Quakers barely eke out win against Vanderbilt
Penn lacrosse pushed to two overtimes by plucky Commodores, survive to face Cornell
March 21, 2013, 10:39 pm·
Imran Cronk | DP
It wasn’t pretty, but the Penn women’s lacrosse team pulled out a win over Vanderbilt, 14-13, in what was easily the wildest game of the season.
Thursday’s game was a battle of two halves, with the Quakers (3-3) dominating the Commodores, 7-3, in the first half and seemingly ready to run Vandy out of Philly.
But the second half proved to be a much different story. The ‘Dores (1-9) erased an 11-6 deficit to take a 12-11 lead with just under less than four minutes left in the half, putting Penn in a difficult position.
“We got complacent and stopped working the defense,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “We should have kept working the clock because that’s when you could really break a team, but we forced shots and took bad fouls on defense.”
But the Red and Blue remained calm. As the clock ticked down, Penn moved the ball downfield with ease as senior Caroline Bunting got a great shot that hit iron. The ensuing rebound was scooped up by junior Tory Bensen, who rocketed a shot into the back of the net with just 25 seconds left, forcing overtime.
After a scoreless first extra session, the Quakers had their backs against the wall once again, trailing, 13-12, with 2:42 left. But freshman Iris Williamson, who recorded her third straight four-goal game, would not let Penn go down without a fight.
Williamson took over in the final two minutes, scoring a beautiful goal to tie the game, then launching a missile into the top left corner of the net just a minute later that would ultimately be the game winner.
The emotional win was a complete team effort on offense, with seven different Quakers recording at least one goal. The hero of regulation, Tory Bensen, recorded a hat trick, while Meredith Cain and Courtney Tomchik each chipped in two apiece.
“It’s a combination of doing my homework and having great teammates,” Williamson said of her goals.
Though the Quakers think they could have played better, it was an emotional win that proved how resilient the squad can be.
“I’m very happy we got the win, but overall I’m disappointed. We just lacked basic fundamentals,” Corbett said.
Penn will need to rediscover those fundamentals in a hurry before a critical Ivy League matchup this Sunday against Cornell. The Quakers topped the Big Red (6-1, 2-0) last season in an 11-10 thriller, but Cornell has been off to an incredible start this season. Their lone loss came earlier this week at No. 3 North Carolina, 11-10, in a game they had multiple leads in.
“Cornell is a great team right now,” Corbett said. “They’re disciplined, they’re clean and they play great as a unit.”
If the Quakers are going to remain undefeated in Ivy League play, they will have to shore up their defense. They gave the Commodores eight free position shots, and five were converted for goals.
“We have to have higher expectations for ourselves. We need to be cleaner, take care of the ball better, and shoot it better,” Corbett said.
In a game that will likely be a solid indicator of who will reign supreme in the Ivy League this season, the Quakers will try to make a statement about why they’re the six-time reigning champs.