The men’s lacrosse team (8-4, 2-3 Ivy) has a chance to finish its Ivy League season at .500 with a win over Pennsylvania (5-7, 1-4) Sunday in Philadelphia.
The game, played Sunday instead of the regular Saturday because of this weekend’s Penn Relays, will be the final Ivy League game for the Elis and the penultimate game of their season. Meanwhile, the Quakers end their year against the Bulldogs and will likely be pushing to end a subpar season on a positive note.
“The key for Sunday’s game is to come out hard and play our game,” said middie Ned Britt ’04, who has scored 26 goals and added nine assists for the Bulldogs. “It starts from the opening faceoff and goes from there.”
Both the Elis and the Quakers will be concentrating hard on faceoffs. Penn coach Brian Voelker noted the importance of shutting down that area of Yale’s game.
“They’re very good at facing off, and they’re very good on the offensive end, because they move the ball very well,” Voelker said. “We know we need to play well offensively and win some faceoffs so they can’t get anything going.”
The Eli offense, fueled by hat tricks from Seth Goldberg ’05 (20 goals, 16 assists) and captain Mike Scaglione ’03 (31 goals, 14 assists), was impressive in Yale’s last game: a come-from-behind 11-6 win over Harvard. Over the course of the second half, the Bulldogs notched seven unanswered goals to take the victory.
Scaglione is tied for No. 12 nationally in goals per game with 2.58.
“The Harvard game was good for us, because we played the way we wanted to for nearly the whole 60 minutes,” Britt said.
Defensively, the Bulldogs hope to play Penn the same way they have in recent years.
“In the past couple of years, they’ve had strong middies that dodge straight down and get low-angle shots,” goaltender Roy Skeen ’04 said. “We’re going to continue to let them do that, because that has been successful in the past.”
The defense, led by longsticks Noah Glass ’03, Todd Montgomery ’04 and Ned Smith ’03, came a goal shy of holding Harvard to five scores, the defense’s game-by-game objective, Glass said after the Dartmouth game.
The Elis will try to take advantage of the Quakers’ recent weakness, which has been fourth quarter play. In the past three games, Penn has lost sizeable leads in the final period of play.
“We haven’t really played well in the fourth quarter,” Voelker said. “Against Brown we were winning, and lost in overtime, against Lehigh we were winning by 9 goals and ended up winning by four, and we just lost to Villanova in the fourth quarter, too. It’s been a trying year. Our guys are giving a good effort, but we’re just coming up short.”
The Quakers do not have a single scoring presence, but instead they distribute production among several players. Will Phillips leads the Quakers with 24 goals and 11 assists, and Jake Martin has contributed 14 goals and nine assists.
For the Elis, a good win will come down to limiting errors and executing a fast but focused game.
“We know if we give it 60 minutes of tough, smart lacrosse, we will come out on top,” Britt said.