The men’s lacrosse team was defeated in a battle for first place in the Ivy League Saturday in a 16 -9 loss against Penn at Stevenson-Pincince Field.
The teams entered the game as the only undefeated schools in the Ancient Eight, with Brown on a win streak of two against Yale and Princeton. The loss marked the Quakers’ first win over Brown in three seasons.
Captains Luke McCaleb ’20 and Michael Panepinto ’19 dominated for Bruno in shots on goal throughout the opening quarter. But Penn’s goaltender and Ivy League’s men’s lacrosse Player of the Week Reed Junkin proved a near impenetrable force against Brown’s 39 total shots in the game. McCaleb got the ball rolling for Brown after a goal with 12:47 remaining in the opening frame off a close jump shot to the top corner.
The Quakers would follow up with three goals, one of which was a man-up goal after Jack Kniffin ’20 was fouled for pushing 10 minutes into the stanza. But Ryan Aughavin ’21 managed to slip one past Junkin with 4:44 remaining in the quarter. Aughavin secured his 20th goal of the season during a power play by moving high from his hip to rocket the ball into a top corner, a signature move that fans have become used to seeing from him during his career with the Bears. Bruno fought ferociously to take the lead right up to the opening quarter’s final buzzer, as Colby Gendron ’22 nearly scored with 37.4 remaining.
April 6, Lacrosse Alumni Day, marked the 50th anniversary of Brown’s 1969 champion team winning the school’s first Ivy title in lacrosse, as well as the 25th anniversary of the 1994 team that took Brown to its first NCAA semifinals. The 1969 team was honored at the first break, with some players toting their wooden sticks from the game. The 1994 team was honored in a halftime ceremony with President Christina Paxson P’19.
The second quarter was owned by Kniffin looking to make up for lost time after the first frame penalty. Kniffin rained shots down on Junkin at the end of the first quarter and tore a shot just above Junkin’s head to score 6:57 into the second, assisted by George Grell ’21. Only one of his shooting attempts managed to work its way through Junkin, but Kniffin said this will be corrected by the time Bruno squares up against Yale next week. “We had a bunch of great opportunities on offense. We just didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. I think that’s something that we can definitely look forward to doing,” Kniffin said.
After two goals for Penn and one for the Bears, a hold against Brown automatically turned possession over to the Quakers. Only eight seconds later, the Bears’ luck changed as a push was called against the Quakers, opening up an opportunity for Darian Cook ’22 to score with Riley Stewart ’21 on the assist to bring the score to 5-4, Penn. It was at this point that the Bears lost the ball and were unable to locate it for the remainder of the period with Penn keeping near constant possession for the final six minutes. Phil Goss ’20, Bruno’s starting goalie for every game this season, made a flurry of impressive saves under rapid fire from Penn, ultimately surrendering a pair of rebound goals and a man-down goal in the final minutes of the quarter. This brought the score to 8-4 Penn entering halftime.
The Quakers came into the third frame confident, posting a goal 43 seconds in. Two minutes later, the momentum shifted after a goal from Grell, which was followed by a goal from Panepinto exhibiting solid composure with only two seconds remaining on the shot clock. Penn would then follow with two goals of their own. Goss was the only defensive barrier in the Bears’ zone in this quarter, ripping down shot after shot. Most notably, he made a physics-defying save, blocking a top corner shot from down on the ground. This save set the tone for a strong offensive showing by the Bears, which led to a transitional goal minutes later by Stewart with Michael Brown ’20 on the assist. A tight Penn goal in the final 45 seconds brought the score to 12-7 Penn at the close of the quarter, despite a noble scoring attempt by Panepinto in the final eight seconds.
At the outset of the final period, Junkin appeared to be losing control, sending two balls flying into the stands in the first five minutes. Aughavin came inches away from a goal, but Junkin managed to get in front of it just enough to take possession. Grell launched a missile at 7:27, managing to fake out Junkin to bring the score to 12-8. A minute later, Panepinto came through hot to score his 10th goal of the season, whittling Penn’s lead down to three with a bounce shot in the top left corner. It would be Bruno’s final goal of the match. Panepinto’s goal was followed by a trio of Penn goals before Brown called a time out with 2:17 remaining. Cook saw an opportunity at 1:45 and took it, but a pair of Quakers rushed in, successfully blocking the ball and regaining possession. With 46.6 seconds remaining, Penn stole an empty net goal to finish the game at 16-9.
After the game, the Bears hung back to sign autographs at the request of youth lacrosse players. Goss spoke to the difference that school support makes for the team. “On behalf of Brown men’s lacrosse, we just really want to thank everyone for their support. It meant a lot to have President Paxson, (Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Engineering Barrett Hazeltine) and so many people in the stands who came out to support us.”
The Bears face off against Yale in New Haven next week for their fourth Ivy game of the season.