Track and field’s indoor season may be one of the shortest in college sports, but it’s nearing a dramatic finish as Penn prepares for the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championships this weekend.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s February. Lacrosse season has barely started. There’s no way the Penn men and women are playing meaningful games already. Well, if I’m as good of a mind reader as I have claimed, then all of you would be wrong.
Four Ivy League schools, four different events, one trophy. Classic. Penn gymnastics will travel to New Haven, Connecticut this weekend to take on Yale, Brown and Cornell in the conference’s decisive meet.
Hope has blossomed into opportunity for Penn men’s basketball, but the Quakers still have to seize it. Two weeks ago, hope was the only thing the Red and Blue (11-12, 4-6 Ivy) had: at 0-6 and last place in the conference, they seemed all but eliminated. Since, Penn has looked unstoppable in four straight wins, three of them wire-to-wire. Now, the fourth-place Quakers have an opportunity to play their way into the Ivy League tournament and a potential NCAA bid.
First would be head-to-head. Penn won the first meeting between the two teams as it kickstarted its comeback in the league from rock bottom to fourth just two weekends later — but the two teams meet again this Saturday in a high-stakes clash at Columbia. If the Lions were to win, but still end the season on the same record as the Quakers, the scenario would have to go to the next tiebreaker.
This weekend, a number of winter sports teams wrap up their seasons with Ivy League championships. While women's swimming and men's squash finished up last week, their opposite-gender counterparts along with gymnastics and indoor track and field all compete this weekend for postseason glory.
“First time I played her was when we were both nine years old,” Reeham Salah recalled. “We both just started getting into squash, so I won that match in three games, but it was tight from the beginning.” That’s a pretty good way of describing the rivalry between Penn’s Salah and Harvard’s Sabrina Sobhy.
Over the past month, the Quakers have been tearing up the indoor circuit in the six meets they have competed in since winter break. Only half of those competitions had team scoring, but a quick look at the individual results shows a Red and Blue side that has been dominant in multiple areas.
Penn women's swimming and diving was just inches away from getting their best finish ever at the Ivy League Championships last weekend, but ultimately finished fourth with 962 points.
With just a few weeks left before the inaugural Ivy League Tournament for both men's and women's basketball, both of Penn's squads will have meaningful games to come.
Freshman Ryan Betley is currently playing the best basketball of his young career, and by no coincidence at all, Penn is enjoying its best stretch of the season.
The Quakers ended the meet with their second best score of the year at 193.425, showing some of their best performances so far this season. They came away with a victory against ECAC rival William and Mary, but Kentucky took home first place.
The rookie sharpshooter played the game of his life on Friday, scoring a career-high 28, including six three-pointers at a remarkable 60 percent accuracy. He also registered seven rebounds and four assists.
Coming off a sweep of the New York schools last weekend, the Red and Blue kept their momentum going with a pair of dominant performances, blowing out Brown, 96-72, on Friday before upsetting third-place Yale, 71-55, two days later. With the wins, Penn has remarkably clawed back into fourth place in the Ivy League after being four games off not even two weeks ago.
Kicking things off on the road at Newark, Delaware this past Saturday, the No. 11 Quakers pulled out a tight 9-7 victory over a strong Delaware team. During the run of play, two Penn players manage to set career-highs for themselves en route to picking up the team’s first win of the season.
The closest thing I can compare it to is what Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp calls “Heavy Metal Football” — and well, ladies and gentlemen, what the Quakers have finally worked their way into is Heavy Metal Basketball.
It’ll be a long bus ride home for Penn women’s basketball. Across sports as a whole, many athletes hate losing more than they like winning, and that holds especially true at the elite level. And that’s exactly why this weekend isn’t as bad as it seems.
Penn women’s basketball split their second Ivy League road trip doubleheader with a win at Brown followed by their first conference loss at the hands of Yale. Despite the 61-48 defeat, the Quakers (15-7, 8-1 Ivy) still remain in sole possession of first place in the league. But that doesn’t mean they played first-place basketball this weekend.
Put the funeral pyres away — Penn men’s basketball is back. Boosted by a ridiculous 27-2 first-half run spearheaded by a career-best shooting performance from freshman shooting guard Ryan Betley, the Quakers jumped out to a 25-point first-half lead at Brown and never looked back, cruising to a 96-72 win over the Bears.
Rock-bottom after six games, even we had written this team off. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Quakers have taken the bull that is the Ivy League by the horns and is almost halfway through a Mission Impossible: going from 0-6 to finish in fourth place and make the Ivy League Tournament.
In what was arguably Penn women’s basketball’s wildest game since last year’s epic Ivy title-clinching win at Princeton, the Quakers battled back to overcome a 16-point first-quarter deficit and edge a feisty Brown squad, 71-68, to keep their dreams of Ancient Eight perfection alive. Here are our biggest takeaways from the epic contest:
One player Penn could not have lived without at Brown was junior Michelle Nwokedi. The star forward kept her team in the game all night, scoring 21 points and giving five assists in the process. It was her composure in the second and third quarters of the contest that enabled the Quakers to slowly carve out Brown’s large lead.
This Saturday, both Penn lacrosse teams will open their 2017 campaigns. For the women, this will be first test of their No. 11 preseason ranking in this year’s ILWCA poll. As has been the case in the past three years, the Quakers will start off against Delaware, in what has been a notably close rivalry of late.
Penn men’s basketball had a diamond weekend against Columbia and Cornell, winning its first two Ivy League games of the season under immense pressure. The pressure was both expected and self-imposed; the result of an 0-6 run bookended by twin loses to rival Princeton. The Quakers (9-12, 2-6 Ivy) knew that another loss meant the end to their post-season chances, and they responded with two of the most spirited performances to date.
Still undefeated in the league, the Quakers (14-6, 7-0 Ivy) are clear favorites to take another pair of wins on Friday and Saturday, but they can ill afford to take their eyes of the ball. In Brown (14-7, 5-3) they face what some might call a sleeper team, currently fourth in the league and playing some solid basketball.
After a two-week hiatus from competition, Penn women’s tennis is itching to get back on the court. This weekend will take the Quakers (1-2) south to face Virginia on Saturday and Old Dominion on Sunday.
This Sunday, Penn gymnastics will travel to College Park, Maryland to compete in its third consecutive quad meet of the season. The Quakers will face off against Maryland, Kentucky, and William and Mary. With only a week separating the Red and Blue from the Ivy Classic, this weekend’s tournament will be crucial for Penn to assure confidence in the lineup before the ultra-important conference meet.
The Quakers set their sights on the NCAA National Championship, and were seeded at No. 7 for the tournament. Wagner and Towson were the first two challengers, and the Red and Blue took care of them easily by scores of 17-7 and 12-4, respectively. The Quakers were then faced with Penn State, a competitor that coach Corbett felt the team had a “great opportunity” to defeat. Unfortunately, the offense that had been so prolific throughout the year had an off day, and they fell by a score of 8-4.
When you fight your way to a national quarterfinal game like Penn women's lacrosse did last year, well, it’s no wonder that the best players come from far and wide to don the Red and Blue. And though the roster lost some big names after graduation last May, the arrival of such an impressive class of 2020 seems to be a harbinger of a new era of lacrosse excellence here at Franklin Field.
For the Quakers, there is a good number of championships to be won. As they enter this newest campaign, the Red and Blue have their eyes on three pieces of silverware: an NCAA title, an Ivy League title and an Ivy League Tournament trophy.
When it comes to replacing Corcoran, there is no one-for-one swap. Sophomore Chrissy Corcoran, Nina’s younger sister, has gotten looks behind the goal and will be starting in Saturday’s season opener against Delaware. Junior Emily Rogers-Healion, one of the team’s best on the draw, has also appeared in that lead role behind the net. Finally, freshman midfield Gabby Rosenzweig has worked behind the cage in practice.
But for Penn women’s lacrosse, there are times when a future-minded approach is the only way to go. Accompanied by Penn’s track and field and men’s lacrosse squads, the team is in its third year working with Young Quakers Community Athletics, an after-school sports program that pairs Penn athletes with students from a trio of local middle schools.
Penn women's basketball's Princess Aghayere just had the best weekend of her career, and now she has the hardware to prove it.
The sophomore from Reston, Va., was named co-Ivy League Player of the Week for her tremendous efforts in propelling the Quakers to wins over Columbia and Cornell.
This past weekend, Penn gymnastics travelled to Rutgers to strut its routines in a quad meet against Maryland, Rutgers, and fellow Ivy League foe Yale. Despite notching a total of seven personal career-high marks throughout the evening’s events, the weekend's performances were not as fruitful as the Red and Blue would have hoped, landing them a fourth-place finish for the second straight week.
Interestingly, not only did the same three teams share the title again, but for the second straight year, they also had the same results against one another at the Ivy League Fencing Round Robins. It’s become a game of rock-paper-scissors between them.
All’s well that ends well. For Penn squash, both the men and women can certainly agree, having each picked up a final win to cap their regular seasons.
Penn Athletics had a widely successful weekend, with plenty of teams taking home multiple victories.
Coming into the weekend, Penn men's basketball’s chances to make the Ivy League Tournament and compete for a March Madness bid seemed almost nonexistent. The Quakers were not shooting well, and seemed unable to hold teams off down the stretch in games. But by early Sunday afternoon, it appears as though the Red and Blue have life once again.
The floodgates have finally opened. Winless in its first six conference games, Penn men's basketball came out firing on all cylinders this weekend at the Palestra to take down Columbia and Cornell in a sweep of New York’s two Ivy League teams.
Coming into the season, Penn’s starting front court of Michelle Nwokedi and Sydney Stipanovich got most of the attention.
In their first Ivy road doubleheader of the season, the Quakers did not disappoint, beating Columbia on Friday 64-54 before travelling to Ithaca to take down Cornell 61-55 on Saturday. Penn (14-6, 7-0 Ivy) maintained their perfect Ivy record and cemented their position atop the Ancient Eight.
This season has not been kind to Penn men’s basketball. Coming into Friday’s game against Columbia, the Quakers were winless in six Ivy League contests and in desperate need of a better performance to have any shot of making the Ivy League Tournament. The Red and Blue were able to gut out the victory on the back of 48 rebounds and 12 three-pointers. Let’s go to the player ratings.
Matt Howard has solved Penn men's basketball’s finishing problem. After watching an 11-point lead slip away in the second half, the senior forward was determined to not let another strong start go to waste. Howard hit a clutch three-pointer with eight minutes to play, cutting a brief Columbia lead down to one. But, it was his defensive closing that sealed the game for the Red and Blue as they went on to win 70-62.
In the first leg of its first Ivy road doubleheader of the season, Penn women's basketball downed Columbia 64-54. An all-around effort for the Quakers saw major contributions from several bench players.
Coming in as the Ivy League’s only remaining undefeated team, Penn certainly looked the part on Friday night, as the Quakers led for all but two minutes of the game in their 64-54 victory over Columbia.
Time to hit the road.
Having just finished a seven-game stretch at home, Penn women’s basketball will leave the comfort of the Palestra for its first away competition in a month
"Alright, we’ve had our fun over the last couple of days, but may the real Ivy League championship contenders step forward..." Entering from stage right is coach Andy Ma and Penn fencing, poised this weekend to take another shot at collecting the coveted Ivy League Fencing Championship titles.
Coach Steve Donahue of Penn men’s basketball is not keen on the phrase “must-win.”
In fact, in a past interview, he has described the phrase as “for the media” (guilty as charged) and “not what we focus on.”
However, with the Red and Blue (7-12, 0-6 Ivy) hosting two immensely important games against Columbia and Cornell this weekend, he had seemingly no choice but to use the vaunted expression.
“In terms of making the tournament, I think both of the games this weekend are must-win,” Donahue admitted.
Penn gymnastics will take to Piscataway, N.J. to show they judges how they balance out against Rutgers, Maryland, and Ivy League rival Yale. The event will mark the team's third quad meet of the season and will be a chance to prove to itself and its opponents that its fundamentals are sound as a beam and its ability to execute is not up for debate.
For a Penn squash program anticipating a major postseason, it's the last chance to tune up. This weekend, both the men's and women's teams will take on the final two matches of their regular seasons, facing Columbia and Cornell to wrap up Ivy League play.