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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #5 Penn Quakers

Penn advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1988.

Matt Dewkett

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review with the teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament!

#5 Penn Quakers

Conference: Ivy League
2019 Record: 12-4 (6-0 in Ivy League)
Postseason: Defeated Brown and Yale for Ivy League Championship, defeated Army West Point in NCAA First Round, lost to Yale in NCAA Quarterfinals
Head coach: Mike Murphy (10th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Adam Goldner (56)
Assists: Sam Handley (26)
Points: Adam Goldner (63)
Faceoffs: Kyle Gallagher (270-of-432; 62.5%)
Ground balls: Kyle Gallagher (169)
Caused turnovers: BJ Farrare (18)
Goals against average: Reed Junkin (11.47)
Save percentage: Reed Junkin (53.1%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: G Reed Junkin (11.47 GAA, 53.1% SV %, 27 GBs, 3 CTs), A Simon Mathias (37 Gs, 25 As, 23 GBs, 3 CTs), M Tyler Dunn (20 Gs, 8 As, 34 GBs, 9 CTs), M Alex Roesner (10 Gs, 11 As, 9 GBs, 1 CT), D Noah Lejman (5 CTs, 19 GBs), M Joe Licciardi (10 Gs, 7 As, 18 GBs, 2 CTs), SSDM Jared Warner (3 CTs, 4 GBs), FOGO Richie Lenskold (54.8% FOs, 14 GBs, 1 CT, 1 G), D Mike Mulqueen (1 CT, 6 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 129 of 373 points (34.6%)
Senior starts lost: 68 of 160 (42.5%)

Season Summary

It was a very historic year for the Penn Quakers, who were able to win their first NCAA Tournament game in over 30 years. The Quakers were also the cream of the crop in a competitive Ivy League.

But it didn’t start well. Penn’s first three games came against top five teams, all of them losses. The Quakers began the season with a home overtime loss to Maryland before traveling to Durham and getting clobbered by the Blue Devils, a team they defeated last season. Against Penn State in an in-state showdown, the Quakers led by one with 3:05 left in the game. But Nick Spillane scored two goals in a span of 28 seconds to help the Nittany Lions get the win.

At least one win in that span would have been great for Penn. But they needed to focus on winning games and take on the next opponent. They would not lose a game for over two months. The Quakers got win No. 1 over 11th ranked Villanova before beating Saint Joseph’s in the Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic. Penn also took care of Princeton in their Ivy League opener with Cornell and Yale in back-to-back weeks.

Against the Big Red in Ithaca, Cornell had a three-goal lead with 11:25 left in the game. But the Quakers took the lead with a 4-0 run before the teams went back-and-forth with scoring. Adam Goldner found the back of the net with 17 seconds left to give the Quakers a very big win. The following week against Yale at Franklin Field was even a bigger barnburner. Penn had a 10-7 lead entering the fourth but saw the Bulldogs take a one-goal lead with 2:05 left. With a second to go, Tyler Dunn scored the tying goal to force overtime, where freshman sensation Sam Handley scored the winner in overtime. Without a doubt, Penn was now the top team in the Ivy League.

Wins over Brown, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Vermont would conclude the regular season as the Quakers held the one-seed in the Ivy League Tournament. They faced two tough challenges in a three-day span, with the first coming against Brown in the semifinals. Penn had a five-goal lead in the third quarter, but the Bears slowly cut down the lead for the duration of the half. The Bears scored twice in the final two minutes to cut Penn’s lead to one, but Richie Lenskold won the final faceoff and Brown never saw the ball again. In a rematch with Yale in the conference title game, it was yet another close matchup with the Bulldogs tying the game with 8:48 left in the game. Sean Lulley scored the deciding goal with 4:52 left and goalie Reed Junkin made two saves to stop Yale from tying the game and helping Penn to their first Ivy League title since 2014.

It was not the last the Quakers would see Yale. After beating Army West Point in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the two Ivy League foes met yet again, this time in East Hartford. The Bulldogs had a two-goal lead with under a minute to go, but Penn refused to go away. Dunn scored on a man-up opportunity with 47 seconds left, and Simon Mathias netted the tying goal with five seconds to go. Both teams had chances in overtime, but Yale had a second chance midway through the extra session. Jack Tigh somehow slipped and lost the ball and looked like Penn would get another possession. But the midfielder got the ball and scored to win it for Yale and send Penn home in heartbreaking fashion.

Goldner, Mathias, and Lulley were the starters at attack. Goldner and Mathias had 63 and 62 points respectively, while Lulley had a breakout year with 36 points after 12 as a freshman. Handley was one of the best freshmen in the country with 61 points on the season and joined Dunn and Mitch Bartolo as the first line midfielders. Dylan Gergar, Alex Roesner, and Joe Licciardi were very productive primarily on the second midfield unit.

Close defense was a veteran unit with juniors Kyle Thornton and Mark Evanchick leading the way along with senior Noah Lejman, who played for the first time since 2016 after battling injuries the last two seasons. Mike Mulqueen also saw time at close. Freshman BJ Farrare showcased himself early as one of the top long stick midfielders in the country with Ben Bedard as the second LSM. Matt McIlwrick, Jared Warner, Piper Bond, and sometimes even Dunn were the main short stick defensive midfielders. Junkin started in goal in his fourth and final season, while the faceoff unit was bolstered by the arrival of Hofstra transfer Kyle Gallagher. He finished at 62.5% on draws.

Looking Ahead

It shouldn’t be surprising, but the Ivy League will be tough yet again in 2020. And Penn should be one of the teams in contention for the conference championship.

There are a lot of senior contributors that leave the program, but the Quakers have plenty of others to come in and help. With Goldner and Lulley back at attack, it would not be a surprise if Gergar goes back to his original position. Midfield could be an issue even with Handley and Bartolo back. Keyveat Postell could be a player that sees more time,

The defense is in good hands, and the Quakers have some options in goal with either rising senior Alex deMarco or Virginia transfer Patrick Burkinshaw. Gallagher is one of the top five FOGOs in the country and his production will be another big area in his senior season.

Poll

How many wins will Penn get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    0-6
    (1 vote)
  • 7%
    7-8
    (4 votes)
  • 40%
    9-10
    (21 votes)
  • 50%
    11+
    (26 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now