Search Results

Below are your search results. You can also try a Basic Search.

Football has one win left

(11/20/98 10:00am)

The Quakers look to win the Ivy League football title outright, as they take on the Cornell Big Red. Like a spoiled kid, the Penn football team doesn't want a piece of it. They want the whole thing. Last weekend's 41-10 victory against visiting Harvard gave the Penn fans in attendance -- except those affiliated with the University's maintenance and facilities division -- a reason to celebrate. While the victory earned the Quakers a share of the Ivy League championship, they have to travel to Ithaca, N.Y., and battle Cornell Saturday at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field to claim the rest of it. "We won and that was great," Penn defensive back Joe Piela said. "Nobody wants a share of the championship. It's like kissing your sister. We want to go up there and prove to everyone that we are the best team in the league." In between the numerous festivities that have followed last week's victory, the Quakers have spent the week pondering something that hasn't adorned the team in four years, an Ivy League championship outright. For the seniors, the game represents much more than just winning the championship. It represents a way to fulfill what they felt was their obligation as the recruits the last time the Penn football program was in this position. "Coming in here, Penn had won two straight championships," Piela said. "I came in here looking to win at least two. The first two years were pretty disappointing. I think the leadership by the seniors is the difference from the past couple of years and has brought this program back to where it belongs." Possibly a team of destiny, a couple of unlikely seniors -- one who two years ago played on the opposite side of the ball and another who started for another school -- have found their way into the Quakers' record book Finn, who played defensive back in last season's opening game against Dartmouth, has become one of the most prolific running backs in Penn history. Currently 41 yards shy of breaking Bryan Keys' Penn single season rushing record of 1,302 yards, Finn also needs only 18 points to break Penn's all-time mark of 109 points set by Howard Berry in 1917. "It's great to have played the position that you always wanted to and be successful at it," Finn said. Rader, a 1997 transfer from Duke, came to Penn with high hopes and aspirations. The fifth-year senior has more than exceeded them. This season, Rader has compiled 1,883 yards and sits 315 yards behind Jimmy McGeehan's mark set in 1993 for the Penn single-season record and 240 yards for Penn's career record. "It's a feeling of fulfillment," Rader said. "With all of the expectations that were brought in here with me, to win it as a senior on Franklin Field is a special moment that will be with the seniors and with me for the rest of our lives." Rader and Finn have put together one of the fiercest Penn offenses ever, averaging 378.2 yards of total offense and 29.1 points per game. "They actually feed off each other," Bagnoli said. "It is a luxury to have a workload running back that can carry the ball 40 times. He takes pressure off the receivers, off the quarterback. Then you turn around and you have a kid who can throw it for 300 yards in any game, and he takes the pressure of Finn. In the way of the Quakers stands Cornell, a team one win shy of .500. Senior quarterback Mike Hood (1,637 yards, 12 touchdowns) leads the Big Red's offensive machine along with 6', 217-pound running back Deon Harris (722 yards, four touchdowns). "Harris runs the ball well up the middle," Piela said. "It's going to be hard to bring him down. We are going to have to play good defense up front and not let him run through the middle and run free." While Cornell tries to counter opposing rushing offenses with an eight-man defensive front, they have been more successful against the pass, allowing 176.3 yards passing per game compared to 183.8 yards rushing per game. "They play very good team defense," Bagnoli said. "They have been frustrating a lot of people, because they don't let anybody deep. They don't give up big plays. They are a very patient defense, and they frustrate a lot of teams." Walking into a game heavily favored to win, the Quakers realize the attention and pressure will be focussed on them. "We still have a lot at stake," Bagnoli said. "We are not going in there trying to be conservative. We are not going in there trying to be passive. We are going in there trying to attack and trying to win it." Although the records will be in the back of everyone's minds, Finn, Rader and the coaches believe that will be the best place for them to remain. "If we can accomplish winning the game and we can do some other things, we will try to do it," Bagnoli said. "We won't do it out of the context of a normal game. We won't put Matt Rader back in if we are up by 25." Entering the season, Penn had one simple goal. They wanted to win the Ivy League championship. Tomorrow they will get their chance to win it outright.

IVY CHAMPS! Football wins share of title

(11/16/98 10:00am)

No disappointment. No let down. One less goalpost. Last year Harvard clinched the Ivy League title after disposing Penn 33-0 in Cambridge. Saturday, the Quakers (7-2, 5-1 Ivy League) turned the tables, defeating the visiting Crimson (4-5, 3-3), 41-10, for their first Ivy League Championship since 1994. "It's unbelievable," Penn linebacker Darren MacDonald said. "I was in tears with four minutes left to go in the game. It's the greatest feeling I have ever had." While Harvard showed little resemblance to last season's team, the Quakers did not even need the full 60 minutes to show their progress from last year. "Obviously a complete role reversal from last year," Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. "They beat the hell out of us, and they deserved to win." Without feeling the pressure or excitement of a possible Ivy League Championship, Penn's offense continued where it left off against Princeton a week ago. After scoring three touchdowns in the first five minutes against Harvard, the Quakers needed only five plays from the line-of-scrimmage to take a 13-3 lead halfway through the first quarter. The Quakers' first possession began on Harvard's 31-yard line after a 21-yard punt return by Penn's Joe Piela. Four plays later, Penn running back Jim Finn ran the ball into the endzone from the eight-yards out for his Ivy League leading 14th touchdown of the season. "The guys up front on the punt return team did a great job, as they have been doing all year," Piela said. "It set the tempo. The offense got the ball, and they put it right in. That is how you want to start the game." On the first play of the Quakers' next possession, Penn quarterback Matt Rader found wide receiver Brandon Carson clear past Harvard defensive back Glenn Jackson for a 78-yard touchdown bomb. "It was just a bootleg pass," Rader said. "The defensive back actually stopped in the coverage because he was about 50 yards downfield. I just lobbed it over his head, and Carson made a great play." The Crimson's rushing defense, along with a few penalties, slowed Penn's offensive progress for the rest of the half. Finn, the Ivy League leading rusher, was held to only 44 yards on 13 carries in the first half. While, an offensive holding penalty on Penn nullified a touchdown throw and caused Penn to attempt a 43-yard field goal, which kicked by Jason Feinberg missed short. "Harvard has one of those eight-man defensive fronts," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "We knew that we were going to have to run just to keep them honest. The only time that our offense really got stopped is when we ran into a lot of penalty situations. Against a defense that good it can't be first and 15 or second and 20." With its lead down to ten halfway into the third period, Penn resorted to its passing attack to ignite the offense. After completing passes to Penn wide receivers Jason Battung and David O'Neill, Rader (15-of-25 for 260 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) handed the ball off to Finn who scored from 16 yards out. "It seemed like Rader just hit every receiver with every pass," Harvard defensive tackle Brendan Bibro said. "They just took it to us. They took control of the game. It was anybody's game right there." As the Quakers added touchdowns by Finn, who finished the game with 106 yards on 27 carries, and tailback Jason McGee in the fourth quarter, Penn's led 27-10 with one quarter left -- enough leeway for the fans to start chanting for the goal posts. The reason for this confidence came from the Quakers' stingy defense, slamming the door on Harvard's hopes to comeback. Bending but not breaking, Penn's defense did not allow Harvard to complete an offensive play longer than 15 yards. Although Penn gave up 96 yards to Harvard's second string running back Damon Jones -- filling in for the injured Chris Menick -- the Quakers' pass defense was ruthless. Early in the second quarter, Piela, from the safety position, intercepted Harvard quarterback Rich Linden's intended pass to fullback Chris Stakich, returning the ball 37 yards to the Crimson eight yard line. "When I get the ball my goal is to get it into the endzone," Piela said. "I broke one tackle, and I cut it back across the field. I got some good blocks from the guys up front and found the whole." Linden managed to stay in the game for only one more series before suffering injuries to his right ankle and right hand. Unlike last year's 212 yard, two touchdown performance against Penn, Linden managed only 53 yards, completing 7-of-14 attempts. "I think we got a lot more pressure on him this year, which put him back on his heels," Piela said. "He was throwing the ball earlier than he wanted to. There were guys at his face and hitting him as he was throwing the ball." Filling in for the injured Linden, Brad Wilford brought Harvard to within 10 points on a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Eitzmann midway through the third quarter. Unfortunate for the Crimson, Wilford and the rest of the Harvard offense could not keep up the intensity. Wilford ended the game completing four-of-13 passes for 17 yards. With the win, the Quakers only guaranteed a tie for the Ivy title. While Penn was able to get pumped for Senior Day against Harvard, it will be harder to keep up their vigor as they travel next weekend to Ithaca to face Cornell. "I want the kids to enjoy this because it is so hard to achieve it," Bagnoli said. "We will make sure that our heads are screwed back on. Trust me, by 3:20 on Tuesday, Harvard will be a distant memory."

Football 'comes home' a step closer to crown

(11/02/98 10:00am)

The Penn football team's strong first half proved essential in the win as the Quakers' offense sputtered late. After scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter against Brown last weekend, the offense of Penn's football team still had one thing to prove -- consistency. Starting Saturday's homecoming game against Yale with a huge offensive thrust that resulted in a 24-7 halftime lead seemed to prove just that. Then the Quakers came out sputtering in the second half. Instead of panicking, though, the Quakers handed the ball over to the Ivy League's leading rusher, Jim Finn, who took control of the reins, allowing the Quakers (5-2, 3-1 Ivy League) to cruise to a 34-21 victory over the Elis (3-4, 2-2). "The first couple drives, it seemed like we were in the same situation as last week," Finn said. "Everything was going well for us. In the third a few things went wrong The key was that we settled down, and we started moving the ball again late in the third and going into the fourth quarter." Scoring in four out of their five drives in the first half, the Quakers started Saturday's game where they left off the previous week against Brown. Against Yale, Penn amassed 267 total yards in the first half, averaging 8.3 yards per play. "In the first half they had us guessing what they were going to do," Yale middle linebacker Peter Mazza said. "They were really balanced with the run and the pass. That through us on our heels, and that's what killed us." Notorious as a running offense, Penn was able to initiate a lethal passing attack that accumulated 182 yards in the first two quarters. "Everybody is pretty confident in themselves," Rader said. "Jim's running the ball well, and I am throwing the ball well. The offensive line did a good job protecting, and our receivers did a good job getting open and making the plays when they had to. You put the ball on the money and you hope that they make yards after the catch, and they did." On second-and-13 from the Quakers 48-yard line halfway into the second quarter, Rader noticed Mazza coming on an inside blitz. Lining up in the slot position on the right side, Penn wide receiver Brandon Carson caught Rader's hurried throw and never looked back, scoring a 52-yard touchdown. The score put the Quakers up 21-0. "There was one-on-one coverage with Carson and Doug [O'Neill]," Rader said. "Brandon just made a heck of a catch. I thought I overthrew him, because I got hit when I threw it. When I got up, he was standing in the endzone." In previous games, Rader spread the ball around to most of his receivers. In the first half against Yale, the Pennsylvania quarterback found comfort in passing the ball off to wideouts David Rogers and Carson. The two combined for eight receptions and 149 of the 182 receiving yards. "We took what the defense gave us," Rogers said. "The middle of the field seemed to be open a lot. Matt was doing a good job staying in the pocket and making his read." Then came Penn's third quarter. In their first four drives in the third quarter, Penn gained only 37 yards, including an interception, a fumble, and a drive that ended on loss of downs. They looked very much like the team that had been outscored 49-16 by all previous opponents in the third frame. "All season long, we have had the third quarter blues," Bagnoli said. "We had the ball out to midfield [on the second half kickoff], but before you know it, it is back to the 30 because of a penalty. The first play [of the half] the ball gets punched out, and the next thing you know, you are on defense." Able to complete 12-of-15 passes in the first half without getting sacked, Rader completed only three of six attempts in third quarter, while getting sacked four times for a combined 25 yards. "You don't really know where to put your finger on it," Rader said. "When you come out and the first play you fumble the ball, and the next possession you throw an interception, you really can't explain it. The first half we played really well, and then come out in the third quarter we just had the blues." Hanging onto a 24-14 lead midway through the third quarter, the Quakers knew the Elis were still in pursuit. On their fifth drive of the half, Penn finally solved their offensive worries by going back to square one. Starting the from their own 35 yard line with 2:23 left in the third, the Quakers drove the length of the field on Finn's back. "Yale was obviously pumped up from the half," Finn said. "We knew that if we relaxed and did what we were doing early in the game, we would be fine. I don't think there was a sense of urgency, it was just a matter of time before we settled down and got back into our groove again." Seven of the 11 plays and 54 of the 65 yards on the drive came from Finn's possession of the ball. Being able to hand the ball off to Finn also allowed the rest of the offense to fall back into sync. The final play of the drive came on third-and-goal from the seven. Rader found Rogers open on an inside slant route for his first collegiate touchdown catch. "Finn was doing a good job running it right down the line," Rader said. "It was the same slant pattern we had been running the whole time. Dave just made a great catch. It basically sealed the game." Finn finished the game with 141 yards on 27 carries and the two first-half scores. Rader ended with 247 yards passing, competing 18-of-26 with one touchdown and two interceptions. Rogers and Carson both finished with career highs in both receptions and yards. Rogers finished with seven receptions for 84 yards, and one score, while Carson ended with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Proving in the first half that they could run a well-balanced offense, things started to come undone in the second half. With the top Ivy League rusher in their backfield, Penn went back to the reliable Finn who restored order and caused Yale to desert all hopes of a fourth quarter comeback.

The Brothers O'Neil: Forming a family legacy

(10/31/98 10:00am)

Where the last name ends so do the resemblances. The first pair of brothers to play for Penn since Warren and Patrick Buehler in 1983 and 1984, sophomore David and junior Doug O'Neill have contrasting styles both on the field and off, disguising their close relationship. Through their differences, the O'Neill's have created the backbone of a receiving corp that ranks second in the Ivy League. "A couple of the guys on the team didn't even know that we were brothers until a couple of weeks ago," Doug said. From his days in high school, Doug, was always seen as the stern, hard-working, All-American type. "Doug is serious about what we are doing," Penn wide receivers coach Rick Ulrich said. "He is one of the more coachable guys that I have ever had to deal with. It is a very good luxury for me to have a guy like him around because he does everything to the letter." Dave, on the other hand, is what many call a "free spirit." "Davey is my pinball machine," William O'Neill said. "There is definitely a different drummer in his head." As a receiver, Doug is known for his great hands. The older O'Neill earned himself a reputation at Howell High School in Howell, New Jersey, for being able to bring down any ball in his vicinity. "One thing he had were his hands," Howell High School football coach Cory Davies said. "He almost never dropped a pass. The first time he dropped one was junior year, and that was like a big thing. Everybody said that he finally dropped one." Dave's athletic ability makes up for anything else he might be lacking. His astonishing speed and maneuverability make it difficult for defensive backs to keep him away from the ball. "Dave is a speed type receiver," Davies said. "He can get deep and create lot of other problems with defenses." More impressive for Dave is the way things come so naturally to him, especially his confidence. "Every sport he plays, Dave automatically thinks he is going to be the best player on the field," William said. "Doug, on the other hand, waits until he learns the sport. It takes Doug a while to play with confidence. Davey plays with confidence the first shot out." Although the two are only a year apart, their first time playing at the same time came here at Penn. Doug spent all four years at Howell High School while David spent his first three at the Christian Brothers Academy before transferring to Howell. · During his four years, Doug evolved into one of the best all-around players in the history of Howell High School. His ability to play any position on the field allowed him to play defensive back, return punts, return kicks, kick-off, kick field goals, long-snap on punts, and of course excel as wide receiver. "We used to kid around with Doug his senior year that he should drive the bus because he was doing just about everything else for us," Davies said. During Doug's high school career, Howell improved to its best mark in school history. Doug's 11 interceptions his senior year set a new school record. Still, the All-State defensive back told the recruiters that he wanted to play receiver in college. After spending his freshman year learning the ropes, Doug emerged as the Quakers primary passing target last year, leading the Quakers with 32 receptions and 430 yards. In his third year on the team Doug has quickly emerged not only as Penn's go-to-receiver, but also as a player that the rest of the wideouts can look up to. "The wide receivers really look at Doug as a leader because he is really only one of the experienced guys from last year," Penn quarterback Matt Rader said. "People respect you if you get on the field and perform. Doug is not a real vocal guy. He is a guy that leads by example." In the Ivy League this season, O'Neill ranks fourth with 423 yards receiving, fourth with 33 receptions, and 14th with 18 points scored. "I feel like more of a leader than a follower," Doug said. "Last year there were some guys that I looked up to, played along with, and learned from. This year I feel like I am one of the guys some of the younger guys can look up to." · Instead of feeling pressured to live up to the success of his brother, Dave enjoyed the way the players and coaches in high school teased him about living up to his brother's performance. "Every time in practice they would use Doug as a tool to push me," Dave said. "If I dropped something they would say, 'Doug would have caught that.' If I would make a nice play, they would say, 'Who is the other O'Neill? Doug something?' It loosened up practice and made me try harder." Dave wasted little time in making a name for himself. As a senior in his first season in organized football, Dave set a Howell High School record with over 1,000 yards receiving, averaging more than 30 yards a catch. "When I first heard he was coming, I was hoping that he was as good as his brother Doug," Davies said. "We got into a passing type thing in the summer time and got a good idea that he was going to be pretty darn good." The younger O'Neill chose Penn for several reasons -- his brother being one of them. "Dave picked it probably because his brother did," William O'Neill said. "He likes city life, and it was the first chance he ever had to play football with his brother." Doug has aided his younger brother's transition from high school to college. "Doug is always the one who keeps me under control as a person," Dave said. "He helped me out a lot with the plays last year and taught me what to do and what to expect from the coaches." In his second year at Penn, Dave has made his presence known, throughout the team and the Ivy League. Especially key was the Quakers' October 10 game at Fordham. Headed by fellow wideout Brandon Carson, the O'Neill's along with Carson and Penn receiver David Rogers, bleached their hair blonde before the game against the Rams. Unfortunately, it came out orange. "I tried to dissuade them to doing anything the night before a game," Ulrich said. "But, I said, 'If you guys are willing to hold up your end of the bargain tomorrow and play your asses on the field, I don't think too many people are going to care much about it.'" The receivers had their best game so far this season, amassing 20 receptions for 265 yards and three touchdowns. The play of the game came with 4 seconds remaining in the first half as Dave caught his first collegiate touchdown, a 39-yard bomb from Matt Rader. What came after the touchdown was one of the most memorable moments from this year's season. Keeping a promise he made earlier to his teammates, Dave celebrated his first touchdown by spiking the ball and going head over heels into a backflip. "We have been talking all year long about what touchdown dances we were going to do," Rogers said. "When I was sitting on the sidelines, I was like, 'Yeah, he scored!" I was never expecting him to do it." The excessive celebration caused the referees to pull the yellow flag. While Penn place-kicker Jason Feinberg was unable to connect on the 35-yard extra-point attempt, the Quakers still came away with the 34-31 victory. "I never thought I had the guts to actually do it," Dave said. "I don't remember spiking the ball. But right in the middle of my backflip, I thought, 'Oh man, I am going to get in so much trouble.'" While Dave respects his brother for being the Quakers top receiver, the younger O'Neill would just as soon be the man in the spotlight. This season David has caught eight passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. "I would love to be the leading receiver right now instead of him," Dave said. "I like seeing him being the leading receiver. If I get a chance, and I am not injured, I would just as soon get in there and make some catches." David has not seen the playing field in the last game and a half. Against Columbia almost three weeks ago, David severely sprained his ankle. While he will most likely not be playing in this weekend's game against Yale, the younger O'Neill is expected to play against Princeton on November 7. "Dave's injury is going to put a little bit more pressure on on us right now," Doug said. "We don't have that many receivers that are healthy. So we are all going to have to play a little bit more than we have been playing and and a little bit better." Although the two are so different, they get along like good friends. Each has found his own place to fit in. "I know I am completely different from my brother," Dave said. "He keeps me under control, and I bring out the wild side in him. I think the fact that we are so different makes us click." The O'Neill family enjoys being able to watch both of their sons play football for Penn, but it has raised some difficult moments. "The first time Davey got any playing time, they had them both on the field," William said. "My wife said,'Who do I watch?'" As the O'Neill brothers have swept into Penn they have helped the Quakers succeed so far this season. While they have different styles and different personalities, they both know how to catch -- just ask the defensive backs in the rest of the Ivy League.

Penn is 4-1 in last five homecomings

(10/31/98 10:00am)

Penn blocks Princeton comeback.Penn blocks Princeton comeback.John Bishop broke past the Princeton linemen to block a go-ahead kick. As the sun set and the mist descended on Franklin Field, Penn's John Bishop felt the roar of the remaining Homecoming crowd as his left elbow deflected Alex Sierk's 46-yard, go-ahead field goal attempt with 2:38 left in the game. Nineteen yards downfield, on the Princeton 47-yard line, Bishop picked up the loose ball, giving the Quakers one more chance to break the 17-17 tie in regulation. "I felt that this was the time," said Bishop, the Penn football team's captain. "My senior year -- this was my season. I did it a million times in practice and never came through that clean." From there, Quakers running back Jim Finn and the offensive line took over. With five straight rushes for 29 yards, Finn muscled Penn (5-3, 4-1 Ivy League) down to the Tigers' 17-yard line, setting up a 34-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. After converting only seven of his previous 15 field goal attempts this season, Penn's Jeremiah Greathouse redeemed himself in front of the 15,841 fans, giving Penn a 20-17 win over the Tigers (4-4, 1-4). "I was in a good situation with a 17-17 tie," Greathouse said. "I couldn't lose the game. All I could do was win the game. Guys on the extra-point field goal team block did a great job. They were the ones that put me in that situation." The game was a nail-biter that never should have been. Down 17-3 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Princeton's second-string quarterback John Burnham, who came in due to an injury to starter Harry Nakielny, led the Tigers on three straight scoring drives. For the Quakers' offense, its silent fourth quarter came after consistent play in the first three periods, especially from Finn. The newly converted running back capped another big day with 146 yards on 33 attempts and a touchdown. In the middle of the third quarter Penn quarterback Matt Rader used his athletic ability, carrying the ball into the endzone five yards on a bootleg to the right side. Rader was jarred several times on the play, causing a concussion. Senior Tom MacLeod replaced the injured Rader. In Rader's absence the offense went cold. With only one first down before the final drive of the game, the Quakers' offense gave Princeton time to come back. Although the Quakers' offense hit a lull with MacLeod in at quarterback, the team felt comfortable with the change. "It did not affect our offense at all," Finn said. "Tom MacLeod is capable of doing the job. He proved that he can lead us down the field." Defense leads Penn to first Ivy victory. The Quakers held Yale to 166 yards of total offense and just one field goal to snap a three-game losing streak. By Brett Cohen The Daily Pennsylvanian Yale coach Carm Cozza guided his team into Franklin Field for his last time on Saturday. After 32 years and 300 games, the legendary sideline general made his last trip to Penn's historic field before his retirement at the end of this season. The game was one Cozza will not soon forget. "That's about as poor an offensive showing as I think I've had in my 32 years at Yale," Cozza said. Displaying a spark which had been lacking in its previous games, Penn played with a confidence one would not expect from a team that had entered the game with a 0-3 Ivy League record. Penn's defense shut down the Yale offense, allowing just a field goal in the 20-3 win, while the offense continued its progression under junior quarterback Tom MacLeod's leadership. Penn wasted little time in assuming a lead it would never relinquish. The Quakers relied on their one offensive constant this season, tailback Jasen Scott, to march them downfield after taking the opening kickoff. Scott, on his way to his second straight 120-yard game, carried five times in a drive punctuated by a 43-yard field goal by Jeremiah Greathouse. Late in the first quarter, Penn began a drive that would net the Quakers all the points they would need to top Yale. MacLeod capped the methodical 12-play, 84-yard drive with a seven-yard scoring toss to Scott that put the Quakers up, 10-0. On the other sideline, the two-headed quarterback tandem that is Kris Barber and Blake Kendall was struggling to move Yale past midfield. After the scrambling Barber failed to advance the Elis past their own 47 in his three series, Kendall, a stronger, more conventional quarterback, was brought in. Yale immediately took to the air, and once again Penn's inexperienced secondary was the all-too-familiar target. Chris Rodriguez faked out cornerback Joe Piela, and, when Piela stumbled, Rodriguez hauled in a 31-yard pass just past midfield. In its most dominant performance of the season, Penn held the Elis to 166 total yards of offense, including just 66 yards in the second half. Spearheading the relentless rush into Yale's backfield was defensive tackle Mitch Marrow, who led Penn with seven total tackles, including four for losses. While it was Yale that was twice called for having 12 men on the field, it appeared as if the Quakers constantly played with a man advantage on defense. The Quakers finally broke through with their first Ivy League win, and a 4-3 league mark is not completely out of question. "This was a win we needed badly," Bagnoli said. "It is a whole new season, and we still have some big games left." Princeton dominates Quakers 22-9, virtually assures itself the Ivy title By Srikanth Reddy The Daily Pennsylvanian On Nov. 7, 1992, the Penn football team lost at Princeton, which would go on to win the Ivy League title, 20-14. It would be the Quakers' last setback until their 24-14 defeat at Columbia earlier this season. In between the losses, Penn dominated its opposition, winning 24 consecutive games and claiming two straight undisputed Ivy League championships. Saturday at Franklin Field, almost exactly three years after that long-ago loss to Princeton, things came full circle. The Tigers once again defeated the Quakers, 22-9, ending for all intents and purposes Penn's reign atop the Ancient Eight, and in the process taking a huge step toward an undisputed league title of their own. "They did a good job of executing and making big plays," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "There wasn't one drive on either side that you would say was a classic, 80-yard, 14-play drive. There were no classic drives, but they just made more plays than we made." Princeton (8-0, 5-0 Ivy League) seized the early lead with the sudden quickness of a lightning bolt, taking the life out of the Quakers' Homecoming crowd early. On the third play of the game, just as the 34,504 spectators were settling in, Tigers quarterback Brock Harvey made his first big play of the day. Harvey sidestepped heavy Penn pressure up the middle and ran, loping down the right sideline for 50 yards to the Quakers' 20-yard line. Harvey struck again just three plays later, on third down from the Penn 15. The score put Princeton quickly on top, 7-0. Penn (5-3, 3-2) went three-and-out on its first possession, setting the stage for another quick strike from the Tigers. Harry Nakielny, taking his turn in Princeton's rotating quarterbacks scheme, lobbed a bomb over Quakers cornerback Kevin Allen and into the hands of split end Kevin Duffy. Duffy ran it in to complete a 37-yard touchdown pass. Penn quarterback Mark DeRosa completed only one of his first nine passes. Favorite target Miles Macik, who caught only three balls for 35 yards in the game, was constantly blanketed by a cornerback, safety and linebacker, and under the Princeton pass rush, DeRosa could not find anyone else. Still, the Quakers had their chances to come back. But one lengthy drive in the third quarter ended when Princeton safety Jimmy Archie stepped in front of Macik and intercepted a DeRosa pass. Two consecutive opportunities deep in Tigers territory midway through the fourth period ended unsuccessfully on downs. The Princeton defense, which finished with five sacks, blitzed often and effectively, not allowing DeRosa time to complete passes. Football squeaks past Yale, 14-6 By Nicholas Hut The Daily Pennsylvanian When it was over, Yale simply had nothing left. Even from the upper deck, the look on the Elis' faces as they trudged off the field was plain to see. It was the look of a team that had given everything and come away with nothing. Penn had a hard-fought 14-6 victory, the 700th win in the program's history. It also marked the Quakers'18th consecutive victory, the longest streak in Division l-AA and second longest in the nation behind Auburn's 19. Penn takes sole possession of first place in the league, because Brown upset Cornell, 16-3, in Ithaca, N.Y. Yale (3-4, 1-3 Ivy League) threw everything in its arsenal and then some at Penn Saturday at sun-baked Franklin Field. But all the fake punts, bootlegs and daring passes could not overcome the Quakers (6-0, 4-0) at their homecoming party the top-ranked defense in Division l-AA just would not allow it. Six times the Elis ventured inside the Penn 35, but only once did they come away with even a single point. "We came up big when we had to," safety Nick Morris said. "The guys just really came up strong. The look in our eyes [a touchdown] just wasn't going to happen." And while the Elis continued to move the ball in the fourth quarter, they were too often unable to finish what they started. On Yale's first possession of the quarter, kicker John Lafferty missed a 49-yard field goal. Next, the Elis had to punt, and then Mayer was intercepted by Morris. Yale held after that turnover, and regained the ball for its final possession with 90 seconds remaining. The Quakers should have had three touchdowns by halftime. Up 7-0 in the first quarter after Turner snuck in from less than a yard out, Penn's defense pounced. Johnson blasted Hetherington on Yale's next possession, and the ball popped out. Morris recovered the fumble, and Penn was in business at the Yale 19. Penn quarterback Mark DeRosa was 11-for-23 passing with two interceptions and a 16-yard touchdown strike to Miles Macik in the last minute of the first half that was set up by yet another Morris interception return. The only two sustained Penn drives ended in missed Andy Glockner field goals. "I really don't have an answer for the problems we were having," DeRosa said. "But we better get our act together, or every game is going to be like this." Fans savor victory, as goal posts tumble By Peter Morrison The Daily Pennsylvanian Just like Princeton's undefeated season, the goal posts at the west end of Franklin Field came crashing down Saturday as emotional fans swarmed the endzone following the Quakers' decisive victory Saturday. Before the final down, thousands of ecstatic fans were already poised to jump onto the artificial turf. And, as the final whistle blew, many in the crowd hopped the railing surrounding the field and headed straight for the goal posts, climbed onto the cross bar and brought down the uprights. This emotion and die-hard enthusiasm was the climax of a Quaker spirit that began building even before kickoff. "If we win this one, we should win the Ivy League title," Engineering sophomore Cary Sawyer said as he walked through Franklin Field's gates. "There's no question we're going to win this game." Even before entering the stadium under Saturday's overcast skies, Quaker faithful were loud and animated in anticipation of the battle of the unbeatens, Penn and Princeton. A victory would keep the Quaker football team undefeated and in an excellent position to bring a long-awaited Ivy League title to the University. Throughout the game, fans tried to keep their team inspired. They screamed defense "and jingled their keys on important defensive plays." Students joined alumni in choruses of "Hang Jeff Davis" after every score. And after the third quarter, enough toast flew onto the field to fill a lecture hall. Some spoke of the possibility of both a football and basketball championship. Others felt the Quakers had their revenge for last year's defeat at Princeton. And to some alumni, the game meant a resurgence of Quaker football and a satisfying victory over a team that used to run up the score during the 1960s. As the game came to a close, students stormed the field, flying right past the security guards and heading straight for the goal post anchored at the west end of the field. After struggling with the uprights for a few moments, students managed to pull the posts down, carrying them out of the field and dumping them into the Schuylkill River. "We saw people rush the field from the endzone and someone said we have got to go'," said a College junior, who asked to remain anonymous. Then all these people started jumping on the goal posts and they snapped loose. We carried the uprights out of the stadium and into the river."

GAME ANALYSIS: Football offenses treat fans

(10/27/98 10:00am)

Penn back Jim Finn and Brown's Morey and Perry put on an offensive clinic. PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The tickets to Saturday's football game between Brown and Penn were missing a disclaimer on the back. "Warning -- mixing Penn running back Jim Finn, Brown quarterback James Perry and Brown wide receiver Sean Morey may result in an uncontrollable explosion hazardous to a defensive coordinator's health." Penn (4-2, 2-1 Ivy League) and Brown's defenses were able to keep the ingredients separated for 45 minutes. But with 15 minutes remaining, they reacted, resulting in an all-out offensive onslaught and a 58-51 victory for Brown (2-3, 1-2). Together, the three athletes played major roles in the teams' combined 58-points in the fourth quarter, a new Division I-AA record. "Do you call that a track meet?" Brown head coach Phil Estes said. "Was it a beautiful win or an ugly win? It doesn't really matter. We will take them any way we can." · While the '98 season has been a series of highs and lows for Finn, the Quakers' star running back put together one of the single best performances in Penn history on Saturday. Scoring two touchdowns in the first half, Finn did not settle down as he added four more in the fourth quarter. Finn's half-dozen touchdowns broke Penn's record for most rushing touchdowns in a game, while his 36 total points broke the 77-year-old school mark of 33 set by Rex Wray. In the shootout, Finn gave his team the ability to fight to the finish. With the Quakers down 13 points after the first play of the fourth quarter, Finn carried Penn on his shoulders, rushing for 130 yards on 17 attempts. His final carry resulted in a five yard touchdown, tying the game at 51 with 44 seconds left. "He just made some great runs," Estes said. "People bounced off him, and he made some cutbacks. I knew he was going to get his yardage. It was a matter of how much." The Ivy League co-Offensive Player of the Week finished with 43 carries for 259 yards. The game marked the first time in nine games that the Quakers lost when Finn rushed for over 100 yards. "It wasn't good enough," Finn said. "It's great to have those numbers, but the thing that matters is having the loss in the league." · What seemed to be an innocent day for Morey turned into one of the most amazing halves by a wide receiver in any division or conference. While the Quakers stifled the '97 Ivy League Player of the Year in the first half, allowing him only one reception for zero yards, Morey poured it on in the final 30 minutes. From the first series of the second half, the Ivy League single-season reception leader turned the game around, making two grabs for 48 yards. The last was a 19-yard touchdown that gave Brown a 21-17 lead along with renewed confidence. "One of the things that we saw at halftime was that they were always worried about Sean and giving him a lot of attention deep," Estes said. "So we just worked the dig route in on the back side. James was right on in throwing it to him." From that point on, Morey put on a receiving clinic, finishing the half with eight receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The Brown wide receiver's presence on the field struck fear in the Quakers' pass coverage, enabling his teammates to get open. Such was the case for Stephen Campbell, who found himself wide open on the right side of the endzone with only four seconds left in the game. The reception was the game-winner "I was in the slot position," Campbell said. "I broke it outside and saw that nobody was there." · Since assuming the starting role as Brown's quarterback last season, Perry has plowed right into the Ivy League record books. Saturday was no exception. While the '97 Ivy League First Team recipient managed to keep his team within three points of Penn at the end of the first half, Perry skillfully dissected the Quakers' secondary in the second half. Perry's 470 passing yards placed him third in the Ivy League record books, while his 37 completions and five touchdown throws rank second in Ivy history. Most remarkably, Perry was not sacked once during his 52 attempted throws. "We threw forever, and I didn't get sacked," Perry said. "[I] Just didn't really feel any pressure. The offensive line was unbelievable." In the fourth quarter, the co-Offensive Ivy League Player of the Week completed 12-of-14 attempts for 160 yards and three touchdowns. In the final drive, Perry completed five-of-six passes for 70 yards along with the game's decisive touchdown. "Forty-four seconds left -- it was a beautiful drive," Estes said. "Just some outstanding plays that were made there." · Considered the best at their position in the Ivy League, the trio also stands out in the Division I-AA rankings. Finn is 10th in rushing and seventh in scoring, Morey is first in receptions, fourth in receiving yards and Perry is second in total offense. With that amount of offensive power, something had to give -- and it did. Just ask the scoreboard operator.

Un'bear'able loss for Football at Brown

(10/26/98 10:00am)

The Brown football team marched down field behind James Perry and Sean Morey to score in the last minute. PROVIDENCE, RI. -- Just like a shootout at the O.K. Corral, Saturday's football game between Penn and Brown came down to the last team standing. In a game with five lead changes, the Bears (3-3, 1-2 Ivy League) ended up with the only one that mattered, as Brown scored the game's last touchdown with only four seconds remaining, defeating the visiting Quakers, 58-51. "Half the group should really feel good about what they have done," Bagnoli said. "The other half is so far down right now that it will probably be until Wednesday before they can get themselves pulled back up." The second group that Bagnoli alludes to, obviously, is the Penn defense. After watching the Quakers (4-2, 2-1) tie the game at 51 with only 44 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the confident Bears offense returned to the field and once again executed against the Penn defense. Behind the arm of quarterback James Perry, Brown drove the length of the field, and from 24 yards out, Perry found receiver Stephen Campbell open in the endzone for the game-winning completion. "I was in the slot position," Campbell said. "I broke it outside and saw that nobody was there." As both teams used the first half for warm-up, the second half looked like a slam-dunk contest with both teams scoring at will. Of the Ivy League record 109 combined points, 78 came in the final 30 minutes. The previous record for most points in an Ivy game came in Dartmouth's 56-41 victory over Yale in 1982. "I have never been involved in a game like this in all of my time coaching," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "If you were going to tell me that we were going to score 51 points and lose the game, I was going to say you are crazy." Perry started Brown's scoring barrage on their first drive of the third quarter. Less than a minute after Penn quarterback Matt Rader threw an interception, Perry found Brown wide receiver Sean Morey open in the endzone for a 19-yard touchdown. The pass caught by last year's Ivy League Player of the Year gave Brown a 21-17 lead. Brown came out in the second half with a revamped game plan. After rushing the ball 11 times for only 22 yards in the first half, the Bears decided to concentrate on their passing game, throwing on more than 85 percent of their offensive plays in the second half. "We went into the game where we were trying to work some things with the run," Brown coach Phil Estes said. "One of the things that we saw at halftime was that they were always worried about Sean and giving him a lot of attention deep, so we just worked the dig route in on the back side. James was right on in throwing it to him." The Quakers were never able to solve Brown's passing attack. The Bears went on to score on each of their six possessions in the second half, including both of their two-point conversions. "We just ran out of answers," Bagnoli said. "We tried three, four, five and six man pressure. We had some severe breakdowns on our entire defense. We used every defensive back we traveled with." Penn tried to counter by rallying behind their record-setting running back Jim Finn. After Brown had taken their largest lead of the game, 36-23, the Quakers handed the ball over to Finn. Finn responded, giving the Quakers new life and a brief 37-36 lead halfway through the fourth quarter. In the Quakers' last four drives of the game, Finn carried the ball 17 times for 130 yards and scored four touchdowns. Combined with his two touchdowns in the first half, the Quakers' senior running back set a new single-game Penn record, while his 259 rushing yards ranks second behind Terrance Stokes's 272 yards against Princeton in 1993. "I don't know what it is, but I don't even feel like I am warmed up until the fourth quarter," Finn said. "Obviously they were worn down a bit, but that's when I felt the strongest." Finn's big day was complemented by Penn's passing game. Aside from his interception, Rader had a spotless game completing 21-of-34 passes for 250 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Doug O'Neill. Penn's 538 offensive yards, however, proved insufficient, as the Bears passing attack could not be stopped by the Quakers' defense. "We basically felt that if we got out on the field that we were going to score, so all we had to do was keep scoring," Finn said. "Hopefully there would be one stop on defense where we would have the opportunity to go ahead, but it didn't happen." Perry -- without any defensive pressure -- continuously threw to his three favorite receivers: Morey, Campbell and tight end Zachary Burns. The Bears' three receivers combined for 25 of Perry's new Brown single-game record 37 completions. "If I execute, if I make the easy pass, they will make the big play," Perry said. "Penn has an amazing defense, but our guys on the outside are tough to stop." Perry ended the game having thrown for 470 yards and five touchdowns. The Brown quarterback's passing totals rank second in Brown single game performance history behind his 474-yard performance against Dartmouth last year. From a shutout one week to allowing 58 points the next, Penn's defense needs to once again find the elements that disappeared on Saturday in Providence. On the other hand, the Quakers offense has to worry about proving that this weekend was not a fluke.

GAME ANALYSIS: Defense falls short of billing

(10/13/98 9:00am)

The Penn football team gave up over 400 yards of offense to Fordham. In its weekend trip to the Bronx, the Penn football team forgot to bring something. It was neither the new and improved Quaker mascot nor the football team's redesigned jerseys. The Quakers (3-1) simply left behind their No. 1-ranked Division I-AA defense. Down by 20 points with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter, Fordham (2-3) took control of the game, outscoring Penn 17-0 in the final 24 minutes of the contest. It was too little, too late for the Rams, as the Quakers remained on top 34-31 when the final buzzer sounded. "When you are down 34-14 you are thinking about making something happen," said Fordham coach Ken O'Keefe. "We felt like we could move the ball. It was a track meet. It took us a little bit longer." The Rams' 406 total offensive yards nearly doubled the Quakers' average of 210 yards allowed per game coming into the matchup. And while their points came at the end, the Rams started piling up yards early. Fordham opened the game with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a missed field goal. "On that first drive of the game, we took it down," Fordham quarterback Steve O'Hare said. "We didn't get a score, but that instilled a confidence in everyone that we can move the ball against these guys." During the rest of the first half, Fordham reaped the rewards of Penn's defensive mental errors. Careless penalties by Penn led to four Fordham first downs. Two of the first downs came on third-and-long, extending both of Fordham's first-half touchdown drives. "As much as anything, we created our own damage early," Bagnoli said. "They're a good offensive team. If you give them four extra possessions, you are going to pay the price for it." Early in the game, Penn's defense halted Fordham's running attack. Gaining only 42 yards rushing on 22 plays in the first half, O'Keefe was forced to change his game plan in the second half from 60 percent rushing to almost 60 percent passing plays. "They are so big and strong up front, and they give you a lot of different looks that it makes it difficult for you to figure out where they are going," O'Keefe said. "We felt that they were giving us certain things in the passing game that we wanted to take advantage of." While Fordham rose to the challenge, the Quakers' defense failed to react. The same defensive line that had contained the Rams' rushing offense did not put significant pressure on O'Hare. Issuing only one sack, Penn's D-line left its secondary out to dry against Fordham's aggressive passing attack. "The defense never had the momentum," Penn cornerback Hasani White said. "It never had the presence that the defense usually has on the field. I think that we were on our heels the whole game." The ability of the Rams' offensive line to win back the line of scrimmage caused the Quakers' defensive line to struggle. Fordham's linemen, averaging 276 pounds, wore down Penn's defensive line as the game wore on, giving their senior quarterback enough time to scope the field and find the open receiver. "They gave me a little bit more time to throw," O'Hare said. "If I can hold the ball back there long enough, it does not matter who is covering, someone's going to come open." While Penn's secondary fell apart, the Rams' offense fell into sync in the second half, scoring on three out of their first four possessions. Completing 23 of 37 passes for 323 yards, O'Hare was a nightmare for Penn's defense. The Rams senior quarterback's ability to step up into the pocket and scramble outside to avoid the rush frustrated the Quakers defense the whole game. Trying not to hand the game over to Fordham, Penn's defense came alive during Fordham's final two series. Down by six with just over seven minutes left in the game, O'Hare failed to connect with McDermott in the endzone on third-and-goal from the eight. Making the coverage on the play, White deflected the pass, forcing Fordham to kick a field goal. "The secondary was getting hammered, so I knew they were coming at us," White said. "I didn't know to which side or to who. I just made a good play." In Fordham's final series, Penn defensive backs Joey Alofaituli and Joe Piela redeemed earlier mistakes by making two consecutive pass coverage plays. With Fordham on its own side of the field, the Rams had no choice but to punt the ball back to Penn, which was able to run the clock out. "The only good thing that we can take out defensively was the last drive," White said. "When it counted, when it was really on the line, we went three and out." The weekend jaunt to New York did not help Penn's attempt to fine-tune their loose ends in time for the rest of they Ivy League season. Experiencing a reversal of fortune, the Quakers defense relied on the offense's best scoring performance in Penn's past 22 games. "Fordham did a nice job with their game plan against us," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "They took some advantage of opportunities that presented themselves. It was not that we just played lousy defense. I think to an extent they forced us play lousy defense."

Football rides Finn to victory

(10/05/98 9:00am)

The Penn football team defeated Bucknell by a score of 20-10 behind the running of Jim Finn. What a difference a week can make. After a humbling 34-18 loss to Richmond last weekend ago at home, the Penn football team (2-1) avenged last season's 20-16 loss to Bucknell with a 20-10 victory over the visiting Bison (3-2). Penn free safety and punt return man Joe Piela caused the Parents Weekend crowd -- announced at 10,809 -- to erupt early in the second quarter as he danced down the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown return. The low, line-drive kick from Bucknell punter Brian Kramer let the Quakers take an early 10-0 lead. "He kicked it to the right, which was where we were returning it," Piela said. "I caught the ball, and there was nobody there. I cut it to the outside, and Carson made a great block." Piela provided the finishing blow as well when he picked off Bucknell quarterback Don McDowell's attempted pass with 2:08 left. Initially tipped by Penn linebacker Darren MacDonald, the interception ended all hopes for the Bison, who had little chance to erase the remaining 10-point deficit. Throughout the game the Quakers' defense dictated the tempo while their special teams electrified the crowd. Although Penn's offense demonstrated little consistency, their overall ability to hold possession and turn a few big plays was enough to earn themselves the victory. Penn quarterback Matt Rader followed through with his plan of distributing the ball to many different receivers. Rader's 17 completions in his 25 attempts went to eight different receivers, including four who caught three or more receptions. Meanwhile, Jim Finn answered some of his critics by carrying the ball 39 times for 136 yards. Despite not fumbling the ball, Finn was disappointed with his 3.5 yards-per-carry average. "I missed a ton of reads today," Finn said. "If you break it down on film, I probably didn't look too good. In the first half I was stumbling over myself. Five-yard runs should have been maybe 15 or 20-yard runs." The Quakers' defense, third in Division I-AA, lived up to its billing, rendering four sacks and giving up only 61 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Led by defensive tackle Mike Germano's two sacks and four tackles for a loss, Penn's defensive line shut down Bucknell early, creating many problems in the Bisons' backfield. "Penn physically won that battle," Bucknell coach Tom Gadd said. "How well you can dominate the line of scrimmage determines whether you win. They won because they dominated the line of scrimmage. I don't think we ever challenged them in the running game." After mustering only five yards in his first five passing attempts, including an interception to Penn's Hasani White, Bucknell's starting quarterback Don McDowell was replaced by Jim John early in the second quarter. John had success against the Quakers last year, throwing for two touchdowns. "I went with the switch at quarterback because I thought that we were playing a little out-manned in the offensive line," Bucknell's Gadd said. "There was an awful lot of pressure on our quarterback. I thought to get Donny out of that and let him get on the sideline just to calm him down a little bit. "Jim played well against Penn last year. I knew that he would go out and play with poise and maturity and that he wouldn't be rattled." The change resurrected the Bison as they drove deep into Quaker territory. But with less than a minute left in the half, a holding penalty on fourth-and-one from the Quakers' 19-yard line halted Bucknell's progress. The frustrated Bison settled for a 46-yard field goal made good by their kicker Ross Coleman. Bucknell was not alone with its offensive troubles in the first half. Twice Penn found itself starting a possession inside Bucknell's 30-yard line. Twice the Quakers were forced to kick field goals. Penn place kicker Jason Feinberg split the uprights in both attempts from 36 and 35 yards. "We have so many young kids on offense," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "Anytime that you are playing with six new kids from tight end all the way across your offensive line, it's really hard to be a consistent football team. "You would rather come out with seven [points], but at least we were coming out with three." The Penn defense limited the Bison to 201 total net yards, of which almost half came on a four-play, 96-yard drive in the middle of the third quarter. John connected with wide receiver Ardie Kissinger for an 86-yard touchdown completion, setting a Bucknell school record for longest pass completion. The reception pulled the Bison to within three of the Quakers. "Right before I hiked the ball, they threw an extra guy into the pattern," John said. "I really didn't have anywhere to go with it. I took off with the idea that I was just going to get outside and run. Ardie broke up field. I saw him, and I figured, go for it." The Penn offense answered the Bison early in the fourth quarter as it managed its way down the field for a seven-play 48-yard drive. A few downs after Penn wide receiver Doug O'Neill made a one-handed catch for a 31-yard gain, Rader found tight end Ben Zagorski wide open in the middle of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. "I got off the ball and ran my route," Zagorski said. "As I was going across I saw the linebackers flow over, so I cut my route short and stopped. Matt ended up pulling up also and was able to find me wide open." Tight ends catching passes was something that was not happening a week ago. In fact, very little of the game resembled last week, which added up to a Quakers win. Hopefully next week and those that follow will look a lot like this one.

Penn hopes to swallow the Spiders

(09/25/98 9:00am)

The Penn football team starts its non-league season against Richmond this weekend at home. Tomorrow the Penn football team (1-0) will have an opportunity to test its top-ranked Division I-AA defense as they take on the visitors from Virginia. Richmond (1-2), a member of the newly established Atlantic 10 Conference, comes to Franklin Field for their first time in school history. Giving up only 105 yards in total offensive to Dartmouth last weekend, the Quakers sent a loud message. "What happened to Dartmouth's program last Saturday was just incredible," Richmond coach Jim Reid said. "That was total domination. They only had six yards of offense in the first half. I just don't know how that could happen." Penn's defensive squad will have their hands full with the Spiders' six key legs on offense. Richmond averages 181.7 rushing yards per game -- split between senior tailback Jasper Pendergrass, sophomore tailback Ty Ronne Turner and junior quarterback Jimmie Miles. The cornerstone of Richmond's option-style offense, Miles has added some legitimacy to Richmond's passing game. In a 22-17 loss to UMass, Miles threw for 207 yards and one touchdown. The Spiders' quarterback's ability to run out of the pocket makes him a double threat to his opponent's defenses. "Miles is not a scrambling quarterback in practice. But in the game, if the first option is not open, he might not be around to look at the second option," Reid said. "Miles is a very athletic player," Penn junior linebacker Jim Hisgen said. "The defense will take into account that the option play is there. If he scrambles, somebody will need to make a play." Penn's offensive line will have to also show that its solid performance last week was not a fluke but a sign of good things to come. Instead of matching up against Ivy League defenders this weekend, the Quakers' line gets the task of holding back Richmond preseason I-AA All-American senior nose tackle Marc Megna. As the Atlantic 10's leader in sacks (5.5) and tackles for a loss (11), Megna has earned the Quakers' attention. "We are going to have to come up with some creative ways to try to contain him," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "You have to be aware of where he is on every snap. You have to be ready to supply some additional help besides the primary guy. He is somebody that you actually have to take notice of." Even with Megna in the center, Penn senior tailback Jim Finn expects to be getting the call to run the ball right at him. Fortunately for Finn, the Quakers are not expecting to count on a repeat of his 41-carry display last weekend. "We'll probably run right at him, because it is easier to react on that," Finn said. "My thoughts when I am running the ball are my leads. I am not worried about where he is." Known for opening day blunders, Penn senior quarterback Matt Rader has put behind his two interception performance last weekend and is set to throw against a tough Spiders secondary that has already grabbed four balls from the arms of opposing quarterbacks. Rader plans to implement a similar strategy as last weekend, spreading the ball to all of his receivers. Things should be easier on the Quakers' senior quarterback this weekend as he has been relieved of one of his opening day duties. Freshman Ryan Lazzeri will assume control of the punting. The only prior meeting between Penn and Richmond came on Nov. 26, 1981. Led by future NFL first-round draft choice Barry Redden's 280 yards and two touchdowns, the Spiders defeated Penn, 18-12. Redden's yardage still stands as a record for Quakers' opponents. While Penn has yet to defeat Richmond on the field, the Quakers did win the battle of signing Rader as a transfer student from Duke in the spring of '97. A dropback-style passer, Rader felt he would not fit in well with Richmond's offensive philosophy. While Richmond has already had time to sort through many of their team's early blunders, the Quakers hope to build on last weekend's efforts, bringing the rest of their team to the same level as the defense.

Rader connects with returning group

(09/18/98 9:00am)

Penn's Matt Rader will see familiar faces split wide in the form of Doug O'Neill and David Rogers. With a ratio of five touchdowns to 14 interceptions, there is little question that the Penn passing attack last season was little more than an intermission in the Jim Finn show. Things, however, are looking up this season. While Penn football cannot expect a return to the days of quarterback Mark DeRosa, incumbent Quaker quarterback Matt Rader has showed enough signs of improvement from last season to reduce talk of the early 1990s. "He kind of got thrown into it [last season]," Penn wide receiver coach Rick Ulrich said. "We changed our offense. He struggled at times last year. But then again he showed some sparkles of being a Division-I player." On the other end of the passing game, Penn junior Doug O'Neill and sophomore David Rogers -- the foundation of the 1998 Quakers' receiving corp -- look to build on a rough 1997. Though the duo combined for just one touchdown last season, they gained important game-time experience that should translate into improved performance. While the passing game is unlikely to serve as the core of the Quakers' attack, it is important for the wideouts to come of age. Finn's running success will rely heavily on opposing defenses placing increasing offense on Penn's receivers. If the receivers fail to make plays, opposing defenses will collapse on Finn. The Penn captain tailback, however, is confident that it won't come to that. "I think we have a strong running game and a strong passing game," Finn said. "That opens up both sides of the offense." Penn's loss of last year's senior receivers, John James and Brian Bonnano, should have only a positive effect on Rader. Evident by their combined 39 receptions, they were not Rader's targets of choice. "Last year the receivers weren't as talented as the people we have now," the Penn quarterback said. "I don't think we really had that connection last year, because a lot of us were new and thrown into a new system," Rogers added. "We worked out all throughout the year, and I think we all have our timing down." The improved communication between Rader and his receivers is noticed by everyone on the field. "There is definitely a lot more chemistry between the offensive people this year," Finn said. "The receivers look like they are working really well with Matt and are going to put some points on the board." Last season, O'Neill led Penn with 32 receptions for 430 yards, while Rodgers ranked third both with 17 receptions and 211 yards. The duo's numbers could have been higher had they not spent the first half of the season submerged on the bottom of Penn's depth chart. Making crucial catches against Brown and Princeton, O'Neill and Rodgers took starting spots away from senior wideouts late last season. "It was exciting being thrown in there and being able to make a big play in a couple of the games," O'Neill said. "Hopefully we will be able to do it again this year and turn the table on some of the games." O'Neill has earned the attention of his coaches and teammates for having the most game-experience at his position and for performing well under pressure. Last season, O'Neill earned the Bagnell Award, which is given traditionally to the Quakers' most improved player. "We go to Doug because he has been on the field," Ulrich said. "He is the mainstay of our receiving group. He is the one guy that we can count on catching the ball." As the other half of Penn's one-two receiving punch, Rogers, as a freshman last season surprised everyone with his ability to adapt to a new playbook, quarterback and surroundings. Rogers earned the admiration of Penn coaches this season by helping this year's freshman receivers adapt. "It was tough at first learning all of the plays and adjusting to the system," Rogers said. "There were a lot of older people that I could look up to and learn from." Penn junior Brandon Carson joins O'Neill and Rodgers as the only other Quakers receiver with significant game experience. Last season, Carson made the transition from reserve quarterback to receiver -- catching 14 passes for 129 yards In addition, he played some running back and kick returner. "Last year we force-fed Carson into a role that we wanted him to carry the ball, wanted him to catch the ball, wanted him to return kicks." Ulrich said. "Unfortunately for him and unfortunately for our team, it didn't work out extremely well. He fumbled on a return and he fumbled a kickoff that led directly to a touchdown. We need Carson to respond favorably to the situations that we give to him." Regardless of Finn's performance, with three returnees from last season, the Quakers' wide receivers should expect to be a part of an increasing percentage of the offensive plays. "We are going into every game thinking that we are going to probably run 70 plays," Ulrich said. "If Finn carries the ball 25 or 30 times, there are still at least 30 pass plays." Adding to the mix, sophomores Dominic McNeil and David O'Neill (Doug O'Neill's younger brother) have shown some ability. At 6'2", 190 lbs., McNeil's size and strength adds a new dimension to the Quakers' passing offense, while David O'Neill's outstanding takeoff speed should enable Rader to throw the fly pattern. One way the Quakers hope to involve as many of the receivers as possible is to develop several different sets. Much of preseason was used to experiment with many different formations. "We are mixing it up a lot," the older O'Neill said. "We have gone from a single receiver all the way up to four receivers out on the field. We are seeing what works best against different defenses." In addition to mixing up the offensive sets, Penn coaches will also try a mixed bag of receivers on the field together until they find a combination that works. "The guys have all been told that if they don't produce, then we are going to play with the guys that really give us what we want," Ulrich said. "If they don't, then we are not going to be in a five- or six-receiver rotation. We will stick with two or three." This means, worst case scenario, the Penn football faithful will see a lot of O'Neill, Rogers and possibly Carson this season. Even if nobody else emerges, it's the best receivers Penn football has offered since the days of DeRosa.

W. Soccer looks to extend streak

(09/18/98 9:00am)

The Penn women's soccer team hopes to continue its strong start after three straight wins. Off to its best start in school history, the Penn women's soccer team (3-0) has a lot to be optimistic about. This Sunday at 2 p.m. the Quakers look to add to their accomplishments as they take on neighboring Drexel (1-4). More impressive than scoring 10 goals in three games, the Quakers have yet to concede one. Their success in part comes from a change in defensive strategy to what Quakers coach Patrick Baker calls the "active zone." Instead of a four-person unit, Penn only uses three in the back. Junior Jennifer Danielson and senior Jacky Flood surround junior sweeper Deane Kocivar-Norbury as Penn's starting defenders. While allowing for outside shots, the strategy limits opponents' chances of gaining deep penetration. "None of the teams have gotten of any incredible shots," junior goalie Anne Kluetmeier said. "The defense is shutting down the opposing players. They are not allowing them to get into the box. They are not allowing them to get good shots off." All of the defensive players have enjoyed the switch, which has yielded only 22 shots in comparison to Penn's 50. While each defender has to cover more ground, it has greatly increased the Quakers' depth. "You've got Shannon Porter who was All-Ivy last year coming in as a reserve," Baker said. "Laura Donnell has come in and done a great job. Our depth in the back is as strong as it is up front and in the midfield." Another reason for Penn's defensive success is their familiarity with each other's game style, a result of having all of last year's starters return. "After playing with most of them for two years, you know what their tendencies are and whether or not they are going to get to the ball," Kocivar-Norbury said. "You know where they are going to be on the field. It is definitely advantageous for us." The only sore spot for the Quakers' defense is Kocivar-Norbury's tear in her MCL. Diagnosed during the preseason, the sweeper has been playing with the injury for over a year. Since she has been able to play with it for so long, Kocivar-Norbury will wait until the end of the season to seek surgical treatment. "It's there, and I am just going to have to deal with it," Kocivar-Norbury said. "On the field, it really doesn't limit me once I get moving and am playing. It's just after I am playing that it bothers me." This weekend's matchup will mark the first meeting between the two schools. The Dragons are in the beginning of their program's second year. Last season the Dragons went 3-13-1. Building their program from the ground up, Drexel is led by a pair of freshman forwards, Laura Meikle and Kelly Cross. While the Dragons are not formidable opponents, the Quakers will concentrate on preventing a let-down after their first three games. "This is one of those games that scares me more than others," Baker said. "I know we are going to be up for the East Carolina's and the Radford's of our schedule, but Drexel is one that I hope we come ready to play." As Penn takes to the field against inter-city opposition, all other Ivy League teams, except Dartmouth, will be playing their first conference match. Originally scheduled to play the Big Green this weekend, Dartmouth will play in a tournament at Colgate. Penn plays their first Ivy League game next weekend at Cornell. The Quakers will have to wait until then to begin their quest for their first Ivy League title.

Baker's recipe a success in building W. Soccer

(09/16/98 9:00am)

In each of its recent coaching searches, the Penn Athletic Department has stressed the importance of player recruiting in building a strong athletic program. Meet Penn's best exhibit of recruiting success -- Patrick Baker. After only four seasons at Penn, women's soccer coach Patrick Baker has put his team into the national spotlight because his ability to land heralded recruiting prospects has played a key role in the Quakers' ability to earn success. This year is no different as Baker got his most coveted players to commit to Penn. Coming from Division III North Carolina Wesleyan, Baker has found recruiting for an Ivy League team a double-edged sword. "Not being able to give athletic scholarships is always a concern," Baker said. "Every year we face it. We are not going to get everybody. We know that. But if we can get some of the quality ones that we are continually after, I think we will be okay." Many of Baker's contacts have not come through his Penn links but through his coaching positions for Olympic Development Program teams and junior state teams. Baker started coaching Olympic development players in North Carolina and has moved quickly through the ranks. This past summer Baker received a promotion as the director of Region III (South) for the Olympic Development Program. After Penn's successful '97 campaign, Baker found an overwhelming interest in the Quakers' program. Eighteen out of 20 official visits planned for this year so far are from Baker's ODP affiliation. "I would say in next year's recruiting class we will hopefully see some fruits of that," Baker said. "Now people have gotten to know me after a year. It is amazing what just being regionally ranked will do for you." Baker made one of his first dynamite finds the summer following his first year as head coach for the Quakers. Spending some of the summer running a soccer camp at the College of New Jersey, Baker ran into Jill and Andrea Callaghan. The twins, who had earned All-American recognition in high school, came to Penn and have since become cornerstones for the women's soccer program. Last season the two combined for 17 goals and five assists, earning their respective All-Ivy honors. "The main reason we came to Penn was because of coach Baker," Jill Callaghan said. "He was really enjoyable to be around. While he made you work hard, he would always be the first to say something nice." From his years coaching at the Eastern Pennsylvania Under 17 State ODP, Baker was able to approach sophomore Kellianne Toland and steal her away from Harvard. Toland earned First Team All-Ivy honors as a freshman. "There, again, it was just making great inroads," Baker said. "It was just a friendship, a relationship with Kelly that gave us the connection. We called her faithfully from start to finish." This season the Quakers boast one of their smallest recruiting classes in school history. Graduating only one player, Darah Ross, Baker did not feel the necessity to bring in a large class. "We were really trying to be more selective than any other year," Baker said. "If we had more than 10 freshman, there would have been a lot of unhappy campers not able to play the game of soccer." The freshmen trio consists of midfielders Sarah Campbell and Sabrina Fenton and sweeper Johanna Wise. While they find it awkward to have such a small class, Campbell, Fenton and Wise feel it has allowed them to become such a close-knit group. "We have definitely made a connection," Campbell said. "The three of us hang out all of the time. It is weird that there are only three of us. When we came on a recruiting trip there were 11 or 12 other players. I think our class being so small makes us unique." The trio have also given the team a surprising lift and shown that quality is better than quantity. After an impressive weekend in Delaware, Campbell has earned a starting position. "I was pleasantly surprised," Baker said. "I thought we were really solid and that we were really good in the central midfield. For someone like Sara to come in and make a contribution like she has and to be starting for us, says a lot about her as a player." Fenton and Wise have already caught the attention of their teammates. Gaining experience as the season progresses, the duo should see increasing playing time. "They have all been a positive influence on the team," Jill Callaghan said. "As they start playing more, all three of them will start learning about our tendencies."

For Ward and M. Lax, the end is near

(04/24/98 9:00am)

One of the men's lacrosse all-time greats, attackman John Ward, finishes his college career against Yale and Princeton. For one of the greatest lacrosse players to ever wear a Pennsylvania jersey, John Ward's final season will be remembered for something different than his first three. Ward, known to be one of the best premier goal scorers in the Ivy League, has not had the stellar season everyone had expected. In making his final statement to the collegiate lacrosse world, Ward and the Quakers (4-7, 1-3 Ivy League) travel to Yale (3-9, 1-4) Sunday night, followed by a Tuesday evening visit to Princeton (8-1, 4-0) the two-time defending National Champions. The 1997 first team All-Ivy member could blame his lower numbers on a change in the line-up, a nagging right hamstring or the bad breaks the team has received all season. Instead, Ward has tried to keep the team focused as a cohesive unit through their tough season. "Maybe this year has been a little disappointing for John, but you couldn't tell that by talking to him by the way he handles himself and keeps coming out trying to pick everybody else up," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "I think he has given us whatever he has had." Coming into the season Ward was tied for first on the all-time goal scoring and sixth in all-time points for Penn. With 16 goals and 15 assists this season, Ward has moved up to third with 175 points and has sole position of goals with 125. This season's 1.45 goal's per game is far below last season's school record of three per contest. This year Ward became an obvious target for teams to plan their defenses around. The veteran has made some adjustments but has focused on improving the same things as in previous years "I am not a real multi-directional player," Ward said. "I am not going to change directions. I have one move and that is pretty much it: I go. If teams can scout that out, it changes my role a lot. I am perfectly content with that." Ward's injury has affected his play in the past three or four games. The hamstring pull has hampered Ward's offensive numbers by not allowing him to use his normal aggressive moves. Recovering well since last weekend, this Saturday Ward should feel the best he has in the past month. "For a big strong guy he has great take-off," Van Arsdale said. "His acceleration is what gets him to the goal and how he becomes such a good dodger. He can't do that now." Last season ended with the departure Jon Cusson, who was often on the giving end of many of Ward's goals. Cusson finished his career ranked in the top 11 career leaders in assists, goals and points at Penn, including 78 goals and 77 assists. The responsibility of filling those shoes was given to freshman Todd Minerley. "I was really excited about playing with John and Pete [Janney]," Minerley said. "As a unit I think that we have played as well as we could have. When I made those rookie mistakes John told me never to get my head down. As I look back on the year, I couldn't have had a better time with these guys and everyone else on the team. The ball just didn't roll our way this year." In winning two Ivy League rookie of the week honors so far this season, Minerley has no longer been asked to fill in for anyone. "Over the last couple of weeks, Todd has matured more," Van Arsdale said. "He is more the quarterback for us on the field, event though he is a freshman." Sophomore attack Janney, Ward's heir apparent, has learned a lot playing with the honorable mention All-American. Not until recently has Janney, a pure scorer in his own right and last year's Ivy League rookie of the year, thought about life at the attack without Ward. "John is a natural leader," Janney said. "Being able to play with an All-American has been a great experience. I have been thinking about the future a lot lately. Between Todd and myself, we already have a lot of experience. We have two more years together and plan on leading the team to better things." Coming into the two final games of the season, the Quakers find themselves at the Ivy League cellar along with Yale and Dartmouth. Last season, the Quakers' had little problem in defeating the Elis 18-9. This season, Yale has made drastic improvements to their defense, allowing only five of their opponents to reach double figures in points. "Yale gave us a really tough game for the first half," Princeton coach Bill Tierney, whose team defeated the Elis 16-5, said. "We scored a couple of early goals in the second half and were able to get away from them. They have some good players, and are playing pretty tough as of late." Yale has also had more of a problem breaking down opposing teams' defenses. Reaching double figures only once, the Elis defeated 16th-ranked Rutgers 11-10. "They are a team that has a real strong pitching staff and not a whole lot of home run hitters," Van Arsdale said. "They play some strong team defense, but they are not really explosive on the offensive end." The final match and most anticipated of the year comes against the second-ranked team in the nation, Princeton. Earlier this season, Virginia ended Princeton's 29-game win streak. With the addition of a healthy Jon Hess at the attack, the Tigers are making their final adjustment for the run for their three-peat. "Through all of the ups and downs that we have had, our midfielders are now playing well," Tierney said. "Our defense has been the consistent part all year long. With our middies scoring and our attack with John back to full health, we are playing much more consistently and are shooting the ball a little bit better." In the past four years the team has made gradual improvements. Ward has enjoyed the ride, and hopes that the team will carry it on for years to come. "No matter what our final record is this year, no matter what stats you look at, this program is on its way up," Ward said. "I am proud to say that things were going up when I left here."

M. Lax finds field time for two goalies

(04/15/98 9:00am)

Matt Schroeder and Shane Lavery once competed for the strating spot in net, but now Lavery is roaming the field. When Marc Van Arsdale started his head-coaching career at Penn in the fall of 1997, he found himself confronted with a situation all coaches wish they had. Since only one goalie can be on the field at a time, Van Arsdale had to decide between two capable candidates, Shane Lavery and Matt Schroeder, for the starting job. "We knew that there were two very good goalies on campus," Van Arsdale said. "We thought that we were in a pretty good situation." The good situation has gotten better this year as Van Arsdale has found a way to use both players together. Schroeder won the starting job in net midway through last season and is now the undisputed No. 1 goaltender. Lavery, however, is no longer confined to the bench -- now serving as a Quakers' midfielder. Schroeder and Lavery will be in action tonight as the Quakers (3-6) travel to Villanova (2-6) for a 7 p.m. contest. The dilemma confronting Van Arsdale when he arrived on campus was identical to the one facing former Penn coach Terry Corcoran when Lavery and Schroeder first came to West Philadelphia in fall 1996. The results left Schroeder playing in goal and Lavery riding the bench. With the program changing coaches after his freshman year, Lavery knew he would have another chance to show his talent. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the Birmingham, Mich., native performed well during fall workouts last year, earning the attention of the rookie head coach. "I played sports all of my life and always started," Lavery said. "Coming to college and sitting on the bench for my freshman year was tough. A new coach comes in and some things might change around. I was hoping that maybe I could get some time, and that maybe I could get the spot." Penn assistant coach Tom McClelland, who is in charge of the goalies, was surprised by Lavery's athletic ability. "Shane was the fastest kid we had on the team," McClelland said. "They battled out hard. It was a good competitive contest between the two." Even as the starter the year before, Schroeder knew he would have to improve to keep his position. "As a sophomore, I didn't think I had anything set in stone," Schroeder said. "It helped my in the fall to improve physically and just work on my game more." As the springtime neared and the season began, the spot was still up for grabs. Van Arsdale decided the best thing to do was to compare how the two performed in games. For the first game, each played in the net for a half. But in the third game of the season against Navy, a 9-8 loss, Schroeder's stellar performance swayed Van Arsdale's opinion. Although Schroeder started receiving more playing time, Lavery still saw a lot of action throughout the remainder of the season. "Matt might have been a hair up going into the Navy game," Van Arsdale said. "We told Shane that Matt was going to play the first half, and then we'd see how it was going. Matt was really hot, and so we stuck with him. Shane, to his credit, continued to practice well and was throughout the entire season." While having different goalies playing in each game could have affected the Quakers, it was just another small adjustment that had to be made among the other maneuvers by the new coaching staff. Penn junior defender Ziggy Majumdar felt that the switching of personnel had little negative impact on the team that had its best season of the decade. "Either one I was comfortable playing with," Majumdar said. "It just came down to who was more consistent." In the final game against Princeton, Schroeder put on one of his best performances. Despite giving up 15 goals to the eventual National Champions, Schroeder made 22 saves, an amazing feat considering the ball was on Penn's side of the field for the majority of the game. Realizing Schroeder had become the full-time goalie, Lavery decided to make the most of his situation, changing positions to midfielder, specializing in defensive situations. "You sit on the bench, and it is rough," Lavery said. "Coach knew that it was hard on me, and he thought I could do some things outside of the crease. It was tough in the beginning. There is a big transition from not running anywhere to running all over the field, catching balls, getting hit and getting slashed." Lavery's addition to the midfield has added depth for the Quakers, a crucial element in such a physical sport. With his reputation as an excellent goalie, Lavery still spends time practicing his skills in the net, knowing that he remains the No. 2 man. "Shane is too good an athlete not to have out on the field in some capacity," Van Arsdale said. "He is somebody that understands the game at the defensive end. He is a big strong guy that runs well. He has really improved as the year progresses." Schroeder has surpassed all expectations this season. In nine games, the junior goalie has recorded 158 saves and has a 61.7 save percentage. During a year in which the Quakers have had a difficulty being consistent, the junior goalie has made his presence felt day in and day out. "Maybe early a couple of games he was not as sharp as he has been lately, but he has been a glue that has held us together," Van Arsdale said. Coach McClelland feels Schroeder's ability to shrug off frustration during games gave him the edge over Lavery, but his stature in the cage is what makes him an effective goalie. "He will not give up that position to save his life," McClelland said. "He is determined to hold it. He is going to make a shooter earn his goal. You have to make a good shot on Matt or you are not going to score." With his starting role no longer in question, Schroeder has been able to divert more of his time to work with his teammates on keeping up morale. "I have a different role now," Schroeder said. "I am not competing everyday. I am working on my leadership skills and helping to improve the team as much as possible." As good friends, the two are fortunate that they both were able to learn from their competition a year ago and have a positive outlook on the result. "Matt is a great goalie," Lavery said. "He has proved it this year. He has proved it every year before. He has done what it takes to keep our team in a ton of games. There is nothing that I can do but be supportive. He is one of my best friends." Coming off a disappointing 13-9 loss to Brown over the weekend, the two friends and their Quaker teammates do not want to give anything away to the Wildcats. "It is one of their biggest games on the schedule," Schroeder said. "We don't want to give them anything to cheer about."

For M. Lax, third time's a charm

(04/03/98 10:00am)

The Penn men's lacrosse team seeks its first Ivy victory this season when it faces off against Dartmouth. This weekend the Penn men's lacrosse team travels to New Hampshire in search of its first Ivy League victory of the season. After two failed attempts against Cornell and Harvard the past two weekends at home, Penn (2-5, 0-2 Ivy League) will have to put it together on the road against Dartmouth (3-2, 0-0) in its Ivy opener. A year ago the Quakers entered this same weekend after winning their first Ivy League game in 18 tries. With little pressure on them they defeated the Big Green 15-12 at home. In returning most of last year's starters, the Quakers had high expectations in the beginning of the season. With the losses to the Crimson and the Big Red, Penn has felt the pressure for the first time in a while of trying to be competitive in the Ivy League. "We have to go out and put everything together," Penn co-captain Joe Mauro said. "You can't walk out onto the field saying we know that we can beat these guys. It is not just going to happen. The balls are not just going to go in the back of the net." The Quakers have worked hard this season trying to prove that last season was not a fluke. Their sporadic play has left them with more losses than expected up to this point. "I think Penn has struggled a little bit," Dartmouth coach Tim Nelson said. "They lost some games they thought they would win coming into the season." After their disappointing loss to Bucknell, the Quakers were able to correct their problems of getting off to a slow start. In the past two Ivy League games, Penn's nemesis was the third quarter. "The third quarter has been our downfall," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "It is a matter of us standing around on offense in the second half. It goes slow for us, and we don't score for a while. We hit the panic button and that is definitely one thing we have to resist this weekend." The Quakers' attack is aware of their second-half blues. Trying to change their mindset, Penn must avoid the position of having to come back late in the fourth quarter. "It seems that we have been finally waking up in the fourth quarter," Janney said. "We have been trying to pull ourselves out of a hole that we have dug in the first three quarters. We are just running out of time at the end. The key to this weekend is to come out and jump on them right away." Coming into the game, Penn's offense has been led by attackmen Pete Janney (14 goals, 13 assists), John Ward (10 gls., 13 asts.) and Ivy League Rookie of the Week Todd Minerley (12 gls., 7 asts.). Middies Jeff Zuckerman (13 gls., 7 asts) and Mauro (15 gls., 8 asts.) have also added to the offensive punch. In preparing for Saturday's game, the Quakers adjusted this week's schedule, allowing them use of the grass fields behind Hollenback. Accustomed to the artificial turf of Franklin Field, the Quakers needed to touch up, playing on real sod. "It is a lot slower surface," Janney said. "Picking up ground balls is twice as hard. We play most of our games on turf, so it is a little bit of transition to go to grass." Dartmouth enters the game after a frustrating 18-8 loss to Stony Brook. At the end of their 11-day spring break trip which also featured a game against No. 12 North Carolina, the Big Green showed little emotion while losing big. "We are still trying to figure out what type of a team we do have," Nelson said. "Everything was going well up to the Stony Brook game. We kind of fell apart there." With the departure of attackmen Scott Hapgood and Brian Merritt who scored five goals in last year's game, the Big Green has looked to the defensive end for its leadership. Co-captains midfielder John Whelen and defenseman Dan Gansalong with junior goalie Andrew Dance have allowed 11.6 goals per game. "The key to the game is definitely going to be how well our defense plays," Nelson said. "Penn's attack with John Ward and Pete Janney is excellent. They have a lot of dangerous middies, especially with Mauro and Zuckerman. We have to control Penn's offense." Almost at the halfway point, the Quakers seem to be making a positive change, devoting themselves to proving the ability of this year's team instead of worrying about validating last year's success.

For M. Lax, third time's a charm

(04/03/98 10:00am)

The Penn men's lacrosse team seeks its first Ivy victory this season when it faces off against Dartmouth. This weekend the Penn men's lacrosse team travels to New Hampshire in search of its first Ivy League victory of the season. After two failed attempts against Cornell and Harvard the past two weekends at home, Penn (2-5, 0-2 Ivy League) will have to put it together on the road against Dartmouth (3-2, 0-0) in its Ivy opener. A year ago the Quakers entered this same weekend after winning their first Ivy League game in 18 tries. With little pressure on them they defeated the Big Green 15-12 at home. In returning most of last year's starters, the Quakers had high expectations in the beginning of the season. With the losses to the Crimson and the Big Red, Penn has felt the pressure for the first time in a while of trying to be competitive in the Ivy League. "We have to go out and put everything together," Penn co-captain Joe Mauro said. "You can't walk out onto the field saying we know that we can beat these guys. It is not just going to happen. The balls are not just going to go in the back of the net." The Quakers have worked hard this season trying to prove that last season was not a fluke. Their sporadic play has left them with more losses than expected up to this point. "I think Penn has struggled a little bit," Dartmouth coach Tim Nelson said. "They lost some games they thought they would win coming into the season." After their disappointing loss to Bucknell, the Quakers were able to correct their problems of getting off to a slow start. In the past two Ivy League games, Penn's nemesis was the third quarter. "The third quarter has been our downfall," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "It is a matter of us standing around on offense in the second half. It goes slow for us, and we don't score for a while. We hit the panic button and that is definitely one thing we have to resist this weekend." The Quakers' attack is aware of their second-half blues. Trying to change their mindset, Penn must avoid the position of having to come back late in the fourth quarter. "It seems that we have been finally waking up in the fourth quarter," Janney said. "We have been trying to pull ourselves out of a hole that we have dug in the first three quarters. We are just running out of time at the end. The key to this weekend is to come out and jump on them right away." Coming into the game, Penn's offense has been led by attackmen Pete Janney (14 goals, 13 assists), John Ward (10 gls., 13 asts.) and Ivy League Rookie of the Week Todd Minerley (12 gls., 7 asts.). Middies Jeff Zuckerman (13 gls., 7 asts) and Mauro (15 gls., 8 asts.) have also added to the offensive punch. In preparing for Saturday's game, the Quakers adjusted this week's schedule, allowing them use of the grass fields behind Hollenback. Accustomed to the artificial turf of Franklin Field, the Quakers needed to touch up, playing on real sod. "It is a lot slower surface," Janney said. "Picking up ground balls is twice as hard. We play most of our games on turf, so it is a little bit of transition to go to grass." Dartmouth enters the game after a frustrating 18-8 loss to Stony Brook. At the end of their 11-day spring break trip which also featured a game against No. 12 North Carolina, the Big Green showed little emotion while losing big. "We are still trying to figure out what type of a team we do have," Nelson said. "Everything was going well up to the Stony Brook game. We kind of fell apart there." With the departure of attackmen Scott Hapgood and Brian Merritt who scored five goals in last year's game, the Big Green has looked to the defensive end for its leadership. Co-captains midfielder John Whelen and defenseman Dan Gansalong with junior goalie Andrew Dance have allowed 11.6 goals per game. "The key to the game is definitely going to be how well our defense plays," Nelson said. "Penn's attack with John Ward and Pete Janney is excellent. They have a lot of dangerous middies, especially with Mauro and Zuckerman. We have to control Penn's offense." Almost at the halfway point, the Quakers seem to be making a positive change, devoting themselves to proving the ability of this year's team instead of worrying about validating last year's success.

M. Lax falls to Harvard in frigid March wind

(03/23/98 10:00am)

Despite goalie Matt Schroeder's 25 saves, the Penn men's lacrosse team lost again, 16-13. The cold, wind and rain Saturday at Franklin Field had more of an effect on the fans than on the players. Feeling the chill, the majority of the crowd at the game chose to leave early, missing Penn's run of five goals in two minutes, which cut the lead to one with 2:16 left in the game. Unfortunately for the Quakers' fans left in attendance, the visiting Crimson crushed Penn's comeback, leaving the Quakers (1-4, 0-1 Ivy League) with a 16-13 loss. The defeat was Penn's fourth in a row, and the victory kept Harvard (3-0, 1-0) undefeated on the season. In a reversal of earlier season matches in which Penn fell behind early, this time it was the Quakers' inability to ignite a spark in the third quarter that dug the team a hole it could not escape from. "We had fought our way back from deficits in the first half," Van Arsdale said. "We needed to come out and get control of things in the third quarter, which is what we didn't do. If you look at the game, I think it was in the third quarter where it was lost." For the majority of the game, Harvard's defensive shutdown the Quakers' offense. Penn's attack was limited to only two bursts of productivity, one in the beginning of the second quarter and the other at the end of the fourth. Those two spurts accounted for 70 percent of Penn's total output. While the Quakers wanted to divide the offense between the midfield and attackmen, Penn's trio attack of Todd Minerly (three goals), John Ward (one goal, three assists) and Pete Janney (three goals, one assist) carried most of the burden. On the other end of the field, Harvard's offense had many opportunities. Even with Penn goalie Matt Schroeder contributing 25 saves during the game, the Crimson continually found the back of the net. Captain Mike Ferrucci led the way for Harvard with three goals and three assists, while Lawson De Vries added another four goals. "Matt played very well in the goal for us and we still gave up 16," Van Arsdale said. "That is probably a credit to their offense. We need to be a little sharper on the execution end. A few loose balls here and there that they through back into the cage really broke our backs at critical times." After a slow start, the Quakers fired back in the second quarter. Down by three goals, Penn went on a 6-2 run, giving the Quakers their only lead of the game. Janney accounted for three of those goals and an assist. In his last goal in the series, Janney rifled the ball past the goalie while jumping through a crowd of three Harvard defenders. The momentum was short-lived as Harvard connected on four of their next five offensive possessions to take a 10-7 lead at the half. At the end of the second quarter three of Harvard's goals resulted from its ability to pick up the loose balls, especially on face-offs, and convert them into goals. "We were winning the ball between the lines and having our guys just run," Ferrucci said. "Penn plays a real aggressive defense, so if we beat them the slides are going to be long. That is what we had to do and we accomplished that toward the end of the second quarter." Coming back out into the miserable conditions did not inspire the Quakers as Harvard picked up from where they left off. After limiting Penn to one goal in the third quarter, the Crimson went into the fourth comfortably ahead 14-8. "We tried to get back too much too quickly," Penn middie Jeff Zuckerman said. "When we get down on offense we need to hold it a little more and give our defense a bit of a rest, but that did not happen in the third quarter. We had a whole second half to do that, and we were only down by a couple of goals." Penn midfielder Bart Hacking added a goal early in the fourth to cut Harvard's lead to five, but it was not until Penn middie Joe Mauro bounced one in past Harvard goalie Keith Cynar did the Quakers start to show signs of life. The string of goals cut the lead to 14-13. "Our wing play on the face-offs picked up," Zuckerman said. "When we got the ball down on offense we started to move a lot more as a team. More assisted goals resulted where people were getting two or three passes before scoring." Similar to the end of the second period, the final face-offs of the game were vital. During Penn's run, Zuckerman fought hard to give Penn possession on three straight opportunities. Harvard's Brad Oliphant ended the Quakers' hopes when he took the face-off after Penn had pulled within one. The possession resulted in a Crimson score, giving them a two-goal cushion with 1:33 left. "It was a big scare," Ferrucci said. "We have not had too many games where it has been that close this year. We know Penn has a lot of offensive power, so we really had to control the ball between the lines. We weren't doing that toward the end of the game." For the Quakers, their lack of intensity throughout the game caused their performance to peak and fall at inopportune times. With their last-minute heroics coming up short, Penn again realized that it was too little, too late.

Bison drop M. Lax to 0-for-break

(03/17/98 10:00am)

Losses to Navy and Virginia were not unexpected, but an 'L' to Bucknell Saturday brings out the yellow flag. After a disappointing spring break, the members of the Penn men's lacrosse team were actually happy to see school back in session. After losing 12-11 to Navy a week ago Saturday and 12-7 to Virginia this past Wednesday, Penn was dealt their final blow by Bucknell, who took advantage of the fatigued and emotionally drained Quakers, defeating them 11-8 Sunday. While Penn (1-3) was not favored against the Midshipmen (3-2) or the Cavaliers (3-1), the loss to the Bison (3-1) was unexpected and demoralizing. "It was not a bad trip until the Bucknell game," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "I expected a little more out of the Navy and Virginia games, but Sunday's performance was pathetic, maybe the worst I have ever been associated with on a team from little league on up." The three straight losses put a hold on what seemed to be a promising season for the Quakers. "I felt like we had made some strides from the Navy game to the Virginia game," Van Arsdale said. "We probably assumed too many good things about ourselves after the Virginia game." "We have to approach every team as if we are playing the national champions," senior midfielder Joe Mauro said. "Right now no one gives us any respect and deservingly so. Respect is something you have to earn." Penn began the weekend up 3-1 in the first period against Navy. The Midshipmen, capable of scoring in bunches, took a 9-6 halftime lead. "We came out with a lot of fire," Van Arsdale, "We were physically not backing down to a team that tries to intimidate you a little bit." Playing catch-up for most of the second half, the Quakers, who outscored Navy 3-1 in the final quarter, could not overcome the Midshipmen. Mauro and sophomore attack Peter Janney added two goals and two assist apiece, while freshman attackman Todd Minerley contributed two goals and an assist. When the final whistle blew it was deja vu for the Quakers, suffering a one-goal loss for the second straight year to Navy. Although the game frustrated the Quakers, they knew they would have to be sharp in playing the No. 3 Virginia team that had just defeated the two-time NCAA champion Princeton. "We had to put this one past us," Mauro said. "If we kept thinking about Navy, we were not going to be able to compete with Virginia. We knew we had a chance if we went out and played against Virginia." After the 9-7 win that ended the No. 1 Tigers' 29-game winning streak, Virginia coach Dom Starsia was worried his team might not be focussed enough to play the improved Quakers. "We were concerned with our energy level and our enthusiasm for the game," Starsia said. "Penn was better athletically than a year ago." In the early going, the Cavaliers cruised. Down 5-1, the Quakers showed poise and surmounted a comeback that resulted in a 4-1 run to end the first half. During the third period, Penn possessed the ball well on offense and gave up little on defense. On the other side, Virginia's defense acted like a brick wall, allowing two goals the entire half. Unfortunately for the Quakers, their defense budged first, allowing Virginia to pour on four goals in the last period. The barrage took the wind out of Penn's sails, ending their hopes of an upset. "In general it was a game that we could walk off the field thinking it could have been a springboard to better things if we approach every opponent the way we did with Virginia," Van Arsdale said. Virginia's Drew McKnight carried the Cavaliers at the end with two goals and two assists in the final period. "McKnight made a couple of great catches in front of the cage and converted those into goals," Starsia said. "That was a catalyst for us as much as anything." Quakers' co-captain John Ward led the team with a goal and two assists, while Minerely added a goal and an assist and Janney and Mauro each chipped in with two goals. The losses finally took their toll on the Quakers as a non-aggressive team took to the field against Bucknell. Although the lack of focus had not been seen in practice days prior to the game, it became evident by the little emotion shown during pregame warm-ups. "We practiced pretty well during the week," Van Arsdale said. "In the warm-up on Sunday, we were just walking through it. There was not really a bounce in our step." Before they realized, the flat-footed Quakers found themselves down 9-0 more than halfway into the third period. Effectively executing what the Quakers had planned, Bucknell controlled the ball on the attack, wearing down the Quakers' defense and keeping Penn's attack out of sync. For most of the first three quarters, the Quakers tried to find an immediate way to get back into the game. When Ward ended the shutout with 3:28 left in the third period, Penn began to change their offensive attitude by instead chipping away at Bucknell's lead a goal at a time. In the fourth quarter, Penn outscored the Bison 6-1. "Our attack got dominated Sunday," Van Arsdale said. "They did not give us any play over the field until the very end." It was too little too late for the Quakers, who were upset by a team they had defeated 13-3 a year ago. Mauro continued his stellar play over the week with three goals and an assist. "Mauro has been far and away our most consistent and best performer every game for us," Van Arsdale said. "He has stood up and been a leader in the midfield and has given us a lot of punch especially in the extra man offense." A weekend that could have been used to impress the rest of the nation ended with speculation as to the direction of Penn's program. As the co-captain Mauro put it, the Quakers need to follow through by putting their words into actions out on the field.

SEASON PREVIEW: M. Lax ready for role as Ivy League heavyweight

(03/06/98 10:00am)

The men's lacrosse team ended a two-year Ivy losing streak last season; Now they expect to win. From pretender to contender in one year, the Penn men's lacrosse team has ascended from the lowly depths of the Ivy League to national prominence. Last year, the Quakers made a drastic jump to 6-6 overall and 3-3 in the Ivy League -- the first time the team had finished .500 and above in seven years. All of this came under first-year coach Marc Van Arsdale. While the team made strides last season, there's still room left to improve. "The expectation level for ourselves has risen," Van Arsdale said. "We are not going to tolerate errors that were made last year." With close defeats to Navy and Harvard, the Quakers last season lost out on many opportunities. Although last year's success seemed unexpected, Penn wants to prove it was just the beginning. "We can't be satisfied with last season," Penn co-captain John Ward said. "A little more toughness in the fourth quarter and we could have been 8-4. Moving into this year, .500 is not going to be anywhere close to where we need to be, where we want to be or where we can be." Comparing this season to last, Penn finds itself further ahead in development and in better shape. Van Arsdale also feels the learning process from last season will benefit this year's team. "People have a much clearer idea of what we are trying to do, and when we make mistakes, why we made them," Van Arsdale said. "Last year sometimes it took a little while to get through things, being the first time through." The Quakers will have plenty of opportunity in showing themselves to the rest of the nation, squaring off against the top three preseason teams. Princeton, Virginia and Syracuse revisit the prestigious list of teams on Penn's 1998 schedule. "We do get a chance to test ourselves against the best, which is what we want to do," Van Arsdale said. "As we go out and try to attract the kinds of players that are going to take us to become an Ivy League Championship team, you need the best teams on the schedule." In shifting the balance of the Ivy League, the Quakers find themselves in the middle, with Cornell and Yale toward the bottom and Brown, Harvard and Princeton at the top. With room to move up, Penn will have the luxury of facing Ivy League opponents Brown and Harvard at home. "Princeton is a clear runaway favorite," Van Arsdale said. "On paper most people look at it, Princeton, Brown, Harvard and Penn. We would like to do something about that." The Quakers' ultimate goal is the NCAA tournament in May. Taking the top 16 in the country, tournament champion Princeton and Brown were the only two to get tourney bids from the Ivy League last season. But this spring, the Penn team will have a different look than last year. A year ago, Penn attackmen Jon Cusson ('97), sophomore Pete Janney and Ward were looked upon to be the main scorers. This year, the offensive duties will also be shared by the middies, who this season are tri-captain Joe Mauro, junior Jeff Zuckerman, sophomore Mike Kehoe (who was out of school last year) and sophomore Billy Reidy. "Me and Pete are going to have to have some eyes this year," Ward said. "We have two lines of middies this year that can put the ball in the back of the net." While the loss of Ed Hanover, Al Patton and Pete McGill to graduation will affect the flow of the middies, Mauro and Zuckerman's experience will help. In the opening game of the regular season against St. Joseph's, the two combined for seven goals and five assists. At the attack position, Penn will feel the burden placed on it with the departure of Cusson, who ended his career ranked fourth in all-time assists (77), tenth in all-time goals (78) and fifth in all-time scoring (155). The Quakers starting three up front will consist of Ward, Janney and freshman Todd Minerley. Ward, one of this year's tri-captains, broke Penn's all-time leading scorer Andy Crofton ('96) with 110 career goals. With 36 goals and 14 assists last season, Ward was selected honorable mention All-American and first team All-Ivy. Last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year Pete Janney contributed 27 goals and 9 assists, while the new addition to the starting attack, Minerley, began the season strong with three goals and an assist in the game against St. Joe's. "Todd stepped right in," Ward said. "He is going to be the quarterback of our offense. I miss 'Cuss', and it was great to play with him. But I have all of the confidence in the world in Todd." The defense will be led by tri-captain Joe Siedlecki, Ziggy Majumdar, Bill Fowler and Brett Bodner playing the long stick midfield role. After taking a year to understand Van Arsdale's style of defense, Penn will be well-prepared for their opponents. "We have a year under are belts together," Siedlecki said. "We can trust each other out on the field, knowing if you do get beat, someone will be there to help you." One of the main differences between this season and last year will be the situation in the net. A year ago, current juniors Shane Lavery and Matt Schroeder exchanged minutes in goal. In the middle of the season, Van Arsdale opted for Schroeder, moving Lavery to midfield, where he was able to make better use of his athletic ability. Schroeder's presence in the net at the end of last season and through preseason has grown. Van Arsdale feels he will be the difference that will help the Quakers in close games. "Matt was terrific Saturday," Van Arsdale said. "He was sharp and on top of things. He gave us a lot of leadership. If he is really on we could steal a game a lot of people might not expect us to win." Although the 17-11 victory against St. Joe's Saturday did not make anyone's head turn, the Quakers were able to start the regular season strong after exhibition losses to Towson and Hobart. Over the break, the Quakers head south for games against Navy (1-1) and Virginia (1-1), before coming back the state of Pennsylvania to play Bucknell. Last year, the Quakers finished the three-game tour, 1-2, losing to Navy (9-8) and Virginia (17-6) and defeating Bucknell (13-3). Against Navy, Penn hopes to inflict some revenge, after the Midshipmen came back from two goals down in the last period to win. For Van Arsdale, it will be his second game coaching against Virginia, where he assisted for six years. With a lot of experience returning and a few freshmen impact players, Penn should not miss a beat from last season. Unlike the past decade, the Quakers have a legit chance to extend their season past the standard two months.