Wildcats pounce on Penn women's lacrosse
No. 1 Northwestern gets off to a quick 5-0 start and proves too much for the No. 8 Quakers
April 9, 2012, 12:22 am · Updated April 11, 2012, 12:14 am·
Jing Ran | DP
It was another learning experience for the young women’s lacrosse team Sunday.
Facing Northwestern, the Kentucky of women’s college lacrosse, the Quakers could not pull off the upset at Franklin Field.
In a game in which Penn looked overmatched from the beginning, the Wildcats smothered the Quakers, 14-6. The defending national champions left Philadelphia with their spotless record intact, while the Quakers were dropped to a mortal 6-4 record.
The Wildcats (12-0) have speed and talent galore, and they showed it early, netting five goals before Penn (6-4, 4-0 Ivy) could manage even one.
After the fast Northwestern start, the Quakers never threatened to snatch the lead from the nation’s No. 1 team.
While no one will question their effort, the Red and Blue were simply outclassed all over the field. Though many of the game statistics were lopsided, perhaps the most telling was time of possession.
“We were on defense for a good 55 minutes today, at least, and that’s a true statement,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “We never had a possession longer than 30 seconds down there and we turned it over every time we got down there. I have to give kudos to my defense. I’m proud of the defense for doing what they did.”
Penn was helped by the return of Maddie Poplawski from a concussion. She gave the Quakers a measure of stability in the midfield and on defense to go along with a team-high two goals.“She’s become a huge player for us this year and I’m really proud of her,” Corbett said of Poplawski. “I’m glad that she’s back. We need her.”
After the game, many of the players were visibly frustrated and Poplawski admitted that Sunday’s game was a tough one for her return to the lineup. Both she and her coach mentioned turnovers as the Quakers’ key issue of the season.
“We found new ways to turn the ball over that I’d never seen before,” Corbett said. “Really frustrating. Obviously we were playing against the number one team in the country and you can’t make those mistakes.”
Penn turned the ball over 16 times compared to Northwestern’s 11 giveaways. The Quakers also struggled to corral ground balls, picking up just 11 to Northwestern’s 21.
“We’ve been plagued by turnovers that we are bringing on ourselves,” Poplawski said. “We were working hard but we just weren’t getting onto the ball especially when it was hitting the ground.”
The Quakers and their coaching staff now face the challenge of learning from this game without letting it shake them too much. Dartmouth, a team that is undefeated in the Ivy League thus far, is up next for Penn.
The Red and Blue will hit the practice field on Tuesday and try to get back on track after Sunday’s tough loss.
“For us, the Ivies are what’s important,” Corbett admitted. “We’d like to pull off a top-five win and we have the schedule to do that but we haven’t proven that we can control the ball.”