PHILADELPHIA - As losses go, the one that the Penn men's lacrosse team suffered on Saturday at Franklin Field would be hard to top for shock value.
The Quakers were up 6-2 on city rival Villanova with less than 30 seconds left in the third quarter, and still led the 12th-ranked Wildcats with just over a minute left in the game. With 10 seconds left, the game was tied but Penn had the ball and was attacking the goal.
The Quakers' shot was stopped, however, and Villanova came down the field. Max Hart -- who had tied the game with 1:09 left on his second goal of the day -- got the ball near midfield, took about four steps and uncorked an underhanded shot from about 30 yards out.
The ball skidded across the ground, shot past Penn goalie Brian Feeney, and ripped the netting. The time on the clock? :01.
Villanova improves to 4-1 with the win, its second in a row over Penn (last year the Wildcats won in overtime out on the Main Line). This was the eighth one-goal game in the 13 meetings between these two clubs since 2000. The Quakers, meanwhile, fall to 1-3.
Penn opened the scoring on Saturday, as Tim Schwalje notched a pair of goals in the first eight minutes. The first came off a feed from John Conneely and the second was unassisted. Villanova got one of those goals back before the period ended, as Jack Rice finished a feed from Will Casertano.
The Wildcats tied the score early in the second, as Michael Vigilante netted an unassisted goal. However, the Quakers went back up as Conneely finished a Dan Savage feed. Penn then doubled its lead in the closing seconds of the first half, as Rob Fitzpatrick finished a Ryan Parietti feed. It was 4-2 at the break.
Parietti doubled Penn's lead in the third quarter -- he finished a Conneely pass just two minutes in, then converted a feed from Fitzpatrick at the exact midpoint of the period. For a long time that appeared like it was going to be enough.
The tide began turning with just over a minute left in the third. Will Koshansky was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, a non-releasable one-minute penalty. Villanova took advantage, scoring twice in a matter of 10 seconds to make the score 6-4 as the period ended.
The teams went nearly seven minutes without a goal in the fourth, and when it came it was out of the stick of Penn midfielder Zack Losco. That made the score 7-4, and appeared it would the re-energize the Quakers for the final push.
Instead, Villanova got the goal back almost immediately, as Vigilante scored an unassisted goal just 33 seconds after Losco's score. The Wildcats then drew within one with 3:13 left when Casertano finished a Kevin Cunningham pass.
Penn had possession a few times down the stretch, but turnovers -- both forced and unforced -- kept the drama high. Villanova then tied the game with 1:09 left, as Hart scored unassisted coming across the middle.
Danny Feeney won the ensuing faceoff for Penn, giving the Quakers what appeared to be the final look. And sure enough, when Fitzpatrick was stuffed as he came around the goal, it looked like this contest was heading for overtime. Instead, Villanova got the rebound of Fitzpatrick's effort and got the ball to Hart, who ripped his desperation winning shot.
Penn returns to action next Saturday with its Ivy League opener, at Princeton. The Quakers and Tigers will face off at 2 p.m., with the game being televised live on ESPNU.