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The men's basketball team sent Dartmouth and Harvard returning home without a win. Despite knowing they would need another team's help to catch Princeton in the race for the Ivy League title, the men's basketball team (16-10, 9-2 Ivy League) kept its concentration on its own court this past weekend, defeating two Ivy League teams, Dartmouth (6-18, 3-9 Ivy) and Harvard (11-13, 4-8). The weekend sweep rebounded Penn from last Tuesday night's defeat to league-leading Princeton, which all but mathematically eliminated the Quakers from the league title hunt. The two weekend wins left the Quakers two games behind Princeton with three games remaining on each team's schedule. "This is an opportunity for us to play good basketball against league teams that want to come in here and beat us," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "If we had beaten Princeton maybe there could have been cause for a let down, but there should have been no thoughts of a let down. We should finish this season up as strong as we can." Against Harvard Saturday night, junior Paul Romanczuk scored 20 points and added another 10 rebounds for the Quakers in their 77-67 victory. After a highly contested first half, Penn pulled away in the second, never allowing Harvard to come within 10 points in the final 10 minutes of the game. The visiting Crimson started the evening by going up 28-17 with 8 minutes 45 seconds left in the first half. After a timeout, Jed Ryan hit a three-point shot, sparking the Quakers to a 20-5 run and a 37-34 halftime lead. "I have no recollection as to what I said other than we obviously have to tighten things up," Dunphy said. "In the first 12 possessions they had 10 scores. Out of the last 20 possessions in the half we stopped them 15 times." In the second half, it was a Ryan three-pointer again leading the way as Penn put the Harvard out of reach with a 13-2 charge that left Harvard with a 62-45 deficit with less than 10 minutes left. Harvard's final effort cut the lead to 10 with less than two minutes left, but Penn's precise passing kept the Crimson out of reach. The Quakers' ball movement led to assists on 21 out of the 27 field goals made. "Our offensive efficiency was pretty good," Dunphy said. "When we are moving the ball we can get pretty decent looks at the basket." Shooting over 55 percent from the field and 10-of-22 from behind the arc, Penn capitalized on their open looks at the basket. Improving their season averages, Matt Langel, Garett Kreitz, Ryan and Romanczuk ended in double digits in scoring for Penn. Romanczuk's play was especially stellar this weekend, combining for 36 points and 14 rebounds. "The ball has just been coming down there," Romanczuk said. "I owe a lot of it to coach Dunphy's philosophy of inside-out and the perimeter guys getting me the ball in there. Maybe I am maturing a little bit and learning how to score in there as an undersized postman." Forward Paul Fisher had a big night for Harvard, scoring a career high 26 points and bringing down seven rebounds. The Crimson's Mike Scott added outside pressure, shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range in the first half and ending with 21 points. "I thought Fisher was terrific tonight," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "I thought we were able to get the ball to him on a number of occasions. I thought he played as well as any big many in the Ivy League for these 40 minutes." The anticipated fierce match-up between Penn's Michael Jordan and Harvard's Tim Hill finished in a surprising manner. Coming into the game, Jordan averaged 16 points a contest, while Hill scored 14.6 points a game. At the end of the night Hill had only six points, while Jordan finished with two, including 0-for-1 from the floor. Both still made major contributions to their teams, however, as Hill had eight assists while Jordan contributed seven. "I always think their match-up is a special one," Sullivan said. "It is good to see each of them go at each other and take the disposition that they really want to challenge each other. Michael may not have had the numbers, but his presence there and his quickness causes rotations." In the 66-50 win over Dartmouth Friday night, the Quakers came out hesitant with the Princeton loss still on their shoulder. Down by five points only five minutes into the game, Penn guards' Langel, Jordan and Kreitz answered with 13 out of the Quakers' next 15 points. Penn closed out the half by outscoring Dartmouth by 11 and leaving them scoreless in the last 5 minutes of the half, taking a 29-17 lead. Forward Shaun Gee was the Big Green's only presence on the floor, scoring more than half of his team's points. "The game was changed when they tightened their defense," Dartmouth coach Dave Faucher said. "It really took our backcourt out in the first half. We didn't adjust to using the space to going to the post-ups. We weren't waiting for our screens. We just didn't react well to their pressure." In the second half, the two teams traded baskets as Dartmouth was unable to make up any ground until just over five minutes left when Dartmouth's Gee scored on a lay-up while being fouled by Kreitz. After making his free throw attempt, Gee and the Big Green found themselves down by nine. The Quakers closed the door with Romanczuk, Langel and Mike Sullivan hitting 5-of-6 from the line. After missing four out of his five shots in the half, Langel ended the 8-0 run with a three-point shot to give Penn a 60-43 lead with two minutes left in the game. "You have to keep your head in it, keep shooting the shots and not hang you head at all," Langel said. "They are going to go in eventually." Although Gee scored 18 points on the night, the damage could have been worse if not for Penn's Sullivan. Used in defensive situations, Sullivan helped keep Gee to 8-of-19 from the floor including 1-of-4 from three-point range. Sullivan also made himself an offensive presence, chipping in six points in only 16 minutes. "I knew my role going in was just to play defense against Gee," Sullivan said. "He is a bigger, stronger guy, and I match up pretty well with him." Romanczuk had another big game with 16 points and four rebounds while Langel added 14 points and six rebounds. After scoring four points in the first six minutes of the game, Kreitz failed again to connect with the basket but did set a season high with five assists. Jordan also added 13 points and four assists was again plagued by turnovers, accounting for seven out of the team's total of 12. "His concentration sometimes wanes, I think," Dunphy said. "He has got to do better than that. If I am Michael, I have to say it is my fault and take the responsibility for that. He is an outstanding basketball player, but his choices have to get better." Dartmouth's Asa Palmer keyed the Big Green's run in the second half, scoring 10 out of his 12 on the night. Guard P.J. Halas failed to feel welcomed as Jordan held the Big Green guard to only four points, shooting 0-of-4 from behind the arc. "We ask a lot of P.J.," Faucher said. "He had a couple of good looks that usually go down, but they made him work for everything." Although the Quakers had little to prove in beating two mediocre Ivy League teams they had earlier defeated, Penn was able to show themselves and everyone else that they had not given up on this season. The two victories did lock-up second place in the conference, a vast improvement over finishing fourth last year.
The Penn men's basketball team will try to earn a victory in its last Big 5 bout of the year against La Salle at the Palestra. In the worst injury-plagued season in Fran Dunphy's coaching career at Penn, the Quakers take to the court tonight in their last non-conference game of the season. Penn (11-9) faces off against Big 5 rival La Salle (7-14) at the Palestra at 7:30 this evening with the possibility of having two starters out of the line-up. The latest casualty is junior forward Paul Romanczuk, whose wrist injury was examined yesterday afternoon. Romanczuk appeared to injure his wrist after a fall during the second half of Penn's 71-57 win over Dartmouth Saturday night. Starter Jed Ryan will definitely be on the bench again with a broken pinkie finger on his shooting hand. Ryan will be out one to two more weeks. "Injuries are things that happen over courses of years," Dunphy said. "In my previous eight years we only lost one player to a number of games. Otherwise we have been pretty lucky with the exception of junior Frank Brown last year. It is just one of those things that is catching up with us over the course of this season." A team that started out the season with seven players' 6'6" or taller will possibly only have three of them in uniform tonight. In the beginning of the season, sophomore center Geoff Owens was told for medical reasons to sit out the whole season. Brown has been out since December with pain in his right knee. Sophomore guard Matt Langel joined the group for 10 days with a bruised thigh. The healthy trio of George Mboya, Mike Melcher and Josh Sanger have only averaged a combined 29.1 minutes per game. The three, which have averaged a combined 2.3 points and six rebounds per game, will have to compensate for Romanczuk and Ryan's loss of 23.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. The situation does not worry the team. In winning eight out of their last 10, the Quakers have already demonstrated their ability to play well under different circumstances. In defeating Dartmouth, eight out of the nine players in the game reached double digits in minutes played. "It has to be a team effort," Romanczuk said. "Matt went down. Lamar got an opportunity and played well. Now Jed Ryan goes down and that gives other guys opportunities." Although unfortunate for the team, sophomore guard Michael Jordan believes the different players have added another dimension to the Quakers. "I guess it catches teams off guard, because they see new faces," Jordan said. "They haven't had a chance to scout them, because these guys haven't been playing all year. We would love to have those guys back, but I am confident about everybody on our whole team." Where Penn has lost, La Salle has gained. This season, La Salle has benefited at least on offense with the addition of two frontcourt players. K'Zell Wesson, a junior college transfer from the College of Eastern Utah, has averaged 13.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, while Victor Thomas, a Philadelphia native, has contributed 11.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The play of Wesson and Thomas has taken some of the pressure off the Atlantic 10's leading scorer, sophomore Donnie Carr. Last season Carr was the sixth leading scorer in Division I, averaging 23.9 points per game while shooting a meager 35 percent from the floor. La Salle coach Speedy Morris was not upset with the high number of shots Carr took last year because the offensive burden had been placed on the shoulders of Carr. "I think I will be guarding Donnie," Jordan said. "It is not about stopping Donnie. You just have to make every shot tough for him." This season Carr is averaging five points less a game, while dishing two and a half assists more per game. With Carr's shooting percentage still at 35 percent, Morris has become more critical of Carr's offensive game. "He has been working at it, but he is still shooting way below 40 percent," Morris said. "That is just not good enough for a player of his caliber. He has to be a lot higher." Along with Carr on the perimeter are senior guards Mike Gizzi and Shawn Smith. The two seniors have averaged 15.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 8.5 points, 4.3 assists, respectively. While averaging 71.3 points per game as a team, La Salle has also allowed 79.1 points per game. The Explorers are also last in the Atlantic 10 in opponents' field goal percentage at a staggering 48.9 percent. "Offensively, I would give [La Salle] a 'B,' " Morris said. "On the defensive end and defensive intensity, they flunk. The Penn kids really play hard on that end of that floor. Disappointing to say, we don't play as hard." Last season the Quakers defeated La Salle at the CoreStates Spectrum 67-60. This season the game falls right in the middle of the conference season for both teams. Tonight is the final Big 5 (Philadelphia ) match-up for Penn this season.
St. Joe's played to a full Palestra crowd for the second time this week last night against Temple. The crowd roared through the Palestra with 0:00 left on the clock last night as both teams went back to their benches in preparation for overtime. With St. Joe's bench on the west end and Temple's on the other, the Quakers found themselves left out in this Philadelphia inner city game. A less emphatic mood settled over the crowd, dominated by St. Joe's supporters, at the final buzzer as the Owls (12-4, 5-1 Atlantic 10) defeated the Hawks (7-9, 1-6) 68-62. It was the first meeting of the year between the two squads who both defeated the Quakers this year. Temple defeated Penn 67-58, while St. Joe's barely escaped with a 55-57 victory this past Saturday. The Palestra was the site of the scheduled St. Joe's home game to allow the 8,126 fans to watch. The Hawks' Alumni Field House only seats 3,200 comfortably. "I don't consider to be in this building any type of disadvantage," St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said. "I think it is a game that Philadelphia people want to see. I think the Philadelphia people love this building." As a stage for the rest of the city, the Palestra has always drawn praises for its unique ambience. "Tonight it was the same Palestra as I have always seen it," Temple coach John Chaney said. "It was alive, a frenzy was out there and it is just one of the great places, other than the Apollo, to play the game." Last night the Palestra took center stage. Although the walls, ceiling and floor were bannered with Pennsylvania logos, neither side felt uncomfortable. Instead of two visiting teams, the fans made it seem as if it was a battle of two home teams The climax in the game came when St. Joe's Duval Simmonds lofted up a five-foot field goal with less than a second left in regulation to leave a pair of 55s showing on the scoreboard. The shot finished the Hawks comeback from a 51-41 deficit with 6:58 left in the game. Simmonds finished the game as the Hawks leading scorer and rebounder with 16 points and nine rebounds. Simmonds originally found himself in the position to tie the game. While driving down the lane, Simmonds was fouled by Temple's Lamont Barnes, sending him to the charity stripe to shoot two free throws. With the Hawks down by two and only 32.2 seconds left in the game, Simmonds missed both chances. With the heart of St. Joe's still in the game, the Hawks' Harold Rasul tipped the loose ball from Simmonds' second free throw into the hands of teammate Rashid Bey. "Coach told us that Rashid was going to shoot the ball," Simmonds said. "Everyone just ran in and attacked the boards. I tapped it, Harold Rasul tapped it and I just tried to get another tap in before the clock ran out." Temple did not waste time in overtime, outscoring St. Joe's 13-7. Eight out of Temple's 13 came from the foul line, which shot 47.8 percent for the entire game. The difference was rebounding, as St. Joe's was out rebounded 14-3 in the extra period. "In overtime they banged us really hard," Simmonds said. "They attacked the boards hard. I guess they wanted it more than we did." Bey led the Hawks initially, scoring the game's first points with a three-pointer only 30 seconds into it. Four series later the Hawks' point guard hit a field goal to again extend their lead to three. Throughout the entire game the Owls dominated play with their premier zone-defense. In switching from a 2-3 to a 1-3-1 and a 1-2-2, the Owls found the numbers that worked on defense that also limited the Hawks' numbers on offense. Taking over a lead they did not relinquish for the rest of the game with 9:35 left in the first half, the Owls big men had their way inside. Barnes finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, while his teammate Lynard Stewart ended the game with nine points and 11 rebounds. Temple's ability to establish a lead was compromised by the Hawks' ability to change the movement of the game in their favor. Led by freshman Frank Wilkins, who accounted for six points in the Hawks 12-2 run at the end of the second-half, St. Joe's was able to set the stage for Duval's heroics.
Penn men's basketball is looking for its fourth win in a row when St. Joe's comes to the Palestra Saturday night. Looking at their schedule earlier in the week, the Quakers realized they had some house-cleaning chores scheduled. On Tuesday, the Quakers (7-8) accomplished their first job with a 79-65 win over Drexel. The second task comes against St. Joseph's (5-7) tomorrow evening in a game at the Palestra. The Quakers, winners of three straight and four out of their last five, are playing their best basketball so far this season. On offense, each player in the starting line-up is averaging double figures in points per game, and the team has scored 70 or more points in nine of their fifteen games. Along with this well-tuned offense, Penn's improving defensive play has denied opponents the ability to comeback from deficits. Although they lack size with the missing presence of 6'11" inch sophomore Geoff Owens due to health reasons, the Quakers are playing with more maturity and experience as compared to last year and earlier on this season. "In the more recent games we have really picked up our defense as a team," senior guard Garett Kreitz said. "We have been concentrating more down the stretch in close games." Against St. Joe's last season, the Quakers were unable to pull it together down the stretch, losing 66-61. With 3.5 seconds left and the Quakers down by one point, a steal by the Hawks' Duval Simmonds on a pass from Penn guard Michael Jordan to forward Paul Romanczuk sealed St. Joe's victory. "We didn't close the game out very well down the stretch," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "They made a couple of big baskets. When it comes crunch time, the team that wants it the most is the victor. Hopefully we are really wanting it these days." The same team went on to win the Atlantic 10 Championship, as well as advance all the way to the sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. After defeating Pacific and Boston College, the Hawks fell 83-68 to Kentucky, the eventual runner-up in the tournament. A trip back to the tournament for this year's St. Joe's squad seems unlikely. Even with the stellar play of senior guard Rashid Bey, the Hawks have not been as effective as last season because of their lack of depth. Freshman Frank Wilkins and sophomore Tim Brown have been the only two regular bench players for St. Joe's this season. A reason for the small size of their bench is the absence of guard Yah Davis. Due to academic reasons, St. Joe's has spent the season without the sophomore, their second leading scorer from last season. Under the basket the Hawks have been able to make up for the loss of 1996-97 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the year, 6'7" forward Dmitri Domani, and 6'10", Nemanja Petrovic. St. Joe's three 6'8" big men, Robert Haskins (11.1 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game), Simmonds (10.3 ppg., 4.7 rpg.) and Harold Rasul (9.8 ppg., 8.1 rpg.) have played well this season. In tomorrow night's game against the Quakers, one of the top guards in college basketball will be on display. Bey has been leading the Atlantic 10 Conference with 18.9 points per game. Saving his best for close games, Bey led all players in last year's battle with 18 points. "Bey is the best guard I will face this season," Jordan said. "It is a great challenge to come out and play against one of the greatest point guards in the country. He is quick. He handles the ball really well. He has worked on his jump shot, so he is shooting the ball a lot better than he was previously." Playing against Bey during the summer, Jordan would like to prevent a repeat of last year. "I am going to try to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible," Jordan said. "My job is to give him as much of a headache as I can and make him take bad shots. This is for bragging rights in the summer." Being a Big 5 game, the contest is expected to draw one of the biggest crowds this year to the Palestra. "Any time we play a team from the city we want to go out and beat them," Kreitz said. "St. Joe's is still a great team. We are going to have a tough game and are going to have to play our best to beat them." Putting conference play aside, this week has been Penn's opportunity to demonstrate their ability at home against city rivals. For those who remember last year's game, this year's Penn-St. Joe's game has the billing to be at least as exciting.
Penn men's basketball will play Drexel tonight in front of a Palestra crowd filled with Dragons and Quakers fans. If someone unfamiliar with college basketball stands at the corner of 33rd and Walnut streets tomorrow and witnesses 2,000 Drexel fans march from the Drexel campus to the Palestra, he would understand why most people agree that Philadelphia is the country's home for college basketball. Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Palestra will resume its role as the home of college basketball in Philadelphia when Penn (6-8) hosts Drexel (6-8). After a close 58-52 loss last year to Drexel at the Palestra, Quakers coach Fran Dunphy feels this year's game will be just as exciting. "The Palestra is truly the finest college basketball atmosphere that anybody can find themselves in," Dunphy said. "Drexel is a well coached, pretty good basketball team that is ready to play." Although not a member of Philadelphia's Big 5 association, the Dragons have been one of the most successful teams over the past five years in the city of brotherly love. During that timespan, Drexel's coach Bill Herrion helped his team to more than 20 wins each season, earned three trips to the NCAA tournament and one birth in the National Invitational Tournament. "I have great respect for Bill," Dunphy said. "I have learned a lot from watching his teams. I try to study as much as I can about how teams close out games and prepare for games. I think I have learned a lot from Bill in that regard." Herrion still feels honored that Penn, St. Jos0eph's and La Salle have added the Dragons to their schedule in the past few years. Previous to last years meeting at the Palestra, the Quakers and Dragons had not met in the regular season for 68 years. "We tell our kids that this is a great opportunity," Herrion said. "You cannot put a price tag on a victory over a Big 5 team." Against inner city opponents this year, Penn is 0-1 with a 67-58 loss to Temple, and Drexel is 1-0 with a 75-70 victory over La Salle. Penn still has St. Joe's and La Salle left on its schedule, while Drexel plays St. Joe's next month. Playing Philadelphia teams during the regular season is something that the Quakers enjoy. Forward Paul Romanczuk and guards Matt Langel, Michael Jordan and Lamar Plummer are products of Philadelphia area basketball. "For the local guys that grew up in the area, it is something special," Langel said. "You grow up and you watch the Big 5. I remember my father bringing me over to the Palestra and watching a Big 5 game when I was younger." Romanczuk also remembers coming to many Big 5 and Drexel games during his childhood. His father, Doug, played basketball for Drexel from 1972-76. "As a youngster watching the Big 5 games, I know that these are very important games that the fans get up for," Romanczuk said. "In my mind this is as important as an Ivy League game." Along with being from the area, the Penn players also play summer basketball in Philly, including games against Drexel's players. Langel listed Drexel's Greg Gaffney, Bryant Coursey and Mike DeRocckis as those that he plays against and with all year long in Philadelphia. "Most of the guys from Drexel are from the area," Langel said. "You are playing for bragging rights." Drexel, a member of the America East Conference, has lost five out of their last six, including a 1-1 roadtrip this past weekend in Boston. After ending their four game losing streak with a 70-58 win against Northeastern, the Dragons lost to Boston University, 69-62, two days later. With a multitude of close losses, including a 58-56 heart-breaker against Princeton the day after Christmas, Herrion and the Drexel team are feeling the frustration and trying to learn from it. "This year through 14 games has probably been the biggest learning experience in my young coaching career," Herrion said. "I am learning about how to communicate with my players better." Herrion, trying not to denounce the ability of his team, also explains that Drexels' lack of success has come from their inexperience. The Dragons are a team without any seniors, four juniors and lack of leadership. "We are young," Herrion said. "I am not saying that as an excuse, but we are young. You cannot put a price tag on what veterans mean to your basketball team. We have got kids going through things for the first time." Scoring a career high 27 points in the loss to BU, 6'9" sophomore Joe Linderman has been the star of the Dragons this season. The 1996-97 America East Rookie of the Year has averaged 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. "He is only 14 games into his sophomore year, but he has obviously proven that he is a good basketball player," Herrion said. "A lot of programs at our level don't have a legitimate inside guy -- that is what he does and that is what he brings to the table." The Quakers will use a combination of forwards Jed Ryan, George Mboya, Josh Sanger and Romanczuk. Penn will also have to watch Drexel's 6'2" junior guard Mike DeRocckis, averaging 15 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. The Penn men's basketball team comes into the game with a two game winning streak. The Quakers, prepared to revenge their loss to Drexel last season, defeated Lafayette and Bucknell last week. "We are happy that we won two games straight, but obviously we are not content with that," Romanczuk said. "In our minds we think that we can win out the rest of our games."
Michael Jordan will be called upon to hold Bucknell's leading scorer J.R. Holden in check for the Quakers. This Saturday, the Penn men's basketball team will try to do something they have not been able to do all season long -- win two games in a row. The Quakers (5-8) will get their chance as they face Bucknell (6-9) at Pottsville, Penn., for the first time in over 20 years. With a 74-68 victory against Lafayette Monday, the Quakers started the spring semester on a positive note. Playing through a grueling non-conference schedule, the Quakers have had a difficult time to this point building confidence and consistency. "It has been frustrating," Penn forward Jed Ryan said. "We have lost a lot of close games. Right now we are just trying to find a way to win. It is important that we go down to Bucknell and play well. If we can win a couple games, things will become positive as we go." Although receiving their first Ivy League loss only two games into the conference season, the team seems very optimistic about the rest of their season. Knowing they are probably going to have to beat the 12th ranked Princeton Tigers twice, the Quakers spirits are still up. "We can still win the league with one loss," junior forward Frank Brown said. "All we have to do is win the rest of our games, and that is our goal." The Quakers, in the middle of a brief non-conference stretch, are hoping to get out the final kinks before making their stretch run at the Ivy League crown. Along with two Patriot League teams, Penn will play inter-city rivals Drexel and St. Joseph's at the Palestra in the upcoming week. Although losing to Bucknell 66-64, revenge does not seem to be the key motivation for the Quakers, as that game was played December 3, 1975. This season, the Bison have had little success against the Ivy League, losing to Brown by two points and to Princeton by 12. Bucknell did earn one Ancient Eight victory, but it was against 2-10 Cornell. Coincidently, the Bison are also coming off a 91-77 victory against Lafayette Wednesday. Guards J.R. Holden and Martin Gilliard had impressive games for Bucknell. Holden scored 22 points and added four assists, while Gilliard scored 23 points and led the team with 9 rebounds. As they were in the Lafayette game, the Bison will again be led by senior guard Holden, who is averaging 17.9 points and 3.7 assists per game. The assignment of containing Holden's explosiveness belongs to point guard Michael Jordan. "Holden has good speed, good quickness, can make the jumper and can make plays," Penn basketball coach Fran Dunphy said. "Michael will probably match to him often. Mike has the speed and quickness to stay with him. That doesn't mean he is going to shut him down, but hopefully we can minimize what J.R. can do." On paper the size match-up should not be that great of a disadvantage for Penn. Under the basket, 6-7 Croatian forward Valter Karavanic and 6-8 forward Dan Bowen have had a combined average of 17.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Also seeing time in the game will be 6-10 centers Tom Hauser and Terence Skyrm, who have not been out on the court much this year. "I think their overall size is much better than ours," Dunphy said. "I am not going to dispute the fact that they are big. I think they are big, but so is every team that we play against. It is no big deal. We will just have to play." In the upcoming game, guard Lamar Plummer and forwards Josh Sanger and Jeff Goldstein should have opportunities to increase their playing time. Dunphy was impressed with Sanger's play in the Lafayette game and admires Goldstein's work ethic and dedication to the team. In placing more effort on his defensive game, Dunphy believes Plummer is coming around in the right direction. Although the Quakers showed inconsistency throughout most of their non-conference games this season, they have been able to bring it together thus far in their two previous games against Patriot league opponents. With a two-point win against Lehigh and the close win against Lafayette, the Quakers are hoping to make it a clean sweep Saturday. "We played Lehigh, and the game went down to the wire," Dunphy said. "We played Lafayette and the game went down to the wire. I am assuming that we are going to play Bucknell, and the game will go right down to the wire."
Following a respectable showing in the Franklin National Bank Classic this past weekend, the Penn men's basketball team will continue to be shown in highlights on ESPN's SportsCenter as they play several high-caliber teams over the holiday break. With a tournament in California, a game against a city rival and the beginning of the Ivy League season, the break will be everything but relaxing for the Quakers. Their only break from basketball is during reading days and finals, during which no official practices are scheduled. "This break sometimes almost separates the seasons," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We are off three full weeks without playing games, so it doesn't help us a great deal. Hopefully the kids will use this opportunity now to recharge their batteries a little bit." Heading for a warmer climate, Penn travels across the country to San Francisco, Calif., for the Cable Car Classic from December 29-30. Their first-round game is against Santa Clara, a team remembered for upsetting then No. 2 seeded Arizona in the 1993 NCAA Tournament, 64-61. Opening the season with a 99-73 loss to Kansas, the Broncos have not lost since and are currently 4-1. Similar to the Quakers, Santa Clara is dominated by perimeter play. A member of the West Coast Conference, the Broncos are led in scoring by guards Brian Jones, Lloyd Pierce and Craig Johnson. Following the first round game, Penn will either take on No. 10 ranked Stanford (5-0) or Rhode Island (4-1). The Stanford-Rhode Island game will be filled with controversy as first-year Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick's team will take the court opposite Stanford freshmen Jason and Jarron Collins. Last year, Harrick lost his job as head coach of the UCLA basketball team in part because he illegally attempted to recruit the Collins twins. After losing current Cleveland Cavalier starting point guard Brevin Knight to graduation, Stanford, led by forward Mark Madsen (17.0 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game) and guard Arthur Lee (12.4 ppg., 4.0 assists per game), has continued to be one of the more dominant teams in the Pac-10. A member of the Atlantic 10, Rhode Island is led by guards Cuttino Mobley (18.0 ppg., 4.5 rpg.) and Tyson Wheeler (15.5 ppg., 4.3 apg.). Under the basket, the Rams offer 1995-96 Atlantic 10 rookie of the year 6-7 forward Antonio Reynolds-Dean (12.5 ppg., 5.5 rpg). Five days after the New Year, the Quakers will get their first peak at Temple's new 10,205 seat Apollo of Temple Stadium. The No. 20 Temple Owls (5-1) christened the new arena Tuesday night against No. 18 ranked Fresno St. (3-2) and won big, 76-61. The Penn-Temple match-up will be the fifth in the new arena and Penn's first Big 5 contest this year. "We are really excited about playing in the new stadium," Dunphy said. "I think it is good for college basketball, for the city of Philadelphia and most importantly for Temple University." With a dynamic guard tandem of Philadelphia native Rasheed Brokenborough (11.4 ppg, 2.4 apg.) and Argentine Pepe Sanchez (9.0 ppg., 4.6 apg.), Penn guards Michael Jordan and Garret Kreitz will have their hands full. With Brokenborough hitting only 22 percent of his attempts from behind the 3-point arc, the Quakers plan to focus more on Temple's frontcourt stars, Lamont Barnes (12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg.) and Lynard Stewart (7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg). The plan to play physical under the basket should be an advantage to Penn as Barnes is only .500 at the foul line. "They have good balance," Dunphy said. "Barnes and Stewart inside present as much of a problem for us as the guards do." Following the Temple game, Penn will begin their transition into the Ivy League season. After a disappointing 9-5 record last year in the Ancient Eight, the Quakers know they will have to play sharp to have a chance to win the Ivy League crown. The January 9-10 weekend march into New England is expected to be a successful one for Penn, as Brown (2-6) and Yale (1-5) have shown little resistance to opponents. "They will be absolutely ready to play us that weekend," Dunphy said. "Hopefully we will start to play our best basketball at that point. Our final goal is to go undefeated in Ivy League basketball." If the Quakers enter the games with the same confidence that affected last year's team, the outcome could be a rude awakening. The last time Penn played Yale, the Elis came back to defeat the Quakers, 60-58, at the Palestra. During the three-week hiatus from classes, the Penn men's basketball team will have enough to keep them busy on the court. Although playing high-caliber teams gives Penn a chance to be in the national spotlight, the Ivy League holds Penn's chance of making it to the tournament in March. "We have our hands full, but we are looking forward to it," Dunphy said.
Penn took the field against Cornell Saturday in a fight over one thing: pride. Although their records would have been an easy excuse for either team to go through the motions, neither team did. Instead, the Quakers' 33-20 win against the Big Red was one of their toughest of the season. The season-closing victory at Franklin Field allowed the Quakers (6-4, 5-2 Ivy League) to avoid a second straight 5-5 season and avenge last season's 24-21 loss in Ithaca, N.Y. Penn was eliminated from the title hunt last week by Harvard, which completed its first perfect 7-0 league campaign with a 17-7 triumph over Yale. Joe Piela was the Quakers' inspirational leader on a cloudy day which attracted only 5,918 to Franklin Field. Piela started the scoring with a 74-yard punt return midway through the first quarter. Piela started slowly, cut right and then freshman defensive end Brian Person threw a levelling block on a pair of Cornell (5-5, 4-3) pursuing coverage players. Piela broke down the right sideline with only one man to beat. "He did get a piece of me," Piela said. "He got me on the three- or four-yard line. I dove and he hit the back of my foot, but there was no way I was not going to score after running that far." Up 20-13 almost five minutes into the fourth quarter, Piela lined up across from Cornell's explosive wide receiver Eric Krawczyk. Piela stepped between Krawczyk and Cornell quarterback Scott Carroll's out pass and then coasted 25 yards down the left side for his second touchdown of the game, his third of the season. Prior to Piela's punt return, both team's fourth-down units spelled trouble. Punting from Penn's 42 yard line, Cornell's punter was forced to fall down on the ball at his own 21 yard line after watching the snap sail over his head. The 37 yards lost on the play did not hurt as Penn's Jeremiah Greathouse missed the ensuing 32-yard field goal. After getting its special team units in order, Cornell settled down and controlled the play of game in the first half. Doubling Penn's time of possession, the Big Red had little problem moving the ball. Passing on eight of 10 plays in Cornell's drive after the Piela's score, Carroll methodically led the Big Red down the field. The key play of the drive was also the final play of the drive. On fourth-and-four from Penn's 24-yard line, Carroll lofted a pass to Krawczyk near the goal line on the left side. Penn defensive backs John Bishop and Larrin Robertson circled around the receiver, but Krawczyk was in position to make an easy grab for the score. For only 38 seconds in the second quarter, Penn showed the fans its offensive capability. After a 31-yard field goal by Cornell's John McCombs gave the Big Red its only lead at 10-7, the Quakers moved the ball 61 yards in three plays, mostly by tailback Jim Finn. The drive consisted of a 19-yard run by Finn, a 20-yard pass from Penn quarterback Matt Rader to wide receiver Doug O'Neil and Finn's 22-yard draw for the touchdown. "I was not running the ball well," said Finn, who finished with 140 yards on 25 carries. "I wasn't running hard. I was making the decision too quick, and I don't run well like that. [Penn offensive coordinator Chuck] Priore pulled me aside during the game and told me I have to run the way I can run." With two Greathouse field goals and Piela's interception return, Penn took a 27-13 lead with 10:31 left in the game. Cornell backup quarterback Mike Hood's maneuverability wore through Penn at the end, allowing the Big Red to score a touchdown on a seven-yard Hood-to-Krawczyk pass with just over seven minutes left to play, making the score, 27-20. "Definitely when Hood is in the game you have to take a whole different approach to the pass rush," said Penn defensive end Doug Zinser, who forced and recovered a fumble on a sack of Carroll in the third quarter. "You have to keep one eye on him and one eye on the lineman you are trying to beat. It slows you down when there is a guy running out of the pocket." Finn finished the scoring, carrying the ball six times for 65 yards in an eight-play, 73-yard drive. Although Greathouse missed the extra point, the 33-20 lead with 2:52 to play was insurmountable. The sole highlight for Cornell was Krawczyk who finished the game with 13 receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Krawczyk finished the season with 89 balls for 1042 yards and 11 touchdowns. During the game the Quakers changed punters. After playing the season with Jeff Salvino, Bagnoli sent in Rader to try a few, with the mentality that he had booted a couple of punts last year at Duke. Rader punted five times for 166 yards, (33.2 per punt) including three inside the 20-yard line.
The Crimson put the clamps on Jim Finn, Matt Rader and the rest of the Penn offense. BOSTON -- Before Harvard lined up against the visiting Quakers this past weekend, the attention focused on how the Ivy League's top-ranked Crimson offense would fare against the top-ranked Penn defense. As the game unfolded, Harvard's defensive dominance over Penn's non-existent offense ended up telling the story. In their previous eight games of the season, the Quakers were 5-0 when they scored over 20 points. With the addition of Jim Finn in the middle of the season, they had added a solid running game to quarterback Matt Rader's third-highest Ivy League passing efficiency. Combined with the matchup being Penn's first chance since the first game of the season to take a share of the Ivy League lead, Penn coach Al Bagnoli could not believe the way the Quakers offense crumbled under the pressure and harsh weather conditions in losing, 33-0. "We didn't anticipate this kind of outcome," Bagnoli said. "We thought it would be a much more competitive game. We were disappointed. It certainly was not a pretty game for us in any sense of the word." In making only one first down and netting only seven yards in their first six possessions, the Quakers realized things were not clicking. In the first 20 minutes of the game, Rader was ice-cold, completing two of his first six passes for 15 yards. On several of those passes, Rader was not getting the ball in the vicinity of his receivers, including third-down passes thrown well behind Penn wideouts David Rogers and Brandon Carson. "It was hard to throw out there today," Rader said. "For whatever reasons, the footing or the receivers, it was tough, but we still should have been able to execute." Down 14-0 halfway through the second quarter, the Quakers temporarily established their offense. By isolating Finn in the flat on short passing routes, the Quakers crossed midfield. The Crimson eventually realized the pattern and caused Finn to cough up a crucial pass on fourth-and-five on the Crimson 33-yard line. Among the collisions, Harvard's right cornerback Glenn Jackson picked up the bobbled ball and returned the interception for a 67-yard touchdown. "We were trying to do everything we could," Bagnoli said. "Unfortunately, they had answers for everything. We just did not do a good job of making third and making some fourth-down plays. We had some opportunities and did not take advantage of any of them." In the second half, Tom MacLeod replaced Rader, who had the wind knocked out of him in the second quarter, for a few series in hope of creating a spark. Passes right to the receivers' hands were still carelessly dropped. "We didn't get anything started all day," Rader said. "It was a struggle all day long? We knew they had a great defensive line, and they showed it all day. The other defense totally dominated us." For the majority of the game, Penn's failed air attack came as a result of Harvard's stellar play on the line and in the backfield. Administering six sacks on Rader and MacLeod for a loss of 37 yards, the Harvard defense made both quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. The restlessness in finding an open receiver led to three interceptions. "Anytime you get pressure on their quarterback, it is frustrating," said Harvard's defensive end Chris Smith, who broke Harvard's career sack record with 1.5 against Penn. "It turned out with their style of play the quarterback jumped up into the pocket and gave us opportunities to close that pocket and get some pressure on him. What really made the difference was that our defensive backs and our outside linebackers were able to get such coverage that he could not get that first pass off right away. He had to look at his alternate receivers." Throughout the game, Penn's rushing offense slumped. A team that had averaged 143 yards on the ground per game since instituting Finn as a full-time back in the Columbia game, netted its lowest of the season, 25 yards. In his first start, Finn tallied his worst rushing game (23 carries for 61 yards) since being moved to the offense full-time. Although Finn did gain 88 all-purpose yards, Harvard minimized Finn's impact. "We changed up our defense a little bit this week," Smith said. "We moved the ends out. We were prepared for their outside zoning and their slant plays. They did not show anything that surprised us." The 33-0 loss was Bagnoli's worst and his first shutout in his six years at Penn. For Harvard coach Tim Murphy, it was his day to enjoy. With his top ranked Ivy League offense he now can add to it his top ranked Ivy League defense, a defense he felt had been underrated all year long. "The bottom line is that we did not need 33 points to win the football game today," Murphy said. "That is how well our defense played. It was one of those days where things went our way because we played so hard."
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 for 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). It sets up a showdown with Ivy League leader Harvard Saturday in Cambridge, Mass. "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." In ironic fashion, Sierk's 46-yard miss was his first this season in 15 attempts. Even with the game on the line in undesirable weather conditions, Sierk contends he felt little pressure. "Right before the kick I felt I was going to make it just like the other ones," Sierk said. "I was surprised by the block. We had not been blocked all year. We have a great offensive line and a great holder." 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. One was a 78-yard romp which Burnham capped off with a 13-yard touchdown run. "He is a lot more of a scrambler," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "We were practicing more for the drop-back game of Nakielny. All of a sudden this kid is running around on the corner. I give him a lot of credit. He came in and made some nice throws, showed some composure, and went to his second and third read. He made a lot of plays for them." Allowing Burnham to complete passes across the field, the Quakers were surprised by the talent of the inexperienced quarterback. Burnham finished 9-for-20 with 166 yards and an interception. "They were second-containing all game," Burnham said. "It opened up the back side?. I knew going in there in the beginning of the second half that we could drive the ball and score on them." Penn's defense stood strong in the trenches, allowing only six net yards rushing in the game. In the Tigers' last series, after Burnham completed a 21-yard pass to Philip Wendler on third-and-13, the Quakers' defensive line, led by Doug Zinser, stuffed Princeton running back Gerry Giurato for a two-yard gain. On the next play, Burnham's two fake handoffs did not draw any curiosity out of Penn's Mitch Marrow, who tackled the Tigers quarterback on a rollout to the left. Marrow finished with his best game of the season racking up six tackles, three tackles for a loss of 34 yards, including two sacks and a forced fumble. On third-and-seven, the Penn secondary kept it together, forcing Burnham to throw the ball away. Princeton was forced to try Sierk's luck at the 46-yard field goal. 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 running sweeps to the outside, Finn found himself on many opportunities only one step away from making the big play. In the middle of the third quarter, Finn broke down the right side for a 57-yard gain. Princeton defensive back Tom Ludwig saved the touchdown. "They came in with a few different stunts," Finn said. "It took us time to adjust. I made a lot of wrong reads earlier in the game. The line made these holes. I had to run through them, they were so wide." On that same drive, Penn quarterback Matt Rader used his athletic ability, carrying the ball into the end zone five yards on a bootleg to the right side. Rader was jarred several times on the play, causing a concussion. Up to that point, the junior transfer from Duke was 10-for-19 for 139 yards and one interception. Rader was brought to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was immediately released. He is listed as day-to-day, but is expected to get the starting nod versus Harvard. 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. "When you are up by that score and you're at home and you're getting the ball, you think you are in a pretty good situation," Bagnoli said. "We probably had a negative-20 on the first drive. We had to punt from our own four. We were punting into a wind. Before you know it the whole third quarter is spent in our territory." Although the Quakers' offense hit a lull with MacLeod in at quarterback, the team felt comfortable with 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 field. We weren't worried at all." Penn held a 10-0 halftime edge. Greathouse opened the scoring with a 44-yard field goal in the first quarter. Finn scored his ninth touchdown in four games early in the second quarter, a one-yard dive over the top.
The 1997 Penn men's soccer team will walk onto Rhodes Field for the last time this season tomorrow. For four players, it will be their last game as Quakers. Brad Copeland, Read Goodwin, Marc Schwartz and Jason Smoke will get in their parting shots as Penn (4-11-1, 1-5 Ivy League) hosts Princeton (6-8-1, 1-3-1), a team none of the seniors have ever defeated. "By far, they are my least favorite Ivy team to play against," said Copeland, a defender. "I don't know why. For some reason, they rub me the wrong way. After the way we got it rubbed in our faces last year in the last game, I would like to return the favor for my send-off." During their four years on the Penn men's soccer team, the four seniors' combined record is 23-36-4 with a 8-18-1 record in the Ivy League. From cellar dwellers to contenders and back, Copeland, Goodwin, Schwartz and Smoke have battled through rough times and good times. Copeland and Goodwin felt the team lacked intensity and the will to win their first two years. With the addition of the current sophomore class, both have enjoyed the turnaround, including an eight-game undefeated stretch last season and a second-place finish in the Ivy League. "Last year no one knew what to expect of us," Goodwin said. "We lost eight or nine guys and had a bunch of freshmen coming in. It is amazing the job they did to step up. All of a sudden things started to come together. We weren't afraid of anyone. We were going up against teams ranked in the top 10 and beating them." During his four years as a Quaker, Copeland feels he has taken a lot from his experiences. With the disappointing results of this year's team, Copeland has learned to take everything is stride. After graduation, Copeland is going to marry Eden Houser, a 1997 Penn graduate, in July. After attending seminary school in Philadelphia and St. Louis, Copeland plans to become a minister. "A lot of the experiences I have had on the field has taught me how to deal with adversity, especially this year when things have not been going the way you expected them," Copeland said. "It teaches you to try to persevere through things that are not always pleasant." Goodwin's collegiate play differed from the others, as he started his soccer quest at the University of Virginia. Goodwin left the Cavaliers, the nation's premier program, hoping to receive more playing time as a Quaker. During his time at Penn, Goodwin has developed into a midfielder capable of leading an 11-man team on the field. "Read is very comfortable on the ball," Penn coach George O'Neill said. "He is very difficult to push off the ball. He is more of a player that can hold the ball and set the tone of the game and the pace of the game." Scoring five goals and assisting on six others, Goodwin had the option of coming back this year as a fifth-year senior. Unsure of his future, Goodwin is happy that he stayed around and decided to play soccer at Penn. "This is a great group of guys," Goodwin said. "It is one of the closest teams I have ever been on. Yeah, you would like to win, but in the end that is what is important... to be able to play a sport is so cool in college. I was not able to play at UVA. It was a good move coming here. Although the records have not been that great besides last year, it is still an amazing experience." Both Marc Schwartz and Jason Smoke have seen their playing time increase dramatically during the past few years. Playing defender and forward respectively, Schwartz and Smoke have added solid play and leadership to the team and are highly regarded by their peers and coach. "Schwartz has become a very strong player," Copeland said. "He has always been a strong player, but in the last two years his confidence has gone up. It has been a privilege to get to know him and to be able to play on the field with him." "Unfortunately Jason Smoke was in great shape when he came in this year and hurt his knee," O'Neill said. "When he is on the field he does the best he can... He is a funny guy. He says funny stuff on the bench and keeps everybody laughing." As for the Princeton game, it will be emotional as the seniors try to end on a positive note. The Quakers are also especially bitter after the Tigers ended Penn's six-game winning streak last season in a 5-1 loss. Ending with a win against their biggest rivals and most elusive opponent would be a moment of joy on what has been a disappointing season for the Quakers.
Penn's defense has been the constant bright spot in a down and up season. Last Saturday, the Penn defense stood iron-strong in their 26-7 win against Yale, not allowing a single point. All season long, the Quakers "D" has devoured opposing Ancient Eight offenses. Only three Ivy League touchdowns have been scored while the Quakers defense was on the field. The Penn defense is tops in the league, allowing 265 total yards per game, and is second in giving up an average of only 15 points a showing. This stellar defense has yet to play one full game without having to change around the the first string personnel. With defensive tackle Mitch Marrow's sickness and safety Jim Finn's switch to the offensive side, the Quakers' defense has been able to keep it together when it comes to league games. "We thought our defense was going to be pretty good," Bagnoli said. "We still would be pretty good without Mitch, but I think once you get Mitch in there it becomes better than pretty good. We are getting good play from a lot of people." · With the changes on defense, many new faces have come to life. Out of the emerging younger stars is sophomore linebacker James Hisgen. Filling in for the injured senior linebacker Tim Gage, Hisgen's playing time has dramatically increased the last few games along with his productivity. "You had the sense that he had a presence out there," Bagnoli said. "We are really happy with the way he is coming along, only being a sophomore. He gives us some quality depth at linebacker, good special teams player, and someone that I think has a bright future here." Against the Elis, Hisgen and the Quakers rendered only 81 rushing yards and 29 yards through the air. Individually, Hisgen had six solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and a fumble recovery in the third quarter. "I have been trying to give everything and make plays when I get the chance," Hisgen said. "I wanted to make sure the other team did not get many yards or come up with a big play." Hisgen felt that the weather also played a role in diminishing Yale's offense. "In the beginning of the game, it was not that bad, because [the field] was soaked," Hisgen said. "As the game rolled on, it was just mud in the middle of the field, and it was hard to get traction. It did not really affect us, but they were fumbling and dropping balls." With Gage healthy, Bagnoli has a dilemma most coaches would enjoy having to be stuck with. The Penn coach will wait a few more days before deciding on the starter for Saturday's homecoming game against Princeton. NFL prospect Mitch Marrow finally recorded his first sack of the season against Yale. With his presence in the lineup after a bout with a "mono-like" virus, the Quakers defense should be set to make their stretch run. "He creates opportunities that haven't been there," Bagnoli said. "You have to scheme for what Mitch can do and where he lines up. You have to be conscious of where he is, and consequently it opens up some opportunities for other kids on the defensive line." · Jim Finn's performance of 187 rushing yards in 21 attempts and two touchdowns vaulted him to the top of many statistical categories in the Ivy League. Finn's 60 points, an average of 8.57, ties Brown wide receiver Sean Morey for the league lead. The other league leaders have played four Ivy League games, but in just three games as a full-time running back Finn is already fifth in the Ivies with 454 yards on the ground with a league best 6.1 yards per carry. Even with these remarkable figures, Bagnoli still wants to share the load between Finn and running backs Jason McGee and Melvin Alexander. "We have never had just one guy," Bagnoli said. "There are just too many carries in a game for one person. We are really happy with Jim's production. Jason McGee has shown some good flashes. It will be those two basically, and if we can get Melvin a carry or two, we will try to do that as well." · Doug Zinser capped off another excellent game with six solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Included in those takedowns are three tackles for a combined loss of 15 yards and a half-sack in the fourth quarter for a loss of four yards. Zinser, for superstitious reason, declined to comment about his performance. · With Dartmouth's 27-0 loss to Harvard over the weekend, Penn now has the luxury of controlling their own destiny despite the fact that Harvard (6-1, 4-0) currently has sole possession of first place in the Ivies. If the Quakers are victorious in their November 15 trip to Cambridge, Mass., however, a three-way, first-place tie will exist between Penn, Harvard, and Dartmouth -- assuming those teams all win this coming week. In crowning the Ivy League champion(s), tie breakers do not exist.
After a slow start caused by an injury to his ankle, Penn junior forward Morgan Blackwell has come on strong of late. Scoring three goals in the past three games, in which the Quakers have gone 1-1-1, Blackwell's resurgence has helped spark the Quakers. As the only Quaker to score in the first seven games last year, the beginning of this season was frustrating for Blackwell, who scored his first goal 12 games into the season. The 1997 junior captain led last year's team with six goals and earned honorable mention All-Ivy honors. After twisting his ankle in the September 17 La Salle game, Blackwell's level of play decreased dramatically. The injury not only affected him physically, but also mentally. "The injury deterred my confidence," Blackwell said. "I was always out there nervous of how my body was going to do in all of those situations." Although he felt he was letting the team down, Blackwell knew everyone was behind him. "The team is always real supportive," Blackwell said. "Everyone works for each other. If I don't play, or I am injured I have no doubt the rest of the team can do the job just as well without me." Penn coach George O'Neill tried to boost Blackwell's confidence in the first month of the season. O'Neill continually reminded him to take the shot if he had the opportunity and not to be afraid to miss. The Penn coach is pleased in Blackwell's turnaround, knowing his exceptional capabilities. "Morgan is an exciting type of player, because he is so explosive with his speed," O'Neill said. "He has a quick pace and very quick feet. When he gets up to somebody, he can make a few moves and knock it right by." While Blackwell's injury limited his scoring in the beginning of the season, fellow junior forward Steve Cohen emerged and carried the offensive load for the Quakers. With both Cohen and Blackwell healthy up top, O'Neill feels that the team will benefit the rest of this year and beyond. As for the Quakers' disappointing 4-9-1 record (1-4 Ivy League), Blackwell feels the team's attitude was a factor. "We had more heart last year than we do this year," Blackwell said. "We won those first two games [this season]. After that we got the feeling we were unbeatable and would win no matter what. That hurt us, because like last weekend [against Brown], we went up two goals and gave them away afterwards." This weekend Penn heads to New Haven, Conn., to face the Elis. Still in the Ivy League hunt, Yale (8-4-1, 2-1-1) is led by midfielder Hiro Suzuki, midfielder Craig Yacks and forward Jac Gould. Unlike Yale, the Quakers are out of the hunt. Even in their situation, Blackwell feels the games remaining are useful for the team. "The main thing is to keep our morale up, keep trying as hard as we can, and work on things that are going to be valuable for us next year," Blackwell said. Blackwell came into the season with great expectations. After playing through a month on an injured ankle, the Penn forward has found the back of the net and regained his confidence. With only a few games remaining, Blackwell and the Quakers are planning to make the most of it.
The Penn men's soccer team lack of production definitely cannot be traced to new people up front. The Penn men's soccer team came into the 1997 season as an experienced squad that had much higher expectations than any previous year. Unfortunately for the Quakers, too much time has been spent in trying to find out why those expectations have not been fulfilled. Although hundreds of plays make up one game, the ultimate factor in a game is the score. This year, the 4-8 Quakers have been outscored 19-12, including being shut out five times. With all 11 starters back from last year, Penn felt in the beginning of the season that it would continue the play it ended with last season. Except for their 5-1 loss at Princeton at the end of 1996, the Quakers scored 21 in comparison to their opponents' six during Penn's eight-game undefeated streak. One reason for the turnaround has been the change of leadership in the offense. Last season as sophomores, Morgan Blackwell and Greg Kroll led the team in goals with six and five, respectively. With Kroll leaving the team and Blackwell's injury earlier in the year, the team has had to make many changes. In the early going, Steve Cohen stepped up, earning Ivy Player of the Week honors in September with game-winners against Harvard and La Salle. Cohen currently leads the team with five goals. The Quakers feel their poor results have come from bad breaks and lapses of concentration. They feel the opportunities have been there, but they have not been capitalizing on them. "These boys are trying to score every time they go into the park," Penn coach George O'Neill said. "They are either not taking their opportunities when they should, or the goalkeepers are saving them." "I think the difference between scoring a bunch of goals and no goals is very small," Ted Lehman said. "You step it up by one or two notches and beat that man by a half of a step or happen to be in the right spot." In trying to correct its lack of output, the Quakers have moved many players into and out of the forward position. Defender Ted Lehman has also seen time on the offensive end, including when he hit the game-winner against Delaware last Wednesday. In using a formation that consists of two forwards, midfielders have also been trying to apply more pressure on the offensive end. "Your goal is to create as many opportunities as possible and to take advantage of those opportunities," Lehman said. "We're not interested in playing the ball up to the six-yard line so we can stick one in. If you have one step on your defender at the 25, then pull the trigger? We have worked a lot on moving the ball up the sidelines and having low driven balls across the box and bringing bodies in." Penn forward Matt Huebner does not feel the offense should receive the entire blame. "I don't think you can totally blame one part of the team," Huebner said. "Overall, as a team, we are not right now playing with the enthusiasm that we had last year. As a result we have not had offensive productivity or defensive for that matter." Although it would be easy for O'Neill to point fingers at particular players, the Penn coach feels the team needs to focus better and get its confidence levels back up. "It's all about their concentration," O'Neill said. "It's all about getting mentally ready for the game. You have to be mentally ready when you get out in the park and are moving the ball around." Penn feels they have been able to compete with every team they have played this year, but the score has been the bottom line. "We can play with and can beat any team we stop on the field with," Lehman said. "The fact is that we did not step up and do it. You can talk all day long about what could have been and should have been, but when it comes down to it, you have to be able to step onto the field and do it." With a 2-0 victory against St. Joseph's, the Quakers have shown they are not going to put the season to rest quite yet. "We are playing for ourselves to prove to ourselves that we could have had a good season," Huebner said. "There is no question about the ability of the team. We don't have much to lose."
Over the past week, the Penn men's soccer team battled through diversity. After suffering one of its toughest losses against Cornell on Sunday, the Quakers came back to defeat Delaware, 1-0, on Wednesday. The victory ended Penn's seven-game losing streak, rekindling the Quakers' morale. On Saturday, Penn will try to end its two-game Ivy League losing skid as they play Columbia in New York. Against the Big Red, Penn (3-7, 1-2 Ivy League) took the initial lead late in the first half on a Steve Cohen goal. Cornell fought back and forward Rudy Lawrence scored the equalizing goal less than 10 minutes into the second half. Both Penn and Cornell had opportunities to win the game in regulation. In the second half, the Big Red had a breakaway broken up by Penn goalkeeper Michael O'Connor, who had seven saves in the game. With the score tied at one after regulation, the game proceeded to sudden-death overtime. Cornell (5-2-2, 1-1) made the crucial blow as Brian Murray scored the winning goal on an 18-yard strike, just over three minutes into overtime. It was the first Ivy League victory this year for the Big Red. "It was frustrating," O'Connor said. "We were all up for this game. We were really hoping for this to be the turnaround." On Wednesday, the Quakers roared out of the gates against Delaware. Less than nine minutes into the game, Penn midfielder Read Goodwin crossed the ball to Ted Lehman, who volleyed it into the right side of the net. For the rest of the game, the Quakers were able to dominate most of the play but could not capitalize on any other offensive strikes. "Ted Lehman had a tremendous shot from a magnificent pass from Read Goodwin," Penn coach George O'Neill said. "We had a few more chances. A couple of guys cleared through and should have scored." Although equaling Penn in shots with 12, Delaware (2-9-1) was unable to maneuver a goal around the stellar play of O'Connor. "He came up big against Delaware when it was needed," O'Neill said. "When he has had to step up, he has been stepping up." O'Neill credits the Quakers' new confidence as the cure to their struggles on offense. "They are taking the shots," O'Neill said. "Before they would get the ball and look and then take another half of a step and let the defender get in instead of putting their head up and seeing the goal and firing." Awaiting the rebounding Quakers are the Lions (3-6-1, 0-2). The Quakers are hoping to even their record in the Ivy League by repeating last year's 2-0 victory over Columbia. Coming off a 1-0 loss to Iona, Columbia has also had their share of misfortunes this year. The Lions are led on offense by their two top scorers, Jamaican Khouri Mullings and Jesse Leff, and on defense by goalkeeper Matt Napoleon. The Quakers are feeling confident heading into the weekend game. "The whole team is out there and running through people," Huebner said. "Before we were not playing as aggressive as we should have been playing. Now we are going to the ball more. I don't know why we go into these slumps, but it seems right now we are on the upside of it."
Last season, Penn men's soccer's near-title run began against Cornell. In the past two years, the Penn men's soccer team has been known for its streaks. After starting the 1996 season with five losses in their first six games, the Quakers went on to win seven out of their last nine. This year the team won its first two games, including a 1-0 victory over Harvard, and has responded by losing its past six. As the Penn men's soccer team steps onto Rhodes Field Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to take on Cornell, the Quakers will be able to shed some light on what has been a dismal season. Entering the game with a 1-1 conference record, Penn still feels they have a legitimate chance of winning the Ivy League crown. During the present losing streak, the Quakers have dealt with many issues affecting the outcomes of the games. In losing four out of the six games by one goal and the other two games by a two-goal margin, Penn blames lapses on both defense and offense. "There are spurts that we play so well, and then we lose our concentration," Penn midfielder and captain Read Goodwin said. "The thing is that we are playing well. If we can do that for a whole game, we should be able to hang with anyone we play with." Both the Penn offense and defense have had their problems during the streak. For the first four games, the Quakers' offense was unable to find the back of the net. With the return from injury of Penn's leading goal scorer, Steve Cohen, the Quakers have finally been able to put goals on the board. "Our offense has stepped it up a lot in the last few games, starting with the two goals against VCU," Quakers sophomore midfielder Brian Foote said. "Our offense is playing so much better. Now we just need to organize ourselves better, so we can get both the offensive performance and the defensive performance to compliment each other." On defense, the Quakers allowed only five goals in the first four games. In the past two games, the Penn defense allowed three goals each game. The Quakers unsuccessfully tried over the past weekend to change their defense to counteract the opposing team's offense. "Different teams are showing a different offense every time," Penn sophomore defender Tom Hughes said. "It seems to me that we have to adjust to the different teams. We are going into each game a little inexperienced, because we don't know what the other team is going to show us." Having the opportunity to start out the "new" season on a positive note, the Quakers are looking forward for the opportunity to prove that they are better than their 2-6 record. "We are definitely going to look this as a time for turning our season around," Foote said. "I don't think we are going to totally detach ourselves from the memories of what we have accomplished already." Cornell (3-2-2, 0-1) comes into the game after tying St. Francis 1-1 last Saturday. Last season, the Quakers' 1-0 victory over the Big Red started Penn's six-game winning streak. The Quakers are hoping the game will have a similar effect this year.
The Penn men's soccer team failed to break its losing slump this weekend, as they lost both of their games in the Hartwick Invitational. In its Saturday game against Hartwick (5-4-1), Penn did not display its best stuff, losing, 2-0. This marked the fourth straight game the Quakers were shutout. Senior defender Brad Copeland felt the Quakers had plenty of opportunities to score, but Penn (2-5) was just unable to find the back of the net. "We played pretty flat," Copeland said. "We let them take the play to us a lot? We were not being really aggressive. We were letting them win a lot of the 50-50 balls." Entering the Virginia Commonwealth game yesterday, Quakers coach George O'Neill changed the defense, moving defender Tom Hughes from the middle to the left side. The move was made to offset VCU's speedy forwards. Unfortunately for the Quakers, the move was to no avail, as Ricardo Capilla Ramos, the tournament's offensive MVP, scored just over 12 minutes into the game on a goal Penn suspected was offside. After conceding the second goal to VCU's John Moffatt two minutes later, the Quakers changed back to their original formation. "We seemed to play better [after the change]," Penn freshman defender Henry Chen said. "It was a little more cohesive. I think we were a little rattled in the beginning when they scored that offsides goal." Unlike the previous day, Penn did not go gently into the midday air, as they came back to tie the game at two going into the half. Led by sophomore midfielder Brian Foote, the Quakers were able to shake their scoring jinx. With five minutes separating the two goals, Foote assisted both Matt Huebner and Jason Karageorge. "We really took it to them," Copeland said. "It was such a different game mentally for us. We played with a lot more intensity." Penn's aggressive play against the nationally recognized Rams (9-1-1) ended up hurting them as Copeland fouled VCU's Trevor Spencer in the box. The penalty kick ended up being the final difference in the 3-2 VCU win. The Quakers claim the score has done little to represent their overall solid play. With most of their non-conference games out of the way, the Quakers feel they have made the adjustments in time to contend for the Ivy League crown.
Penn coach George O'Neil is pleased with his team in all respects but one - scoring. The Penn men's soccer team spent the past week trying to keep its positive attitude. After losing their third straight 1-0 game, the Quakers are hoping to put some points on the board this weekend as they head to upstate New York to compete in the Hartwick Invitational. In starting the season 2-0 with wins against Harvard and La Salle, the Quakers' offense amassed five goals, but has been hurt lately by injuries to forwards Steve Cohen and Morgan Blackwell. Penn feels the opportunities have been there on offense, but it has just not been able to capitalize. In practice this past week, Penn (2-3) focused on offensive drills. "We were really happy with our play last weekend," Blackwell said. "Besides not scoring, we did everything else right. We dominated the other teams both games. We just did not find the back of the net. We are going to concentrate on that this weekend." The Quakers have been pleased with the play of their defense. Led by Tom Hughes, Brad Copeland and goalkeeper Michael O'Connor, the Penn defense has only given up six goals in their five games. This weekend Penn will meet formidable opponents. Saturday's game in Oneonta, N.Y., is against the host school Hartwick (3-4-1), which is coming off an 2-0 loss against Drexel last Saturday. The biggest test for the Quakers comes Sunday against Virginia Commonwealth (7-1-1). VCU, a current vote receiver in the latest Soccer America top 20, includes 11 foreign players on its 24-man roster. Penn coach George O'Neill believes the Quakers are going to have to limit turnovers and distribute the ball well between the defense and offense. "We are going to try the best we can to create and score goals," O'Neill said. "We are going to continue working on closing people down and making it difficult for them to get through." Trying not to let frustration set in, the Quakers are hoping to put up some offensive numbers this weekend. "We are trying to keep a positive attitude, but it is definitely frustrating," O'Connor said. "Two 1-0 losses to teams we should have beat is frustrating? Once we get one goal, we'll get five. We need that confidence." Both Cohen and Blackwell are expected to be in the lineup. While Blackwell said he is at 100 percent, Cohen's overall condition is still questionable. Although this is a non-conference weekend, the Quakers are heading to New York with a bus load of intensity, trying to put a stop to their three-game losing streak.
In the game of soccer, possession changes frequently, opportunities are scarce, and little mistakes can often be the difference between a victory and a loss. In yesterday's 1-0 Penn loss, the Dartmouth men's soccer team capitalized on a lapse in the Quakers' defensive coverage. With 34 minutes left in the second half, Dartmouth's junior midfielder Bobby Meyer headed in teammate Zach Samol's deflected free kick. Without anyone picking up the Dartmouth player, Meyer was able to place the ball past Quakers goalkeeper Mike O'Connor for the lone goal of the game. Unlike last Wednesday's 4-3 overtime comeback win against La Salle, the Quakers (2-1, 1-1 Ivy League) were unable to make up the difference. Trying to start the game where they left off against the Explorers, Penn had a hard time distinguishing Dartmouth's defense. "Dartmouth has a set system of play that they executed really well," Penn sophomore midfielder Brian Foote said. "In the first 20-to-25 minutes we did not come out and pressure the ball as much as we should have to keep their system from working." Once the Quakers understood the system, they tried to attack it, but without any positive results. Although the lone goal won the game, the key to Dartmouth's victory was out-hustling Penn. The Big Green's aggressiveness shut down the Quakers and their chances to score and get back into the game. By beating the Quakers to the majority of the 50/50 balls, the Big Green (2-1, 1-0) crushed Penn's offensive attempts. "They pressured the ball real well," Quakers forward Jason Smoke said. "They didn't give us much time with the ball, and that is to their credit. They didn't give us good looks. They made it hard on us to play up. We weren't aggressive enough to play at that tempo." Scoring with a few minutes left on Wednesday, the Quakers ran out of time yesterday. In not learning from their mistakes, O'Neill felt that the subject had been brought up enough in practice. "We spoke about this yesterday," O'Neill said. "We spoke about before the game, and they all said they understood it. They were going to do something about it, and they didn't."
In going coast to coast and moving from lineman to linebacker, Dartmouth senior Zack Walz has become one of the top performers in Ivy League football. Walz's emergence helped turn the Dartmouth program back into the powerhouse that has won a league-leading 17 titles. After completing a perfect season a year ago, the unanimous 1996 first-team All-Ivy honoree is considered one of the top candidates for the prestigious Asa S. Bushnell Cup. It was not easy, as the 6'5", 210-pound star worked hard to become a key player. As a football player from Malibu, Calif., Walz was a part of the St. Francis High School team that won back-to-back-to-back state championships at the state's highest level. Although not bragging of any glamorous awards won in high school, Walz's academic work earned him recognition from Ivy League schools. Hoping to get into a good school on his side of the country, Walz was approached by the foreigners from the East. "I had never really heard of Dartmouth," Walz said. "I was pretty content staying in California. I thought about playing football, but I was more concerned getting into a pretty decent school." Walz had little problem making the change to the college game and felt at ease with Dartmouth coach John Lyons' decision to move him to linebacker. "In high school, I was basically a rush end," Walz said. "I stood up and every play I just rushed. The only difference was just getting the reads down. I give a lot of credit to my coaches. Some of the techniques and stuff they implemented made it real easy to pick it up." On the other hand, Walz found the transition to the East Coast tough. Besides his spring break trip to Cancun, it was his first time outside the state of California. "It was definitely one of the most difficult transitions I have ever made," Walz said. "I was very house broken. I actually considered transferring. I had transfer papers to UCLA, Cal-Poly and Santa Barbara. I stuck with it because football was going well. Everything turned out for the better." Knowing Walz was a good football player, Lyons was pleasantly surprised by the improvement in Walz's work ethic. Coming in a poorly proportioned player, Walz put in the time in the weight room to improve his build. "He came in here as a guy who was not sure what it was all about, but who liked to play," Lyons said. "He has a very different body type because he is very tall and lean. He has worked very hard the last several years, and he has really increased his strength." Receiving playing time in his freshman year, Walz earned the starting position in '95. The team went 7-2-1, and Walz picked up first team All-Ivy honors. His presence had been felt around the league. With his early success in football, everything else seemed to fall in place for the Dartmouth standout. Walz started enjoying his time in isolated Hanover, N.H., a far cry from the Bay area. "Once I really started to apply myself and to the college and get to know the guys on the football team, I was happy with my decision," Walz said. "I am glad I came here. I got into a fraternity and all of that stuff. Everything started to gel nicely." For Walz and Dartmouth, everything came together last season as the Big Green finished the season perfect at 10-0. Walz led the Ivy League champions in tackles for the second year in a row. Racking up 111 total tackles, including 65 unassisted, and five sacks, the Dartmouth star was unanimously selected first-team All-Ivy. Highlighting the year for Walz was the season opener against Penn and the final Ivy game against Brown. Being the first game of the season, the Big Green linebacker remembers each team committing a multitude of mistakes, but felt Dartmouth's perseverance gave them the 24-22 victory. Against the Bears, Walz felt his team's preparation was key in their 27-24 win. "We went into the Brown game under a lot of pressure," Walz said. "We knew Jason McCullough was a great quarterback and they had some great players on their offense. We knew we would have to play the same way we had the rest of the season. We worked really hard before. We barely squeaked that one out." Lyons believes many qualities allow Walz to be such a dynamic player. The Dartmouth coach credits the linebacker for being able to get after the quarterback, play on a tight end and determine the opposing teams formation by his very presence. "We look to take advantage of his ability to make plays," Lyons said. "We turn him loose a lot and let him go because he is a very instinctive player and covers an awful lot of ground. For a tall, lean kid he can really bend down and explode on people. He always had a knack for getting through tiny creases and making something happen." Humble about his own talent, the senior Dartmouth tri-captain loves the game of football. As a student of the sport, Walz uses his talents to the best of his ability, including his mind. "People say I am pretty fast," Walz said. "I am really not that fast, maybe just a little quicker. I attribute success to understanding. I study opposing teams a lot. Being able to read things quickly is my best attribute." Opening the season this weekend against Penn, Walz will be fresh off his preseason injuries. Feeling that the team had a lackadaisical preseason, Walz used his senior status to make sure the team was ready and understood the importance of the game Saturday. "We had a meeting with the team the other day, and I was telling the younger guys how the Penn game always seems to dictate the rest of the season for one team or the other," Walz said. Although the Dartmouth senior hopes to someday compete for an NFL starting position, Walz has immediate goals set on a second-straight Ivy League title. Also competing for his third straight first team All-Ivy recognition, the Bushnell Cup candidate will definitely be one to watch in the upcoming Saturdays. "He is a heck of a football player," Lyons said. "He is a real fun player to watch, because he plays the game the way you should play it."