The road to the NCAA tournament will travel through Philadelphia.
Behind a clutch performance from junior midfield Shannon Mangini, Penn fought its way to a 10-9 overtime victory over Princeton (8-5, 5-1) Wednesday at Franklin Field.
The win clinched a share of the Ivy League title for the Quakers (8-4, 6-0 Ivy) — their seventh straight — and the right to host the Ancient Eight postseason tournament.
“This was definitely a huge win for us,” Mangini said. “We knew coming in that this was for the Ivy title.”
“I was very proud with how clean we were — that has been a problem for us all year,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “[Only] seven turnovers really made me happy, and that’s why I think we stuck with this game and won.”
Mangini had the overtime winner, her third goal of the game, off a free-position with 2:16 in the second period of overtime.
“[Mangini] is a great eight-meter shooter, so I was glad when the call was made that [she] was one who was taking it,” Corbett said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson sealed the victory with a big save before the Red and Blue ran out the clock.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Ferguson said. “Every overtime game we’ve been in we’ve won, so I was confident if anything.”
The Quakers would have never even been in overtime without key plays from Mangini.
Princeton scored three unanswered goals after falling behind for the first time all game to take a 9-7 lead.
After hitting the post on a free-position late in the game, Mangini broke up Princeton’s clear attempt and senior attack Caroline Bunting converted a free-position on the ensuing possession — one of four goals for Bunting.
Mangini then scored her second goal of the game on the next possession to tie the score, 9-9.
Neither team could find the net for the rest of regulation.
“[Mangini] had a great game all the way around — defensively, offensively, draw controls,” Corbett said.
The Quakers had to play catch-up for much of the game. Penn came back from five deficits and didn’t get its first lead until nearly 40 minutes had elapsed.
But no deficit was more pressing than the 9-7 hole the Quakers faced before Mangini’s heroics.
According to Mangini, the team’s resiliency should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the program.
“Everyone on Penn lacrosse just gives 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. And it didn’t matter if we were down six goals, we were never going to give up,” she said.
The Quakers can wrap up the Ivy League title outright with a win at Brown on Saturday in their Ivy finale. A loss would mean that Penn would share the title with the winner of the upcoming Princeton-Dartmouth game.
“Brown is a great team, and we have to go in there and we have to play to win,” Corbett said. “And that’s what we want to do, we want to win [the conference] outright.”