If people were initially bearish on Penn women’s lacrosse’s potential to reclaim their Ivy League championship, they may need to start rethinking things. The Quakers traveled to Princeton in a mid-week conference matchup and came out triumphant with a 12-7 victory.
Clearly, the Red and Blue came to play. Just six minutes into the game, No. 14 Penn (10-3, 4-1 Ivy) had already scored four straight goals. A few minutes later, the 11th-ranked Tigers (9-4, 4-1) came roaring back and went on a 3-1 run over the next 20 minutes. Penn would net two more before halftime for a 7-3 lead.
If there was one contest where Penn could not squander an early lead, tonight’s game was it. Over the next eight minutes, Princeton would tally another two points to Penn’s one and the game became a tightly contested 8-5 affair.
With a little under 25 minutes left in the game, Princeton clearly still had a chance to come back. Another goal for the Tigers could have given them the momentum to rally. A goal for Penn would have stopped the opposition dead in its tracks. Fortunately for the Red and Blue, sophomore attack Caroline Cummings delivered, scoring her second of the night in the process and giving Penn a 9-5 lead.
Just over a minute later, Nina Corcoran set up fellow senior attack Catherine Dickinson for the latter’s second goal of the game. That assist from Corcoran marked the 109th of her career, breaking Penn’s record for career assists. If that was not special enough, Corcoran would beat that performance with another assist, putting herself in the record books once again for most assists in a single season with 41.
“She’s been great. She’s just a playmaker,” coach Karin Corbett said, noting that Princeton tried several times in vain to double up on Corcoran. “She is confident driving herself and finishing. She’s the catalyst for our attack and really in charge out there and is our quarterback and she’s just playing great.”
Princeton would eke out two more goals before time expired but the damage had already been done: the Quakers had ended Princeton’s 13-game conference win streak and trampled their Ivy rivals for 60 minutes. Penn won 12-7 and put on one of its best showings of the season.
“There are certain teams that we really get up for. We had a great win tonight and a great game and we need to play 60 minutes like this against other people,” Corbett said.
Flying under the radar throughout the season, sophomore midfielder Alex Condon has been a pleasant surprise recently: her hat trick tonight markets her fourth in her last four games. One would be remiss, however, to be impressed only by the sophomore’s finishing ability, according to Corbett.
“She has really blossomed this season to become a complete midfielder. She’s playing really defensively as well,” Corbett said. “She is a great finisher and is somebody who we’re really confident in when she has the ball in her hands.”
As Corbett previously mentioned, Wednesday’s contest again Princeton marked a full team effort from start to finish. While the offense constantly earns praise, the defense did its job stopping a potent Princeton attack.
Heading into tonight, the Tigers offense averaged 10.25 goals per game. With a team defensive effort and a standout performance from junior goalkeeper Britt Brown — in just her second game back from a concussion — Penn held the opposition to just seven goals.
“Princeton has a lot of threats on the attack and I thought we played as a unit well and helped each other a lot and play good, solid 1-on-1 [defense]. Brittany had some really key saves at important times. All over the field it was a real team effort and a complete game for us for the 60 which is really important as we continue to move forward.”
Moving forward, Penn cannot afford to let up. Certainly, beating the reigning Ancient Eight champions was a sign that the Red and Blue will contend if given the chance in the Ivy League tournament. The hard part, at the moment, will be for the Quakers to get themselves into the four-team tournament.
The Red and Blue have a brief three-day respite before traveling again to New Haven to take on Yale on Saturday. They will finish their regular season campaign the following Saturday when they travel to Cornell.
“We need to play Yale to win,” Corbett said. “We have two tough games ahead of us and we have to take each one as it comes. I think after the Dartmouth game every one has become a must win for us and we need to play that way.”
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