain Ambrosius homered eight times, driving in 26 runs and batting .316 last year. He said that Penn will have to rely on "singles and doubles" this year, as opposed to last year's squad, which finished third in the Ivy League's Gehrig Division behind Princeton and Cornell. The shift to a less power-driven offense puts increased pressure on the Quakers pitching staff, which recorded a hefty 7.20 earned run average last season. "Last year's team pounded the ball, but what did it get us?" Penn coach Bob Seddon asked. "The pitching wasn't there." Pitching coach Bill Wagner's group loses workhorse Simonian and his 52.1 innings pitched but McDonald will step into the top spot in the rotation. McDonald, a second team All-Ivy selection, posted a 4-2 mark and a 4.38 ERA. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his two years pitching for the Quakers, no-hitting Cornell and striking out eight batters against Princeton a year ago. Sophomores contending for other spots in the rotation include Brian Burket and Matt Hepler. In 14 innings pitched his freshman year, Burket gave up 22 hits but struck out 13 while walking only four. "Brian Burket last year came on nicely and he had a good summer," Seddon said. "He worked real hard in the summer, pitched a lot of baseball. "He had a good fall, and we look for him to step up." Hepler started five games last year, finishing with a 1-2 record and a 6.97 ERA. He pitched six innings in an 11-2 drubbing of Columbia to net his lone win. Also returning are juniors Anthony Napolitano and John Dolan, who both saw action out of the bullpen last year. "[Napolitano] beat Dartmouth last year -- he's had his moments," Seddon said. "But we need more than just moments." The Quakers will miss the services of last year's closer, Travis Arbogast, who led the staff with a 4.15 ERA. Without a clear-cut replacement waiting in the wings, Seddon and Wagner have to close by committee until a solid candidate for the job arises. "One of our weak links has been [the lack] of a closer," Seddon said. "We're trying to find a closer in the worst way. We're trying to develop a freshman pitcher possibly into that role, or maybe one of the veteran pitchers." In the field, many of the positions are set but a few are still up in the air. The final starting lineup will most likely be decided by the play on the team's trip to California, which begins Saturday. The trip will feature games at Cal State-Pomona, Whittier College and in the Fresno State/Pepsi Classic tournament. At first, the lefty Farscht will grab the lion's share of the playing time at first base, having started there for the past two years. Seddon gave sophomore Travis Putnam the nod at second, where he saw limited action last year backing up Carlon. Sophomore Jim Mullen, last year's Penn Rookie of the Year, will start at third base. He hit .327 with five RBIs and one home run -- a game-winning shot against Dartmouth. Also competing for playing time in the infield is senior Shawn Spiezio, who switch hits and has spent at all four positions during his Penn career. Seddon touted his outfield as a stronger part of the team's defense. All-Ivy selection Corradini is the team's "biggest loss," according to Seddon, not only for his team-leading 55 hits, but also for his glove. Sophomore Randy Ferrell is expected to step into the centerfield spot. He got into 20 games as a rookie while seeing significant action as a pinch runner. In left, Jeremy McDowell hit .275 with three homers and 16 RBIs last year while posting a perfect fielding percentage. "McDowell has looked very good early on," Seddon said. "He had a great start last year, but it kind of fizzled toward the end." A battle is brewing in right field between Kevin Johnson, Kevin McCabe and Ron Rolph, who also pitches. Among the three, Seddon said Johnson has the stronger arm but McCabe and Rolph have the edge in speed. "The outfield is a strong part of our team," Seddon said. "It's very good defensively -- they're about five-deep there." At catcher, junior Ralph Vasami, who saw action backing up Corleto last year, is the leading contender for the starting spot, but with junior Jeff Gregorio and three freshmen catchers on the roster vying for innings, the group will share time. "Obviously the experience isn't there but it should be a strong area," Seddon said. "I don't see one catcher doing all the catching." With so many inexperienced underclassmen on the team and so few opportunities to play thus far, questions still hang over the Quakers. But Penn remains confident that youth will be an asset, not a liability. "We haven't gotten out much this year, so it's going to show in some ways," Ambrosius said. "But we've worked a lot harder this year as far as the team as a whole, probably because there's more younger guys and more positions to be won." The new youth and vigor has paid off in terms of intra-team competition, but the as yet unproven run-manufacturing offense and the inexperienced pitching staff should get a major test in California.
After losing offensive power to graduation, a younger, hungrier squad eyes the Gehrig title. After losing offensive power to graduation, a younger, hungrier squad eyes the Gehrig title.With the loss of several big bats, this year's squad will have to manufacture runs rather than rely on home runs. Eighteen of 28 members of the Penn baseball team are freshmen or sophomores. And they still think they can compete for an Ivy League title. Junior All-Ivy pitcher Sean McDonald said that despite the team's inexperience and youth, the Quakers still have their sights set on the top of the Gehrig Division. McDonald, for one, should know about the young Quakers. As the team's No. 1 starter, he has seen a crop of five freshmen pitchers develop throughout the year. "It's actually worked out to our benefit this year; everyone's basically competing for spots," McDonald said. "That's what's great about a young team -- new fresh blood, everybody's competing, everybody just wants to play, everybody wants to win." The freshmen will not have much of a learning curve. Without an established closer and with many of last year's bullpen arms competing for starting spots, the frosh will get plenty of innings in middle relief. "None of them are not going to pitch," McDonald said. "I know [pitching coach Bill] Wagner is intent on pitching all of them out in California just to see how they will do." Competing at Cal-Sate Pomona, Whittier College and the Fresno State/Pepsi Classic next week may prove to be a rough indoctrination for the young guns. While Penn has been indoors for most of the year, the West Coast teams have had the luxury of being out on the field in sunny California. "Indoors on the East Coast really doesn't say much," McDonald said. "But I'm pretty confident in a lot of our young pitchers coming out to California. They've come a long way since the fall." Most of the pitchers came into training camp with only a fastball and a curve, but since then have worked on gaining velocity on their fastball and developing a third or fourth pitch for their repertoires. "At this level you're going to need at least three [pitches] to be successful," McDonald said. The freshmen pitchers are looking forward to the California trip, not only as a chance to show their stuff but as an opportunity to get away from the East Coast for a while, according to freshman pitcher Dave Gonzalez. "It's just exciting for the guys to travel, [start] playing some good baseball out there and really get in shape," Gonzalez said. Penn coach Bob Seddon hopes the trip will answer a multitude of questions about his young group. "We have a lot of arms, but a lot of ifs," Seddon said. "That's a concern right off the bat. "We have some freshmen pitchers that are right in the pack there." In addition to the pitching staff, freshmen are also making immediate impacts elsewhere on the squad. At catcher, Seddon said freshmen backstops Dan Fitzgerald, Brian Fitzgerald and Bill Collins are giving juniors Ralph Vasami and Jeff Gregorio a run for their money. Brian Fitzgerald will also see action at the designated hitter spot this year. Senior captain Glen Ambrosius said that the large number of untested players puts pressure on the veterans to lead by example but ultimately the freshmen and sophomores will have to learn in game situations. "A lot of it depends on how they take that first experience," Ambrosius said. "If it's a bad experience, they really have to learn from it and not let it affect them the next time they're out there. "If they don't get down on themselves and get over those first adversities, they'll be okay." One advantage to fielding a large number of freshman is that other teams will not have detailed scouting reports on Penn's yet-to-be-tested squad. "I think we're going to sneak up on a lot of people," McDonald said. "If you look at what's coming back from our team this year, nobody would think we'd even be vying for a spot. "But I truly think that with our team speed and our team attitude --the way we're just playing baseball now -- [we'll succeed]." With the inexperience and uncertainty, the new class also brings hunger, impatience and a sense of urgency. That may just be what the doctor ordered for the Quakers, who haven't won the Gehrig Division outright in four years.
The Penn men's basketball team scored an impressive 25-point win at Princeton to take the Ivy League championship. PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Penn men's basketball team isn't going to get a spring break. Instead, the Quakers will be preparing for their first NCAA Tournament appearance in four years -- 20 years after Penn's only Final Four appearance. By defeating Princeton 73-48 at Jadwin Gymnasium last night, Penn won the Ivy League championship outright for the first time since 1995. The victory came just three weeks after Princeton staged the fourth-largest comeback in NCAA history, defeating Penn 50-49 at the Palestra after trailing by 27 points in the second half. "What happened at the Palestra happens every two or three years in college basketball and it happened to us," senior forward Jed Ryan said. "We regrouped, we came back and we did exactly what we had to do to win the league." The game started out nip and tuck, with both teams trading blows in the first half. The Tigers managed to stay even with the Quakers until Penn junior guard Michael Jordan drained a three-point shot at the end of the first half to put Penn up 29-26 -- a lead the Quakers never relinquished. With the Quakers' second-half meltdown last month fresh in their minds, Penn blew the game open when they returned from the locker rooms after the half. The Quakers started the half with a 15-2 run and jumped out to a 44-28 lead with 12:20 to go in the game. But unlike their last meeting, Penn kept playing aggressively and kept the pressure on the Tigers. Slicing through the Princeton press that gave them so much trouble at the Palestra, the Quakers took advantage of a series of easy buckets and increased their lead to 19 points with just six minutes to go. When third-year Princeton coach Bill Carmody called a 20-second timeout with 5:46 remaining, even the Princeton faithful knew that their three-year stranglehold on the Ivy League title had disappeared. As waves of Tigers fans made their way to the exits, Penn held on to its lead -- eventually increasing it to 25 by making 8-of-9 foul shots in the final 3:15 of the game. Princeton freshman center Chris Young, who led all scorers with 17 points, fouled out with 2:40 remaining as the vocal minority of Quakers fans in Jadwin Gymnasium began chanting "Ivy Champs." As time ran down, the Penn fans gathered behind the west basket and spilled out onto the Jadwin floor at the final buzzer. Before a dejected crowd of orange-and-black-clad Princeton supporters, members of the Penn team took turns cutting down the net in celebration. "This is one of the greatest moments in my life," said Jordan, who wore the net around his neck after the game. "I haven't been to [the NCAA Tournament] since I've been in college and I just can't wait to experience it." Jordan, one of the leading candidates for Ivy League Player of the Year, is not alone --Eno player on Penn's squad has ever advanced to the Big Dance, making last night's victory twice as nice, according to senior forward Paul Romanczuk, who racked up 13 points and six rebounds. "We've worked so hard for four years," Romanczuk said. "It's incredible just to get one [Ivy title] and to finish out a career winning a championship." A highlight of the game was the gutsy play of Penn junior center Geoff Owens, who recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots --Ewhile playing with a broken jaw that was wired shut last week, and, in the final minutes of the game, a large cut above his right eye from an elbow to the face by Princeton senior forward Gabe Lewullis. The rout was yet another surprise in an Ivy basketball season that was full of them. After Princeton dealt the Quakers the crushing 50-49 loss at the Palestra, the Tigers moved in to the driver's seat in the Ivy title race. But Princeton's losses to lowly Harvard and Yale -- the Tigers' first Ivy defeats since 1996 -- knocked the Tigers down to the second spot and put the Quakers, who swept their remaining seven Ivy games en route to a 13-1 conference record, into first place alone for the first time in four years. "A lot of people wrote us off and said, 'Penn could never bounce back from [the loss],'" Jordan said. "So we showed everyone they were wrong." With the win, the Quakers avoided a one-game playoff to decide which team would get the automatic NCAA invitation. In 1996, Princeton beat Penn, 63-56, in overtime in a one-game playoff which began the Tigers' three-year hold on the title and ended Penn's early '90s dominance. Last night marked the 200th meeting in the Ivy League's most significant men's basketball rivalry. The Quakers improved to 107-93 overall against their New Jersey neighbors. The two powers have now combined for 34 of the last 37 Ivy League titles, making their twice-annual meetings among the most important regular season matchups in college basketball, with an NCAA berth hinging on them. "I love the excitement, I love the intensity, I love the way everybody who's ever been to Penn or Princeton cares about this game wherever they are," Ivy League Executive Director Jeff Orleans said. "I love the fact that it's great basketball and two coaches and two teams that really respect each other." The NCAA selects and seeds teams this Sunday for its 64-team tournament. Penn receives an automatic bid to the tournament by virtue of winning its conference. Possible first-round destinations for the game, which would be played on either March 11 or March 12, include cities such as Charlotte, N.C., Boston and Seattle.
A few Quakers fans were eventually forced to stop selling their "Romanczuk 3:16" T-shirts and Dunphy heads on a stick. So much for entrepreneurial spirit. Just before the Penn-Princeton game got underway, the students responsible for the production and sale of the popular "Romanczuk 3:16" T-shirts and the "Dunphy-on-a-stick" collectibles were reprimanded by Penn Director of Marketing Bill Richter and forced to stop selling the items. According to the one of the students, who requested anonymity, Richter went as far as to call for security when he saw the unlicensed sale of the memorabilia. Richter said he was only looking to follow NCAA regulations, which prohibit the use of a player or coach's likeness without following strict compliance guidelines. "These are all NCAA rules," Richter said. "You can't take an athlete's name or likeness or any such thing and sell that without complying with a whole host of NCAA guidelines. "Offenses could range from something as serious as eligibility is lost for that particular athlete to being no situation whatsoever." After Richter showed a Dunphy-on-a-stick to its real-life counterpart and got approval from the Penn coach, Richter allowed the group to distribute the sticks free of charge inside the Palestra underneath either basket. The student said that the only intention of the group -- none of whose members are in the Wharton School -- was to foster school spirit and they felt Richter may have overreacted. "I don't know if it was the right reaction to attack us, we were just trying to create some school spirit behind the team," the student said. "Had they got permission, we could have helped them distribute those things," said Richter, who expressed interest in creating a student representative to generate ideas for promotions at Penn sporting events. "You can't just grab someone's likeness or someone's name and expect to commercially turn a profit." The students who made the Dunphy sticks, however, said they actually lost money on the endeavor. The students claim the idea for the Dunphy novelties were in fact the brainchild of small forward Jed Ryan, who wanted to see center Geoff Owens' likeness on a stick. When they decided to take action, though, plans changed. "We were looking through a media guide and we found this picture of Fran Dunphy with a big bushy mustache," one of the students said. "We just decided it had to be Dunphy on a stick." The Romanczuk T-shirts are a takeoff on the popular "Austin 3:16" shirts made for wrestler Steve Austin. "I was watching a Maryland game a couple weeks ago, and I saw they made some 'Francis 3:16' shirts for Steve Francis, so I pretty much stole it from them," the student said. The group of entrepreneurs do not plan to continue selling their gear outside of the Palestra before games, although they do have some T-shirts left. "I think we're going to retire the Dunphys," the student said. "Next year we'll see what happens, [but] I don't think we're going to do anything else this year." Although the Dunphy-on-a-sticks have now become collector's items, the manufacturer said that a bidding frenzy would be pointless. "A price cannot be put on Dunphy's head," he said.
The Quakers' coaching ranks have seen a number of changes this off-season. The Penn football coaching carousel has done its fair share of spinning and it hasn't stopped yet. A flurry of coaching departures, hires and lateral movements has marked this off-season for the Ivy League-champion Quakers. In the wake of longtime defensive coordinator Mike Toop's move to the University of Connecticut, Penn head coach Al Bagnoli announced he will head up the defense in addition to his head coaching responsibilities. Further adding to Bagnoli's workload, he will assume control of the secondary, which Toop shared with assistant Paul Williams, who left for the University of Jacksonville. To ease the burden of being a head coach, a coordinator and a positional coach, Bagnoli and his staff have made a bevy of shifts. Mark Chmeilinsky, the running backs coach, will move over to the defensive side and assist Bagnoli with the secondary. Chmeilinsky has had experience with the position. Before coaching running backs the past two years, he led the d-backs for three years -- including 1994, when the Quakers were tops in the country in pass defense. Although Bagnoli will be the defensive coordinator, defensive ends coach Ray Priore and defensive line coach Jim Schaefer have been given greater responsibilities. According to Bagnoli, Priore will head up the pass game coordination of the defense and Schaefer will handle the run defense. To replace Penn's third defensive coaching loss -- linebackers coach Todd Orlando followed Toop to UConn -- Bagnoli brought in veteran and friend Cliff Schwenke, who most recently coached at Northern Arizona. Bagnoli believes the players will respond to Schwenke, who spent time at Holy Cross and Maryland before going to Northern Arizona. He reports today for his first day. "Once they get a chance to meet Cliff, I think they can form their own opinion," Bagnoli said. "But I think he'll do a very good job here. He's been in a lot of different environments. I've had a chance to work with him once before and he's been a friend for 20 years." Schwenke's tasks include coaching the linebacking corps and helping Schaefer with the run defense coordination. "In Cliff, we had to bring in someone with some experience," Bagnoli said. "We couldn't bring in another young guy because we lost Mike Toop, [who had] quite a bit of experience." But the Penn coaching staff has a few more moves to make. "What we have to hire is one defensive assistant to replace Todd Orlando and one offensive assistant to replace Mark Chmeilinsky," Bagnoli said. "[Tight ends coach] Karl Miran will probably move to running backs -- we haven't figured all that out yet." To fill the gap left by Miran, offensive line assistant John Keller will most likely take over the tight ends spot. So will everyone get lost in all this confusion? "I hope not," Bagnoli said. But the Quakers coaches have some time to get acquainted with their new digs before spring ball starts March 17 and they have about six months until training camp opens in August. While Bagnoli is confident the system will work, he is concerned about the huge plate he has served himself. "Certainly I can't do it myself," Bagnoli said. "That's the million-dollar question -- can you do everything? People in the NFL can do it, so I assume you can do it on the collegiate level, but until we actually do it [who knows]?" Bagnoli said the coaching changes had no effect on recruiting, emphasizing that the head coach is a more crucial position in recruiting, but admitted the changes made for more legwork for the remaining coaches. "It became a harder workload because we had less people to share it with," Bagnoli said. "We all had to assume Toop's recruiting. We had to get Karl Miran, Mike Chmeilinsky and Paul Williams on the road. In that respect, we lost some manpower."
The Penn men's basketball team saw a 29-3 lead in the first half vanish as Princeton rode a remarkable second-half comeback to emerge as the Ivy leader. Ouch. After going on a 29-point run, holding Princeton to three points for the first 15 minutes of the game and heading into the locker room at halftime with a 33-9 advantage, one would think the Penn men's basketball team was in a pretty comfortable position. Think again. The best thing Penn fans can say about last night's game was that they witnessed the Quakers' most dominating first half in recent memory. Unfortunately, Princeton fans can say that they witnessed the most dominating second half. The Tigers (16-4, 7-0 Ivy League) put together an improbable and inexplicable comeback to snatch a 50-49 victory from the hands of the stunned Quakers (14-4, 6-1) last night. The victory puts Princeton in the driver's seat for the Ivy League title -- and an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. All seemed well in the Quakers' world when the crowd started chanting in unison "You've got three points" at the Princeton players with five minutes left in the first half. Little did the Tigers know that when guard Brian Earl sank a three-pointer three minutes into the game to give them a 3-0 lead, they would not score for almost 13 more minutes. In that stretch, Penn dismantled Princeton in every facet of the game, running away to a 29-3 lead. Poor shooting and a lack of execution did the Tigers during the first part of the game. Princeton shot an abysmal 11 percent from the field in the first half, including an 8.3 percent performance on 1-of-12 shooting from behind the three-point line. Even the Tigers' vaunted backdoor offense failed them. Princeton connected on just one backdoor pass in the first half, coming with 4:45 left. Off the pass, Earl missed a short jumper, then fouled Penn guard Michael Jordan. But Penn's glory was fleeting. The Tigers came out in the second half with increased energy and focus. Keyed by a stifling press and 13 points from forward Mason Rocca points, Princeton slowly and methodically closed the gap on the Quakers. The Tigers did a number on Penn's offense with the press, allowing the Quakers just 12 shots from the field in the entire second half. "It wasn't a problem getting the ball inbound," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "But when we would get it over half court, we should have tried to push it, really try to be aggressive with it and I think we got tentative." Princeton also picked it up on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 15 of-31 from the field and making 5-of-10 from behind the arc. Forward Gabe Lewullis sparked a run of Tigers points that brought Princeton to within 12 with 9:59 remaining. He forced a jump ball and made three steals, after which the score stood at 42-30. "I think we just picked up the pressure, especially Gabe," Young said. "Gabe was everywhere." After another Quakers turnover, forward Paul Romanczuk -- playing with a jagged scar on his left eyelid from last Saturday's Harvard game -- picked up his fourth foul reaching in on Rocca. Then, after Rocca put back a Young miss and was fouled by Quakers center Geoff Owens, the Princeton forward made the ensuing free throw, making it a nine-point game. A Tigers steal as the Princeton squad returned back up-court on defense led to a three by Earl, cutting the score to 42-36 with 6:30 left, stunning the Quakers fans and reviving the small minority of Princeton fans in the northeast section of the Palestra. With four minutes left to play, a Jordan turnover led to a Young three-pointer. At 49-46, it was a three-point game. Quakers guard Matt Langel was called for travelling on Penn's next possession. A backdoor layup by Earl brought Princeton to within one. Then Jordan missed a three-pointer and Young -- who was playing with four fouls -- followed with a hook shot at the other end to give Princeton a 50-49 lead with 2:14 remaining. The basket gave the Tigers their first lead since scoring the initial basket of the game. With 45 seconds left, Owens blocked Rocca down low, and then drew a foul on the Princeton forward. But Owens, who hit only 2-of-8 from the charity stripe on the night, failed to connect on either free throw. The Tigers brought the ball back upcourt and called a timeout with 24.8 left on the clock. As Rocca took the inbounds pass and drove to the basket, Langel stepped in front of him, drawing a questionable blocking foul. The foul sent Rocca to the line for a one-and-one with 17.7 seconds on the clock. Romanczuk grabbed Rocca's miss on the first attempt. Jordan brought the ball over the half-court line, where he was met by Princeton's Ahmed El-Nokali. With eight seconds on the clock, Jordan made his move. "I tried to make a move on him, and I was going to pass it to Paul," Jordan said. "But Rocca stepped up and I saw Earl dive so tried to kick it out to Matt." Jordan eventually got off a weak pass to Langel, who put up a baseline jumper that bounced short off the iron. Earl grabbed the rebound as time expired, sealing Princeton's remarkable comeback. As the lights were being turned off at the Palestra almost an hour after the game, a few Quakers faithful were still in attendance amidst a sea of ripped-up newspapers and heartache. With the final tones of the Princeton band echoing in the background, the remaining fans, hunched over, heads in respective hands, sat motionless . They were pondering one of the largest comebacks in Ivy League history.
The Penn men's basketball team plays Dartmouth tonight at the Palestra in a matchup of two teams with no Ivy losses. While Penn fans may be looking past this weekend's men's basketball action in anticipation of the Princeton game on Tuesday, the Quakers are focused squarely on the task at hand. Penn welcomes two pesky Ivy rivals to the Palestra this weekend. The Quakers host Dartmouth tonight at 7 p.m. and Harvard tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Dartmouth (10-8, 6-0 Ivy League) has traditionally been a thorn in the Quakers' sides. After all, it was the Big Green who ended Penn's 48-game Ivy winning streak in 1996. This year's Dartmouth squad currently sits atop the Ivy League standings with a 6-0 record. But the Big Green's perfect record is in jeopardy this weekend. After playing Penn (12-3, 4-0), the Big Green travel to Princeton, which is tied for second in the Ancient Eight with the Quakers. Dartmouth coach Dave Faucher admitted he did not expect such results from his very young squad -- which starts two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior. "I'm pleasantly surprised [by our 6-0 start in Ivy play]," Faucher said. "I knew we had a young group coming in. Obviously we weren't respected in any of the pre-season polls and the team has come together better than I had anticipated. I'm very pleased with where we are." Penn tri-captain Michael Jordan said that the Big Green's relative inexperience will not factor heavily into the game. "It doesn't matter what year you are," Jordan said. "If you can play, you can play." And play Dartmouth can -- at least against its Ivy competition so far. Leading the charge for the Big Green are 6'7'' forward Shaun Gee and 6'3'' guard Greg Buth -- Nos. 1 and 3 in Ivy scoring. "Last year we desperately needed [Gee] to score, as we do this year," Faucher said. "But he's really made the other players better. He's capable of scoring a lot of points, but we have a much more balanced attack because of his unselfishness." Buth, who missed the first part of last season with a knee injury, has come into his own this year, leading the Big Green in field-goal percentage, three-point shooting and free-throw shooting. "One of my strengths has always been shooting and this year I've just been able to get a lot of open shots, and I've been able to knock 'em down," Buth said. But Jordan said Dartmouth's terrible twosome inspires motivation, not fear, in the Quakers. "We hear a lot about their scoring but that's good for us," Jordan said. "We take pride in our defense, and hopefully whoever is guarding them will come out and put the glove on them." Also causing trouble for the Quakers will be Dartmouth's 6'8'', 220-lb. power forward Ian McGinnis, who leads the country in rebounding with 12.3 boards per game. The threat McGinnis poses in the middle could be a trouble spot for the Quakers. In all three of Penn's losses, the Quakers were outrebounded. And in nine of Penn's 12 victories, the Quakers grabbed the edge on the boards. Penn, however, will not employ any specific tactics to stop McGinnis. "There are no specific gimmicks, we'll just play him straight up," Jordan said. "[There has been] a lot of hype, but he has to prove it." After the surprising Dartmouth team travels to Princeton, the Quakers take on Harvard (9-9, 3-3) -- whose performance this year has been, well, typical Harvard. But the Crimson come into tomorrow's game on a relative roll in Ivy play. After a 69-67 loss at Dartmouth dropped Harvard to 1-3 in the conference, the Crimson dished out two spankings, drubbing Yale 76-58 and Brown 80-62. But then again, Yale and Brown have met with a number of drubbings this season, as the two New England schools currently sit in the basement of the Ivy standings. The Crimson -- who return four starters from last year's fourth-place team -- are led by 5'11'' guard Tim Hill, who is scoring 16.2 points per game. "We expect to see the same thing [as in previous years] from Harvard," Jordan said. "They run the same offense. We're just going to play them the same way."