The stage is set for Penn women’s lacrosse.
Last game of the season. A share of the Ivy regular season title on the line. On the road against one of the better teams in the Ancient Eight.
When No. 15 Penn (9-4, 5-1 Ivy) takes the trip north to Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend to face Cornell (7-7, 4-2), there will be a lot on the line for both teams.
“We know what’s on the line for Saturday,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “It’s becoming a champion and becoming a second seed [in the Ivy League tournament].“
The Quakers enter the contest on a two-game winning streak, dominating lesser Ivy foes. Over the past week, the Red and Blue took out Brown on the road by a score of 12-6 and then followed that up with a 17-4 rout of Columbia.
Needless to say, Penn is pumped up and ready to go for this one.
“People are bringing a lot of energy to practice, working hard and bringing out the best in each other,” senior midfield Tory Bensen said. “That’s coming from everyone, the injured players, the starters, the people who come off the bench, the coaches. It’s really just everyone here is working really hard to get [the win].”
One key will be the continuation of the offensive momentum the Quakers have built up since their loss to Princeton.
Producing consistent offense has been a problem for Penn throughout the season, though the team has found success against Ivy League opponents. The Quakers are averaging 10.67 goals per game in league games, and just 7.29 in their nonconference games.
Against Columbia, the Red and Blue found a way to get everyone involved. Eight different Penn players scored goals, led by six from Bensen and a hat trick from sophomore midfield Nina Corcoran.
“The important takeaway was that we started off slow [against Columbia], but being able to turn it on was good to see,” senior defense Lydia Miller said. “Definitely a confidence booster moving into C ornell.”
As always, a solid defensive effort will be the backbone to Penn’s success as the Quakers seek to limit junior attack Lindsay Toppe — the Ivy League’s second-highest scorer — and the rest of a Big Red offense that has scored 10.36 goals per game this season.
Outside of Toppe, Cornell boasts a pair of 20-goal scorers in freshman attack Catherine Ellis and senior attack Rachel Moody. In addition, sophomore Emily Tripodi ranks third in the Ivy League with 23 assists this season.
“They have very good challengers and cutters, so defensively you have to be prepared for both,” Miller said. “Attack-wise , if we have the ball movement that we had [against Columbia], we should be fine.”
For Cornell, a victory would shake up the seeding in the Ivy League tournament, as the loss would drop Penn into a three-way tie with Cornell and Harvard at 5-2, assuming Harvard defeats Dartmouth.
“[Cornell has] a lot riding on it too with their seeding in the tournament,” Corbett said. “But we want to become Ivy League champions, and it’s in our hands.”
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