Losco leads Penn men into NCAA lacrosse tourney

Posted: May 10, 2014

If there were any doubts about whom the Penn men's lacrosse team turns to in a pinch, those questions were answered in the Ivy League tournament.

The Quakers (11-3), who will host Drexel (12-4) on Sunday at Franklin Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament, needed a prime-time performance out of all-Ivy League midfielder Zack Losco and got just that.

With Penn trailing Cornell by 10-7 after three quarters, Losco, a two-time first-team all-Ivy selection, scored four goals in the fourth quarter as the Quakers gained an 11-10 semifinal victory.

In the championship game, Losco scored three goals as the Quakers held Harvard to just one score in the final three quarters to earn the title with a 7-5 victory.

The performance earned the senior from Smithtown, N.Y., the award as the tournament's most outstanding player.

The victory, Penn's eighth in a row, not only gave the Quakers their first Ivy League tournament crown, but it put Penn back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011.

"That was our goal from Day 1, to play well to reach the tournament," Losco said. "We wanted to earn a bid and get the chance to compete for it all."

Losco, a starter for the better part of three seasons, has come on over the last two. He said that's mostly because coach Mike Murphy has pushed for better production out of him.

In his first two seasons at Penn, Losco scored just six goals. In the last two, however, he has scored 23 and 25, respectively.

"He's really made it a point to implement a style of play that is better for getting us in transition," Losco said of Murphy. "It's helped me a lot. But I think we've all benefited from it, and it shows."

Penn and Drexel have met 29 times, with Penn holding a 21-8 advantage. The winner of Sunday's game will face the winner of the Denver vs. North Carolina game May 18 at Delaware Stadium.

Penn defeated Denver earlier this season but did not face North Carolina.

Losco and his teammates, however, are not looking past Drexel.

"Drexel is a good team, and they have all of our attention," Losco said.

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