With under 20 seconds remaining in Tuesday's nailbiting 6-5 victory for the Penn women's lacrosse team, Rutgers was on the attack, looking to tie the game and send it to overtime. And then Kate Murray stopped the Scarlet Knights in their tracks. Well, actually, the Quakers midfielder hit the turf, taking a charge to force a critical Rutgers turnover. Murray then followed this up by playing keep-away to run out the clock, ensuring a dramatic Penn victory. "Kate is always thinking, and she's always directing traffic," Penn attacker Jayme Munnelly said. "She's like the brains of the operations out there." Such clutch plays are becoming the norm for Murray, who leads the Quakers with 18 goals this spring. And as the Quakers (6-5, 2-2 Ivy) ride a four-game winning streak into a crucial Ivy match against No. 10 Dartmouth (7-1, 3-1) at 6 p.m. on Franklin Field tonight, they will need yet another clutch effort from Murray if they are to pull off the upset. "Kate is our quickest attacker," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "She does really well when she starts from the top or on the fast break. And she's getting better on getting her bearing on attack when the defense comes at her." Murray, who has six multi-goal games this year, will need to use every bit of this quickness if the Quakers are to upend Dartmouth. The Big Green's defense has been stingy this spring, yielding an average of only five goals a game in its seven victories. And considering that Dartmouth returns an All-Ivy goalie from a squad that beat Penn, 18-7, last year, things may appear bleak for the Red and Blue. But in the midst of their four-game winning streak -- during which Murray has scored eight goals -- the Quakers feel they have more than a fighting chance. "I think last year going into the game we pretty much knew that we were going to be dominated," said Murray, drenched from the rain after staying late to work on her shooting after Wednesday's practice. "But this year we definitely have a good chance of winning. If we come out like we did at Harvard [Penn led 8-2 at the half], and score right away, the momentum changes." Last April, up in Hanover, N.H., the Quakers netted only seven goals -- including one by Murray. But tonight, if the sophomore has any say in the matter, the Dartmouth net will be peppered with shots all game long. "She's equally good lefty and righty and has one of the harder shots on the team," Brower said. "One-on-one she's really strong, and she has a real quick spin move." Although she acknowledges having a repertoire of moves and cuts that allow her to find the net with ease -- 34 times in 25 collegiate games to be exact -- Murray does not see herself as someone who can singlehandedly take over a game. "I'm not like a dominating type of player and I'm not really a speed demon," Murray said. "I think I'm really more of a smooth player, like butter." Standing only 5'4", the deceptively fast Murray does not appear to be the prototypical goal-scoring machine. Then again, that can work to her advantage, should opponents ignore Murray due to her size and not-very-vocal nature. "Because I'm smaller, I've learned how to play against the taller girls, with my moves and also my hip check -- I learned that in basketball," Murray said. And while this Atlantic Highlands, N.J., native -- and high school lacrosse and soccer captain -- has demonstrated a number of moves on the field, according to teammates, equal space should be given to her moves off the field as well. "She's smooth in everything she does, and she's very dependable," said Munnelly, her roommate, classmate and teammate. "She's a really, really good dancer too. How cool would it be if you were like, 'On and off the field, she's got the moves?'" Munnelly, with nine goals and eight assists, knows a little something about moves, but is quick to defer to Murray, saying of her roommate, "I think she's our go-to girl on the field." In an offense where four players have netted 13 or more goals, though, it might be hard to point to anyone as the Quakers' true go-to player. But if there's one thing the entire team can point to in agreement, its the importance of tonight's game. Penn has not defeated Dartmouth since 1991. "With four wins in a row, we're feeling pretty good about this game," Brower said. "The team knows they have a chance to win."Comments powered by Disqus
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