#18 Penn 8 #11 Princeton 3 – Men’s Lacrosse – A View From Papazian’s Perch

The University of Pennsylvania Men’s Lacrosse team came into Lacrosse Alumni Day hoping to break a 2 game losing streak.  The 18th ranked Quakers also wanted to end a 21 game winless streak against the 11th ranked Princeton Tigers.  Behind two goals and an assist by Senior Midfielder Al Kohart, Penn broke both streaks posting an 8 – 3 win at Franklin Field.   Penn Coach Mike Murphy is focused on the present and getting back to winning ways. 
Mike Murphy

“Our two game losing streak was more of a concern to our team than the history of this rivalry,” said Murphy.  “Our guys have only been here for zero, one, two or three years.  The most they lost to them was three years.  We wanted to play better than we did last week.  That’s all we talked about in practice, to improve ourselves on a daily basis.  Our goal is to win the Ivy League, that is what this is about.” 

Al Kohart

The three-point game by Kohart gives the Senior Captain 10 goals for the season couple with 3 assists gives him a team-leading 13 points.  Senior Attack Cory Winkoff registered a goal and an assist giving him 12 points on the season.  Winkoff has a team-high 9 assists this year.   Sophomore Midfielder Nick Richards scored his first of the season, and Freshman Maxx Meyer had his first career goal for the Red and Blue.

Penn opened the scoring at the 9:03 mark of the opening quarter as Sophomore Attack Rob Fitzpatrick scored his 5th goal of the season unassisted.  Princeton tied the game with 1:03 left in the quarter as Attack Mike Grossman scored unassisted.  Penn took a 2 – 1 lead into halftime as Senior Attack Morgan Griff netted his first goal of the year assisted by Kohart.

Junior Midfielder Dan Savage started the second half scoring getting his fifth goal if the campaign on an assist by Junior Midfielder John Conneely.  The goal came with 11:25 remaining in the third quarter.  Penn jumped ahead 4 – 1 with 7:32 left in the quarter when Kohart scored his ninth goal of the season, assisted by Griff.  After Princeton Midfielder Tucker Shanley beat Penn Freshman Goalkeeper Brian Feeney at the 6:20 mark, Penn responded 7 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Richards, his first on the year.  Penn had its three goal cushion back at 5 – 2.  The Tigers did not creep back into their den as Attack Forest Sonnenfeldt scored at the 4:29 mark making the score 5 – 3.   Penn held that lead going into the fourth quarter.

Penn did not sit on the lead as they attacked the Princeton goal.  It was a big factor in getting the win.

“We told our guys at halftime to keep playing, keep attacking,” Murphy said.  ” We played good offense.  We had a possession that lasted awhile, then we scored a goal.  It was a four-minute possession where we kept attacking, then scored.  We got some momentum out of that, and you could see their defense hunched over.”

Finally, at the 9:01 mark Kohart scored his second goal of the game assisted by Winkoff.  Less than 30 seconds later Meyer tallied his unassisted goal as Penn extended their margin to 7 – 3.  Princeton played one man up at the 6:15 mark as Fitzpatrick served a one minute penalty for slashing, but did not score.  Winkoff got his 3rd goal of the year with 54 seconds to play into essentially end it as Penn went ahead 8 – 3, the final score.  

The Red and Blue put 36 shots on goal.  Princeton Goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito made 14 saves.  Feeney faced 21 Princeton shots making 7 saves, giving up 3 goals.

And Penn had its first win over Princeton since 1989.

“It’s nice for our alumns, they’ve been more aware of that (the streak), but our guys were aware of it,” said Murphy.

Penn improves to a 4 – 2 record, and the Quakers prepare to travel to #12 Cornell for a March 26 game.  

Turning Point of the Game

At the beginning of the fourth quarter Penn held a 5 – 3 lead.  The Quakers kept attacking and got a goal at the 9:01 mark by Kohart.  The Red and Blue added another goal less than 30 seconds later as Meyer tallied an unassisted goal at 8:33 to give Penn a 7 – 3 lead.

Key Stat of the Game

Penn kept attacking rather than sit on the lead.  That strategy resulted in a 36 – 21 advantage for Penn in Shots on Goal.

Key Players in the Game

For Penn –  Al Kohart who had two goals and an assist to give him a team leading 13 points for the season.  The Midfielder had 9 shots in the game, 5 went on goal.

For Princeton – Attack Forest Sonnenfeldt who scored the goal to bring Princeton to within 5 – 3.  Sonnenfeldt had 2 shots, both on goal.

Point Where the Game Was Decided

Winkoff got his 3rd goal of the year with 54 seconds to play into essentially end it as Penn went ahead 8 – 3, the final score.  

Thoughts and Musings

It is hard to believe, but Penn came into the game with a 21 game losing streak against Princeton.  Their previous win was in 1989.  To put this into perspective, many of the players in this game were not born yet when Penn last beat Princeton in lacrosse.  The Penn players were more concerned with the moment.  And they have a new history to build upon.


Written By:  Glenn Papazian

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