Late goal saves the streak
Waclawik puts in game-winner with 17 seconds left to extend Ivy League win streak to 30 games
March 14, 2011, 12:02 am·
It wasn’t quite a buzzer beater, but it sure was close.
Coming off a Harvard timeout with just 17 seconds left on the clock, the Penn women’s lacrosse team’s designed play unraveled. But senior attack Bridget Waclawik came up big for the Quakers.
With her second goal of the game, Waclawik led No. 4 Penn to a 9-8 victory over Harvard (1-3, 1-2 Ivy) Saturday, notching its first League win this season.
“It ended up not working, what we were going to do,” sophomore midfield Maddie Poplawski explained. “Bridget had a really great finish at the end. I think that the goalie came up pretty high and she buried it, and we were all pretty excited.”
The win didn’t come easy, however.
In the opening minutes of the game, Harvard came out with a bang, netting three consecutive goals. The Crimson’s Micaela Cyr scored two unassisted goals in the first nine minutes of play, while teammate Jenn VanderMeulen — last season’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year — converted a free position shot to put Harvard ahead, 3-0.
“They have five kids that are very good challengers,” Penn coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “This is a tough team to play. They have a lot of threats, they have a lot speed, and they definitely came to win today.”
With all that offensive production right off the first draw, the Quakers weren’t able to maintain possession of the ball for the first 10 minutes of play. Although Alison Tatios put Penn on the board with her eight-meter goal seconds later, the Quakers were down, 6-3, at the half.
“It wasn’t until the second half when we really made the change and made sure we were on the girls we were supposed to be on, really helping each other out,” Poplawski said. “And I think everyone just turned. We said we weren’t going to lose the game.”
The Quakers’ defensive changes worked.
Goalkeeper Emily Lietner made five of her seven saves in the second period and held the Crimson to just two goals after the half. The offense went to work as well with Penn registering four unanswered goals, the last of which came from senior co-captain Giulia Giordano. That score gave the Quakers their first lead of the game with just 2:57 on the clock.
“They really showed a lot of character and a lot of heart,” Corbett said.
But with time winding down, Penn’s defense fouled Jess Halpern, a junior and 2008 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, giving her the opportunity to tie the game. Halpern put the ball past Leitner with just 1:56 remaining, tying the game at eight apiece.
A year removed from a season-ending ACL tear, it was Waclawik that had the final say and sealed the win for Penn. The Quakers got possession of the final draw control and wound the clock down to give Corbett and her team a satisfying victory.