When Penn women’s lacrosse plays fast from the second the opening faceoff is won, its chances of losing are pretty remote. Such was the case on a frigid Wednesday night at Franklin Field.
Although it took a little bit of time to get the Quakers’ offense rolling — 12 and a half minutes, to be exact — Penn (2-1) was nothing short of dominant in its 15-8 win over Rutgers. Senior attack Iris Williamson netted the first goal for the Red and Blue, starting a streak of seven unanswered goals that put the home team up, 7-1, at the intermission.
Perhaps most notable about Penn’s first-half performance was its ferocity — something that was almost entirely missing in last week’s 12-6 road loss to No. 10 Duke. The loss saw the Quakers’ ranking fall from No. 14 to No. 19 by the Inside Lacrosse Poll.
“We played a little scared against Duke. We weren’t running at full speed through anything, which was really, really frustrating,” coach Karin Corbett explained.
Corbett’s team could not be kept down for long, though.
“One of our goals was to attack from the start,” senior midfielder Nina Corcoran said. “I think that set the momentum for the whole game that we were going hard to goal, and when you drive hard, it opens up cutters.”
And driving hard to goal was certainly what Penn did. In the first half alone, six different players scored. Senior Nina Corcoran, sophomore Caroline Cummings, senior Lely DeSimone, junior Sarah Barcia and sophomore Alex Condon each added one goal apiece while Williamson contributed two points to solidify the Quakers’ wide lead over the Scarlett Knights heading into halftime.
“That was huge for our attack today, putting up 15 goals and everyone scoring,” said Corcoran, whose six assists were just one shy of the program’s single game assist record.
The offensive fireworks continued into the second half, as Williamson and DeSimone notched two more goals each to put Penn up, 11-1. Then, Rutgers offense started to wake up, winning six draw controls and scoring three unanswered goals to bring the score to 11-4.
“I think where we fell apart a little bit was ground balls and fighting for those ground balls,” Corbett said. “So I think we have to come up with those draws, so we have the ball more on our offense.”
Though the Quakers and Scarlet Knights would trade scores for the rest of the contest, the visitors trailed by no fewer than seven goals for the remainder of the second half. Looking ahead, the win provided a much-needed confidence boost to the Quakers as they prepare to open their Ancient Eight slate against Brown at home on Saturday.
Last season, the tilt with the Bears (2-1) was a smooth win for Penn thanks to offensive fireworks provided by then-senior Tory Bensen and then-junior Nina Corcoran, who each contributed three goals.
This year, Brown should pose less of an offensive threat, as they lost Alyssa DiBona and Janie Gion — two of their most prolific point scorers and only team members to earn second team All-Ivy or honorable mention All-Ivy nods in 2015 — to graduation.
Penn isn’t thinking too much about the holes in its opponent’s roster, though.
“It’s coming out and dictating the tempo both offensively and defensively off the draw and really taking it to ‘em,” Corbett said.
“We play well when we go hard and when we can play fast.”
So as Penn opens its Ivy League schedule, and again when it hits the road for games against Saint Joseph’s on March 8 and Georgetown on March 12, it will be focusing on playing fast and loose — the kind of lacrosse the Quakers’ know they play best.
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