Top Ivy Defenses Clash on ESPNU as #16 Men’s Lax Visits #5 Cornell Sunday
PHILADELPHIA Two teams looking to separate atop the Ivy League standings, the #16 men’s lacrosse team from the University of Pennsylvania head to Ithaca, NY for a top five game against #5 Cornell Sunday at noon on national television via ESPNU.
The Quakers are 1-0 in Ivy play for the first time since 2019 after a 9-8 defensive victory over Princeton at Franklin Field last Saturday night. Likewise, Cornell is also 1-0 to start the league year after blitzing Yale, 20-10, in New Haven.
GAME 7: #16/15 Penn (3-3) at #5/5 Cornell (5-1)
Sunday March 26 | 12:00 am
Schoellkopfveld | Ithaca, NY
Watch(ESPNU) |Live statistics|Game Notes|Tickets
Battle on national TV
* So yes, this one should be entertaining. We knew Penn and Cornell on ESPNU would be a good call on paper heading into the start of this season, but after the two games these two teams played in Ivy League openers last weekend, Sunday’s matchup should be pretty good. are.
Saturday’s game features the two best defenses in the Ivy League so far this season. Penn has averaged 10.83 goals per game this season to Cornell’s 9.33.
The Quakers will face their first Top 5 opponent in the Big Red this season and only their third Top 10 opponent and first since a 14-12 loss to #10 Duke on Feb. 25.
Sunday marks Penn’s first nationally televised appearance during the regular season since a 14-7 win at Princeton on March 17, 2018.
The Penn-Cornell series
* It is the 96th meeting between Penn and Cornell on Sunday in Ithaca, the Big Red leading the all-time series with a record of 65-27-3. The Quakers have won four of their last five matchups, including two in a row, which include a 15-11 victory over the Big Red at Franklin Field in 2022.
Penn has emerged victorious in two consecutive Ithaca matchups dating back to the 2017 season and has not fallen on the road against Cornell since March 21, 2015.
The last timeout
* After a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to Villanova at home last weekend, Penn turned the tide and delivered one of his most elite defensive performances of the season in a 9-8 overtime win over #18 Princeton Saturday night at Franklin Field.
Penn scored the first goal of the game just three minutes into the game, but from then on it was Princeton who controlled the pace until the opening stages of the third quarter.
Trailing 7-5 with 12:22 remaining in the third frame, Hugo Mullane scored the first of three consecutive goals for the Quakers as Ben Smith scored his third and fourth hits of the game, including a man-up goal to put Penn ahead 8–7 with 6:06 to play.
The Tigers’ Christian Ronda equalized with just 3:20 left in regulation, forcing OT for the second time this year. With just 19 seconds left in extra time, Sam Handley ripped his second OT winner in three games to lift the Quakers to victory.
Intensify in a big way
* There is no doubt that the loss of Dylan Gerard affects Penn’s attack in more ways than one. So, who’s going to step up?
Ben Smith scored a season-high four goals in the Quakers’ victory over Princeton on Saturday, bringing his season total to nine in the first six games of the year.
Penn’s had a breakaway start to the season for Mullane, scoring five goals in five games from the bench. He has scored at least two points in his last few appearances and has at least one point in four games in a row.
After just one goal in three games to start the year, senior Gabriel Furey has three goals in his last two with also 11 shots in that span.
*Penn’s defense has been spectacular this season, especially in the last two games, allowing nine or fewer goals in three games this season to make it 2-1.
A big key to that success was guys like Ethan Tot who have dominated in defense so far. Till leads the Quakers with seven turnovers caused and is tied for third with 11 ground balls.
The opposite of Swiss cheese
Emmet Caroll certainly made an impression at the start of the season between the pipes. He allowed just eight goals with 10 saves against Princeton Saturday, continuing his impressive start to the season by giving Penn its first Ivy League Player of the Week honor after his stellar run of performances against nationally ranked Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. Carroll totaled 35 saves with a .625 save percentage over those two games, making 14 stops in an OT win at Saint Joseph’s and a career-high 21 against Villanova. In six games this season, Carroll ranks fifth in the nation in saves per game (14.83) and seventh in save percentage (.578).
Sam’s the man
Handley is starting to get his own six games into the season and is becoming a real centerpiece for the Quakers offense so far. He is tied for the team lead with 11 goals, adding a team-high 11 assists and leading Penn with 22 points. He had a season-high four helpers in Saturday’s win over Princeton.
Additionally, Handley is starting to make his way up the Penn record book in several career stats, including points (9th, 161), goals (11th, 85), and assists (T-7th, 76).
Keeping the Streak alive
*Handley increased his points streak to 39 consecutive games with two goals and four assists vs. Princeton for a total of six points. That number is good for fifth place nationally. Handley has at least one point in every game he has played for Penn during his career.
Penn In National Statistics
*1st in settlement rate (.945).
*9th in least turnovers per game (14.00).
*9th in saves per game (14.83)
Penn Players in National Statistics
*Carroll currently ranks fifth in the nation for saves per game (14.83) and seventh in the nation for save percentage (.578).
Penn In Ivy Statistics
*The Quakers rank first among Ivy opponents in settlement percentage (.945) and second in fewest turnovers per game (14.00) heading into Sunday. Penn is second in saves per game (14.83) and second in scoring defense (10.83).
Penn players in Ivy stats
*Ben Smith leads the Ivy in individual man-up goals (3). He is 27th nationally in that category. Smith is also second in shot percentage (.474).
*Carroll ranks second among Ivy goaltenders in save percentage (.578), saves per game (14.83), and goals against average (10.68).
*Handley ranks third in assists per game (1.83).
Explore the big red
*Cornell enters Sunday’s matchup ranked No. 5 in both major national polls (USILA and Inside Lacrosse) after an impressive and dominant 20-10 victory over Yale last weekend to start Ivy’s game with a 1-0 start.
*That win comes after the Big Red fell to Penn State, 10-6, on March 11 for their first loss of the year.
*Cornell has scored at least 12 goals in five of his six games so far and won them all.
*Junior CJ Kirst is quickly establishing himself as a leader for the Tewaaraton Award this season, scoring 27 goals with seven assists for 34 points in just six appearances for the Big Red. Billy Coyle is second with 15 goals and nine assists, while Brian Piatelli scores seven.
* In the net, senior goalkeeper Chayse Ierlan stunned Cornell in his victory over the Bulldogs last weekend, stopping 21 shots. He has recorded 21 saves with a .677 save percentage in back-to-back games against both Penn State and Yale.
Follow the action
*Sunday’s game will air nationally on ESPNU and via the ESPN app with Anish Shroff (PxP) and Quint Kessenich (analyst) on the call. Live statistics will also be provided.
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