Women’s lax looks to shore up offense against Vanderbilt
Quakers won’t underestimate the Commodores despite their record
March 20, 2013, 9:12 pm·
While there will be plenty of mismatches in today’s NCAA Tournament games, the Penn women’s lacrosse team will be looking to take care its own seemingly lopsided matchup.
At 2:30 p.m. today, the Quakers (2-3) will look to extend their winning streak to three as they take on a struggling Vanderbilt team at Franklin Field.
The Commodores (1-8) have had trouble keeping opponents off the board so far this season, good news for a Penn team still working out the kinks in its offense.
But, in the same way a higher seed shouldn’t overlook a lower-ranked opponent, just because Vanderbilt’s record is poor doesn’t mean the American Lacrosse Conference squad should be overlooked.
“They’ve played some of the top opponents in the league,” Penn senior Maddie Poplawski said. “Teams that would have been big competition for us too.”
Indeed, the Commodores have played a tough schedule, including a stretch of three games against Duke, Northwestern and Louisville, who have a combined record of 22-3.
While Vanderbilt hasn’t won in over a month, Penn is coming off two strong performances against Ivy foes.
The Quakers will look to maintain the offensive flow they were able to find in wins against Harvard and Yale.
The last time out, senior attack Caroline Bunting had a strong performance, scoring three goals while dishing out four assists. Her seven-point effort was a career high.
“Her preparation for the game was very different,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “As a senior, she’s gone through a lot of things and I said to her, ‘This is your time. What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose; just go for it.’ And I think she did that on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, freshman Iris Williamson has made a habit of finding the back of the net, scoring 13 goals in her first five collegiate starts.
“I’m still working hard every day in practice,” Williamson said. “It’s a lot of work, and a lot of strain on my body, but I’m keeping my body healthy.”
While the offense has proven to be inconsistent, ranking 78th in the nation in goals per game, the Red and Blue’s defense has kept them in a lot of contests.
Giving up just 8.2 goals per game, good for 18th best in the nation, the Quakers’ defense has been a bright spot early in the season.
Vanderbilt scores just over 11 goals per game and has done so against quality opponents. So the Quakers’ defense will have to be at the top of its game.
Penn will look to sophomore Lucy Ferguson to continue her solid play in net. She’s saved 38 of the 78 shots on goal that she’s faced, good for a save percentage of .487.
If all things go according to plan for Penn, the Quakers will head into Sunday’s conference contest against Cornell with its offense continuing to click.
They just hope that they don’t succumb to the dreaded upset that so many basketball teams will inevitably fall victim to this weekend.