It’s always important to give your fans a good show. This is especially true for Penn women’s lacrosse, as they will be playing in front of generations of the program’s past champions.
This Saturday has long been marked on the calendar, as the No. 12 Quakers (5-1, 0-1 Ivy) will be welcoming both their own alumni and No. 16 Duke to Franklin Field. Additionally, now marking a full decade, they will be celebrating the in-conference-undefeated 2007 team, who pulled off an incredible NCAA tournament run culminating in a Final Four appearance.
Discussing the impact of fans, junior Alex Condon expressed how much their presence will mean to the team.
“It’s going to be so cool, just being able to see the support from past players coming out to our game,” she said. “I know the weather isn’t going to be that great, but just having them there to cheer us on is special because they’ve been there before and they still have so much love and appreciation for the team.”
Penn will be entering this non-conference matchup with plenty of momentum, stringing together two wins and having not dropped a single game outside the Ivy League. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed, as the team picked up accolades such as eighth best defense in the country by allowing only eight goals a game.
Regarding the team’s success so far, Condon believes the squad is still improving day by day, and we’ve yet to see them at their best.
“I think we have a lot of raw talent on the team and as the season has been progressing, we’ve really been able to gel as a team and understand each other as players. It lets us go out and put together a uniform game where we are all on the same page and competing and working hard together,” Condon said. “We are ready to get better each game and each practice, which helps us improve as the season moves along.”
However, the Blue Devils (4-3, 0-3 ACC) will not go down easily, and will be looking to turn around a three game losing streak. They have shown flashes of brilliance, especially when taking down the former No. 12 Stanford last month, and they bested Penn 12-6 in Durham this past season.
Penn will have to keep an eye out on draws, as Duke checks in at 12th in Division I for draw controls per game with 15.1 and posts a tally of 106-57 over their opponents. It is interesting to note that the Blue Devils’ offense is fairly balanced with four players netting in the double digits.
As far as scouting the opponent, Condon said, “They have a strong offense and defense, so they will score and come up with big stops, so we can’t let that bother us or discourage us.”
The Quakers offense has at times been a one man army, with Condon leading the charge. As the primary source of the team’s goals with 19, good enough for third in the Ivies, she is certainly expected to make an impact once again around the cage. However, she also expressed her desires to adopt a more balanced playing style, and will attempt to redefine herself a bit this weekend.
“Personally, I think I need to not be so one dimensional. My favorite thing to do on the field is to cut to the middle and grab a quick feed and score that way, which is easy for other teams to scout and then cover. For this game, I’m definitely going to try to work on being able to facilitate plays off the ball, move the ball quickly and look for assists. I also want to contribute on defense so it’s not just about my offensive performance: it’s about my performance as a whole all over the field,” Condon said.
This weekend will be another tough test for the Quakers, but perhaps, with a little encouragement from old friends in the stands, they can continue their dominant run.
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