The defense has gone missing and the Quakers need to find it in a hurry.
The women’s lacrosse team will make the always arduous trek to No. 18 Cornell this weekend to face yet another nationally ranked team. Penn currently owns a flawless record in the Ivy League, but on paper, this league matchup will be their toughest to date.
Coach Karin Brower Corbett admitted her team doesn’t particularly like traveling to upstate New York to face the Big Red.
“It’s a tough place to play,” she said. “They are a tough team and they are one of the teams to beat in the league.”
After a disappointing season last year, Cornell’s 2012 edition boasts nine seniors, led by captain Jessi Steinberg, who was awarded Ivy Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring nine goals in two games last weekend.
Statistically, the Big Red sit above Penn in both scoring offense and defense. They rank 12th in the country with 14.7 goals per game and 16th in defense, allowing nine. The Quakers are in 26th and 29th, respectively.
The Quakers are looking to rebound following their defeat at the hands of Georgetown on Wednesday, when they were plagued by sloppy play and a lack of team defense. If the miscues aren’t ironed out by Saturday, the Big Red are a team that will be able to take advantage.
“[Cornell] is playing very well, and we’re making some young mistakes that will hurt us if we continue to do that on Saturday,” Corbett said. “They’re a veteran team, and we need to play like a veteran team.”
Once again, Penn’s young defense will be under pressure to perform and play beyond its years.
While a good amount of league play remains, the loser of Saturday’s matchup will no longer be in control of its own destiny to win a regular season Ivy title.
Corbett understands that an effort similar to the one against Georgetown just won’t cut it against teams in the upper half of the Ivy League.
“It’s a really big weekend that will determine whether we are still in the hunt,” she said. “Even with the loss we would still be in the hunt, but we would have to count on other people to lose. So I’d rather control our own destiny by coming out on Saturday and winning.
“We definitely can do it. But we’ve got to play better than we did [against Georgetown].”