This one definitely qualifies as a missed opportunity. The Penn women's lacrosse team (0-1) led William and Mary (2-0) most of the way yesterday afternoon, but fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Tribe, 9-8, in double-overtime on Franklin Field. William and Mary junior attacker Colette Chaput knocked a centering pass from behind the cage past Quakers goalie Alaina Harper for the game-winning goal with 0:25 remaining in sudden-death overtime, sending Penn to a defeat in its season opener. "As soon as that goal went into the cage, I screamed at the top of my lungs," Penn tri-captain Traci Marabella said. "I practically burst into tears, I was so upset." The unexpected goal from Chaput brought a hard-fought game to a dramatic conclusion and seemed even to stun her own coach. "That goal wasn't very pretty, but it went in the net," Tribe coach Tara Kelly said. "I don't even know who scored. I didn't think it was going in -- I thought they were going to call a crease violation. It was just a mess." Starting seven sophomores and a freshman, the Quakers demonstrated composure and controlled the flow of the game from the opening face-off. A quartet of goals in a span of 5:40 by Penn junior Jenny Hartman and sophomores Whitney Horton, Chrissy Book and Lindsay Smith put the Quakers ahead, 4-2, just 11 minutes in and forced the visitors to call a timeout. But after trailing 5-3 at the break, in the second half it was the Tribe who came out on fire. Midfielder Allison Evans scored three in a row to put her team back on top, 6-5, forcing Penn to call its own timeout to regroup. The timeout did the trick, and goals from sophomore Kate Murray and Marabella had Penn in the lead and smelling a victory for nearly 10 minutes. But the Tribe equalized with 2:46 left in regulation to force it into extra frames. And after a top-shelf blast by Murray sent the Quakers into a frenzy and gave Penn an 8-7 lead with 2:29 left in the first overtime, the visitors again came through with a score -- retying the game with 1:59 remaining and setting the stage for Chaput's sudden-death heroics in the second OT. But changes in momentum and last-second goals aside, the real story of this game was Harper's play in goal for the Quakers. "That was the best game Alaina has ever played in her college career, so we're very happy with that," Penn coach Karin Brower said. The sophomore only had seen action in relief a year ago, but showed no signs of inexperience in the cage. Time and time again, Harper came up with big saves -- 14 in all -- including four on dangerous free-position shots. "It was a lot easier after I stopped the first shot," Harper said. "I felt pretty good about my play. Obviously I wish I could have stopped one more, but I think everyone has something they wish they could have done differently. But I'm happy with it." Despite Harper's stellar play in net, this counts as an "L" for Penn. But Brower has reason to believe that this game can still act as a building-block for her young squad. "I think that they accepted losses last year, and I think they're very upset at this and realize how close it was," Brower said. "They really wanted it more than I've ever seen."Comments powered by Disqus
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