Penn tries to rebound against Brown after its first Ivy loss in five years
April 22, 2011, 2:09 am · Updated April 22, 2011, 12:00 am·
The Penn women’s lacrosse team has 23 players on its roster. Not one has ever taken on the task the Quakers face this weekend.
For the first time in five years, Penn will attempt to rebound from an Ivy League loss, after Princeton snapped its 34-game league winning streak Wednesday. The No. 18 Quakers head to Brown with their fifth-consecutive Ivy title on the line.
“You don’t play to defend the title, you play to take it,” freshman defense Lydia Miller said. “We always need to have that mentality, streak or no streak.”
If Penn (9-4, 5-1 Ivy) beats the Bears on Saturday, it automatically clinches at least a share of the league championship and still has a chance of hosting the Ivy tournament in May.
But this time around, the Quakers don’t control their own destiny.
“We didn’t play well [Wednesday], and we put ourselves in this situation, which is more stressful,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “If we can win on Saturday, then we share the title with somebody, but it’s out of our hands.”
Corbett said the team never talked or thought about the streak as a group in preparing for games, and with its end, the team has even more pressure to win in Providence.
“There’s more stress now because we have to win on Saturday,” Corbett said.
Sophomore attack Caroline Bunting and freshman defense Lydia Miller echoed their coach’s sentiment, saying the end of the streak doesn’t change how much they want to win every game they play.
And as the team comes off its first Ivy loss in five years, it certainly can’t sleep on this weekend’s matchup.
Despite Penn’s 19-5 victory over Brown (6-7, 1-4) last season and the Bears’ current sub-.500 record, Brown is one of the top offenses in the league and is 4-3 at home.
“You never know who is going to show up, so we have to take them seriously,” Bunting said.
The Bears rank second in the Ancient Eight in goals per game with 12.15 and recently lost to No. 3 Duke by just one goal in double overtime. Penn sits in seventh in the league with 8.77 goals per game.
The Red and Blue have struggled to score throughout the season and have gotten behind early, a trend they are hoping to fix down the stretch.
Corbett said all her players need to “take it up a notch,” adding that turnovers, shooting opportunities and playing with urgency are the areas in which her team must improve the most.
“We need to be more conscious of what we’re doing on the field,” Bunting said.
And as disappointing as the players’ first career Ivy loss was, they are not letting it get in the way of continuing their Ivy dominance.
“We have to shake it off and not let it change our game,” Bunting said.
“We need to use [the loss] as fuel to come out and fight in this game and be mad at ourselves and be mad at each other for the mistakes we made,” Miller added.
Saturday’s must-win game is Penn’s final Ivy match of the season before the Ivy tournament begins May 6.
“I really hope that we can put a complete game together and play with some fight and some intensity that we’re going to need to win,” Corbett said. “We have to come to play and we have to come to win.”