The Penn women’s lacrosse team may not have all the kinks worked out, but the Quakers are ready to go for Saturday’s season opener against Drexel.
The six-time Ivy League champions have a disadvantage due to Ancient Eight practice regulations — they are about three weeks behind their non-league opponents and face a squad with two games under its belt already — but they’re only concerned about what they can control.
“We’re just really trying to focus on us … and doing what we need to do,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said.
The Dragons (2-0) are off to a quick start this season and they always provide a tough opener for the Red and Blue.
“Drexel’s always a big test as to where we are and what we’ve done through [the offseason] and where we need to go for the rest of the season,” senior midfielder Meredith Cain said.
Last year, though, Penn got off to a quick start with an 18-8 victory over Drexel. Junior Courtney Tomchik, senior Maddie Poplawski and Cain combined for 10 of those goals and are set to lead the way this time around as well.
While Corbett wants to see her attacks utilize the speed they have, she also has concerns on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“Our talk on defense is lacking and I think that some of our positioning on defense is lacking,” she said.
The defense — led by junior Lydia Miller — will have to keep senior Dragons attack Alyse Maiden under control. The senior had three goals against Penn last season, and she led the CAA in 2012 with 13 free-position goals.
And while sophomore goalie Lucy Ferguson makes her Penn debut after transferring from William & Mary, it won’t be the first time she sees Maiden. In last season’s CAA matchup between Drexel and the Tribe, Maiden found the net just once off four shots on goal.
Though the Dragons have a speedy attack, Corbett thinks her squad can match up well. In fact, she said their depth on the bench can make it even more difficult for opponents to match up with them.
“Our trap can cause some turnovers on them and I think defensively we can pressure them well,” she said. “And I think we have good challengers … I just hope that we can play cleaner.”
Putting the pieces together in time will determine how Penn fares.
“We want to come out strong, really put everything together,” Cain said. “We’ve been playing well defensively and offensively but we really want to put it all together in the midfield, too.”
Corbett said she’d like her team to “pick everything up to another level.”
If it does, the Quakers can make it seven straight over Drexel.
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