Once again, the Quakers couldn’t tame the Wildcats.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Franklin Field, No. 12 Penn women’s lacrosse fell to No. 6 Northwestern, 7-2, in a defensive contest that highlighted the Red and Blue’s scoring troubles against the higher-ranked opponents.
Penn (6-3) is now 1-12 all-time against the Wildcats (8-3), with the Quakers’ lone victory coming in the 2008 regular season. And while both schools feature completely different teams since facing each other three times in the NCAA tournament from 2007-09, the balance of power still hasn’t shifted in the Red and Blue’s favor.
“I think one-on-one we can hang with them,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “They don’t have as many threats as they’ve had in the past so their strategy is to have ball control.
“That’s how they’re going to win these games — and you better get the lead.”
Penn started off the game red-hot with a goal by freshman attack Sarah Barcia on a pass from sophomore midfield Nina Corcoran barely two minutes into the game. But the Quakers didn’t get past Northwestern goalie Bridget Bianco again in the first period and went into halftime trailing, 3-1.
“If we had taken care of the ball and really worked them in the first couple of possessions and not gotten behind, it would have been a different game,” Corbett said. “They tend to sit on the ball when they get the lead and then that’s tough.”
The Red and Blue’s offensive troubles didn’t vanish in the second half, as the Wildcats quickly scored two more goals while steadily controlling the pace of the game.
Sophomore midfield Lely DeSimone reduced Northwestern’s lead to 5-2 with 23:23 left to play, but the slim hopes of a comeback were dashed once again by Penn’s inability to take advantage of its rare trips inside the Wildcats’ half of the field.
“We knew what to expect defensively from them and I think our team didn’t work their defense enough,” Corbett said. “We kind of went for the first thing rather than working it and looking for good opportunities and that was disappointing on our attack side.”
The lone bright spot for Penn was its defense, which managed to force 11 turnovers on the day and limited Northwestern to seven goals after giving up 13 and 15 goals against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Maryland, respectively. Junior goalie Lucy Ferguson once again had a strong performance, with nine saves.
“I did think we caused some turnovers and gave ourselves an opportunity on attack with several draw controls,” Corbett said. “So I was definitely pleased with that.”
The team’s attention will now be turned to the Ivy League, as the conference-leading Quakers’ remaining schedule features five matchups against Ancient Eight foes. The Red and Blue will travel to Hanover, N.H., next weekend to take on Dartmouth at 12 p.m. on Saturday.