Red and Blue roll past Rutgers
Erin Brennan seals fifth-straight win with late second-half goal in New Jersey
March 17, 2011, 5:18 am · Updated March 17, 2011, 12:00 am·
Though Penn women’s lacrosse coach Karin Brower Corbett called Penn’s 9-6 victory over Rutgers Tuesday “an odd game,” she was clearly not referring to the outcome, as winning is nothing new for the Penn women, who entered Wednesday’s match 4-0.
The strangeness has more to do with the refereeing, she said. “Both teams were worried about creating fast breaks,” Corbett explained. “We could’ve had more shots and more opportunities, but there were so many cards.” The officials handed out four yellow cards in each half, with the Quakers receiving three in the first and one in the second.
“It didn’t seem like the cards were worthy,” Corbett said. “On both ends.”
Apart from questionable officiating, the game was distinct given the concentration of Penn’s goals in the early going. Prior to meeting the Scarlet Knights, the Quakers had struggled to take the lead in the initial 30 minutes, relying instead on their ability to come back at the end. But this time around, they were more focused from the get go, scoring six of their nine goals in the first half.
“We really wanted to come out from the start,” said junior attack Erin Brennan, who scored twice for the Red and Blue, ending the game with three points overall. “We knew we needed to take them seriously. They had some pretty close games against Ivy teams.”
Before Wednesday’s match, the Scarlet Knights (5-2), had seen both Cornell and Princeton, beating the Big Red 11-7 and losing 9-8 in overtime to the Tigers. Corbett, whose team has not faced Rutgers since 2005, called the opposing squad “very athletic,” “scrappy” and “fast.”
“They are a good young team,” she added. “They’ve gotten better each year.”
Though Penn managed to close the first half, 6-4 — the Quakers saw goals from six different players before the whistle, including a debut net from freshman Allie Martin — things tightened up to 7-6 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
“Defensively, it was not one of our better games,” Corbett said. “We put them on the line too many times, but the attack really stepped it up and shot well.”
Luckily for the Quakers, the Scarlet Knights were just 1-for-6 on free-position shots, their single successful conversion carried out by junior Lindsey Watts with 8:35 left to play.
Turnovers, too, posed an issue for Penn.
“In the second half unfortunately, we had some stupid uncaused turnovers,” Brennan explained, “but luckily, Emily [Leitner] made some great saves and the defense made some great stops.”
Despite Penn’s pregame strategy to shut down Rutgers midfielder Marlena Welsh, the senior was able to penetrate the Quakers’ defense, adding three goals to her 18 total points entering the match.
“She’s a great player,” Corbett said of Welsh, also calling Penn’s inability to keep her away from the net “disappointing.”
“We knew what she was going to do and we didn’t execute,” Corbett added. “We need to play better against someone as good as that in the future.”
The Quakers will have a shot to work out those kinks, and extend their 30-game Ivy winning streak when they take on Yale (1-4) for a noon match Saturday at Franklin Field.