Another week, another dive into the weeds to find the diamonds in the rough in NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse. We’ve got the Ivy League this week, and it’s not hard to find some very, very polished diamonds in the Ivy right now. However, leave the green and you can find some studs, and some scary teams, not far from the beaten path. So, without further ado, the Under the Radar Team of the Week for the Ivy League: Pennsylvania Men’s Lacrosse.
Pennsylvania Men’s Lacrosse: Team of the Week
Sometimes, teams get eyes bigger than their stomachs. Thus was the fate of the Pennsylvania Men’s Lacrosse team, a team who decided it was a good idea to start their season with Maryland, Duke, and Penn State as their first three games, two of those on the road. So, as you might have guessed, the Quakers began the year 0-3. Not great, but also plenty of experience for a pretty young team.
It’s starting to pay off. The Quakers are now 3-3, having won three straight. They were the team that began Villanova’s tumble. Better than that, they stomped Princeton to start their Ivy League slate, putting up 19 goals, with seven different players registering multiple goals. One of those was a pole! This team is just playing some seriously fun lacrosse. What other team is having that level of balanced scoring? The defense is improving, too. In their Princeton game, they held Michael Sowers to 3 points, and senior goalie Reed Junkin put up a 64% save rate for the day. Penn looks better and better with each game.
Part of that comes from a great freshman class. It starts with, if you pay attention to recruiting rankings (I do not), an unlikely source: attackman Sam Handley. Inside Lacrosse’s 79th-ranked freshman has been simply phenomenal. Hailing from the exact same school in Oregon as Syracuse’s star freshman of 2018, Tucker Dordevic, Handley has walked into the Quakers’ lineup and made an instant impact. He leads Penn in assists through six games, and is third in goals. He’s not alone. Fellow freshman attackman Dylan Gergar has been successful so far in a more limited role. More impactful, and nearly as high scoring, has been stud LSM BJ Farrare, who has been a force both on defense and in transition, having put up four points, including two goals vs Princeton. Farrare also leads the Quakers in caused turnovers.
Things are not going to get much easier for the Quakers any time soon. Their next two games, at Cornell then hosting Yale, come against the two tentpoles of the Ivy League this year. It’s very possible that they lose both, and the Ivy League remains a two-horse race for the foreseeable future. However, let’s not be so certain. Penn took both Maryland to OT, and lost to Penn State by just one. I’m not super confident here, but I think they can take down one of the two powerhouses, and make the Ivy far more fascinating in the process. If I were a betting man? The Quakers going into Cornell and pulling off the upset seems more likely to me than them taking down Yale. Regardless, things are looking up for Penn. They should hang out on the fringes of the top twenty for quite awhile. Beat one of the two top dogs, and things could be coming up Quakers.