W. Lax rebounds from shelling
Former Columbia coach Kerri Whitaker tastes victory against Lions as Penn nets biggest win of the season
April 4, 2011, 1:06 am · Updated April 4, 2011, 12:00 am·
The women’s lacrosse team is quick to forgive and forget.
Just two days after getting crushed by No. 1 Maryland, 16-4, Friday night, the Quakers rebounded with their best win of the year, beating Columbia, 13-6, and extending their Ivy League winning streak to 33 games.
It was Penn assistant coach Kerri Whitaker’s first trip back to Columbia since serving as the Lions’ head coach for nine seasons. She was replaced by former Penn assistant Liz Kittleman.
“I was looking forward to going back ... but it was a mixture of feeling very familiar and very weird,” Whitaker said. “But once the game started, those feelings just disappeared.”
Penn is 14-0 all-time against Columbia, so Whitaker never saw a victory against the Red and Blue as the Lions’ head coach.
“I’m a competitive person, so it always feels good to walk off the field with a win,” she said. “It was great to see our players fighting for second chances and rebounding from a tough night in Maryland on Friday. A bunch of different players contributed and that always feels good as a coach.”
But Penn head coach Karin Brower Corbett and Whitaker agreed that having the former Columbia coach on the Penn sidelines did not give the Quakers an advantage.
“They’re a different team,” Corbett said. “Today, it was really about us and how we played.”
Junior attack Erin Brennan led the way for the Quakers, scoring a career-high five goals.
“We had fun out there,” Brennan said. “We tried to push it, and we were able to come up with draws and just move a lot more on offense.”
Sophomore midfield Maddie Poplawski and freshman midfield Tory Bensen added two goals apiece for the Quakers.
Corbett, Whitaker and Brennan emphasized, however, that the victory was truly a team effort, as every single Penn player saw time in the game.
Corbett said distributing minutes was a goal of the team entering the game, but it would only be attainable if Penn gained control early.
“So many kids work so hard, and they haven’t been able to get in games,” Corbett said. “Everybody played, and we were excited that we could do that.”
After the loss to Maryland, Corbett said she was happy with how her team responded. The Red and Blue had just seven turnovers against Columbia, after giving up 12 to the Terrapins.
“Every mistake that we made we paid for,” Corbett said of the loss to the Terps.
While Ivy League play is important to the Quakers, the NCAA tournament is always in the back of their minds, and Friday’s loss will have an impact on Penn’s seeding come the postseason.
It will also serve as a measuring stick for the type of performance the Quakers will need if they want to take out No. 2 Northwestern next weekend.
“The loss to Maryland was a good lesson for my team,” Corbett said. “If we really want to win a national championship, we have to play at a different level.”