TOWSON, Md. — It's Nina Corcoran's world, and we're all just living in it.
In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the senior attacker's seven points led the way as No. 7 Penn women’s lacrosse cruised past Wagner, 17-7. The 17 goals were the most for the Red and Blue in an NCAA game, breaking the previous mark of 16 from the 2008 Tournament, in addition to being their highest total of the season.
It was a marquee performance for Corcoran, who set the Ivy League career assists record (125) and a new program single-season points mark (82) for the Quakers with three goals and four assists on the day.
"The career thing, I don't really care about that as long as our team is winning and we keep going forward," Corcoran said. "We're going to take it one game at a time."
Corcoran's seven points are the most ever for a Penn player in an NCAA Tournament game. She also scored her 201st career point, becoming just the fourth player in program history to pass the milestone.
"We used to laugh and say, 'There's a blessing and a curse for Nina,' in that she always looking for the feed," Penn coach Karin Corbett said. "Last year, there's nobody on her and she still wouldn't go to the goal, always looking to give the ball to somebody.
"And I think this year she's really upped her game in reading her defender, 'Well that defender's looking for me to feed, so now I'm going to take her,' which really makes her a huge threat. And I really do believe she's one of the main reasons that we are here."
After struggling through some slow offensive play in the Ivy League Tournament, Penn (14-4) didn’t wait to get on the board Friday as senior Catherine Dickinson found the net just a minute and a half into the game — thanks in part to Corcoran’s 53rd assist of the year.
Early on, however, the Quakers struggled with keeping a lead. Three minutes into the game, it was 1-1 after the Seahawks’ Tori McGrath got a shot past Penn goalie Britt Brown. Corcoran was quick to respond with her 24th goal of the year — but less than a minute later Wagner (10-9) was able to knot things up again.
This time, the Red and Blue were determined to stay ahead. Corcoran scored again shortly thereafter, followed by pair of goals from sophomore Alex Condon. The Seahawks responded with two scores of their own, making it 5-4 before senior Iris Williamson and junior Sarah Barcia netted a pair of scores within 30 seconds of one another, putting the Quakers up, 7-4.
"I thought that the [shots] that we had were pretty good," Corbett said. "During that time, I felt like we forced some. So I felt like we should have had a bigger lead in the first half."
Fueling the run for Penn was the draw — the Red and Blue won 11 of 14 first-half faceoffs, a huge reversal after losing 10 of 11 to Cornell in the Ivy Tournament on Sunday. And the Quakers were efficient with their possessions, scoring eight times on 10 first-half shots as Wagner’s goalie failed to save a single attempt.
"[Emilia Lopez-One] really controlled that in the center today, even though they put a couple different people out there," Corbett said. "That was the big difference, who was controlling it, and it was Emilia today."
Each team would find the net once more in the half — including Condon for her third goal of the half — but Penn’s 8-5 advantage was decisive at the break.
Six minutes of scoreless play followed the break — until Corcoran resumed her onslaught, recording her third goal of the game.
Over the next eight minutes, things were relatively quiet as the teams exchanged a pair of goals but nothing else.
Condon scored her fourth goal of the game with 15:25 to play — her 41 goals on the year are sixth-most in program history — to make it 11-6. Two minutes later, following the Seahawks’ eighth goal of the game, Williamson completed her own hat trick, giving Penn a 12-7 edge heading into the final 13 minutes.
The Quakers netted five more goals in the last six minutes — including Corcoran's third and fourth assists and Dickinson's third and fourth goals — extending their lead to the final score of 17-7.
"It's really hard to mark multiple players when four, five, six girls are scoring on the attack," Condon said of her squad that featured five players who scored multiple goals on the day. "I think it makes it really hard for the defenders to stop that — it makes our attack dangerous."
The win left the Red and Blue able to sit back and watch as Old Dominion and Towson face off Friday evening to determine who will take the Quakers on in Sunday's second-round matchup.
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