Senior midfield Tory Bensen scored six goals in Wednesday’s 17-4 trouncing of Columbia, setting a new career high in the process.

Credit: Michele Ozer

Two down. One to go.

After its loss to Princeton last week, the No. 15 Penn women’s lacrosse team was in need of three straight league wins to pull into a first-place regular season tie with the Tigers. After Wednesday’s 17-4 destruction of Columbia, only one remains.

Despite a slow start, the Quakers (9-4, 5-1 Ivy) pulled away late in the first half to dispatch the lowly Lions (3-10, 0-7). The result was certainly expected for the Red and Blue against an opponent that has struggled to put together any success against Ivy League opponents.

“You get nervous with a midweek game against Columbia, who’s struggling a little bit, as a coach,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said.

“Carly Churchill, a senior, spoke before the game and said: ‘We can’t think about the future and we can’t think about the past, it’s about today and what we do today,’ and that was a great way to get them excited for this game.”

Penn opened up with a quick goal on a free position shot from sophomore midfield Brooke Kiley — the first of her career — just 39 seconds into the game. The Lions would respond quickly, however, and stay within one goal through the game’s first 24 minutes.

“We started off a little bit slow, I felt like we weren’t moving that well on attack and picked that up,” Corbett said. “We talked about shooting where we thought their goalie was a little bit weaker. We had a good shooting day.”

And once the Quakers started to heat up, they really turned up the tempo. Ahead just 3-2 with 5:54 left in the first half, Penn poured in three goals in a three-minute span to go into the half ahead, 6-2.

“At first they were slowing the ball down and I said, ‘It’s not about their tempo it’s about our tempo,’” Corbett said. “And I think we picked up our tempo and really attacked them. That’s our job to set the tempo.”

The second half began just as the first half had ended, as the Red and Blue notched four goals in the first five and a half minutes. The Quakers went on to finish the game on a 14-2 run and saw eight different players score goals.

“It’s always great to get everyone in,” Corbett said. “They just work so hard, and you hope that you can have a game like this a year or two, where they all really feel like it’s worth it. That they get that opportunity to represent Penn on the field.”

Though many Quakers got involved, the biggest impact came from senior midfield Tory Bensen, who notched six goals on just six shots. Bensen — the team’s leading scorer — has 28 goals on the season, surpassing her previous season-high of 23 from last year.

“A lot of energy came from the bench, the defense was coming up with stops, Lucy [Ferguson] was coming up with saves,” Bensen said. “So it was really a full-field effort — we definitely couldn’t have done it without all 11 people on the field and 31 people on the bench.”

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