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Penn women's lacrosse player Whitney Horton found the back of the net twice in the Quakers' 6-5 victory over the Scarlet Knights. With the victory, Penn extends its winning streak to four. (Stefan Miltchev/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Sometimes, finesse and grace just don't cut it. In a contest as physical as they come, the Penn women's lacrosse team (6-5) came away with a 6-5 victory over Rutgers (4-7) on Franklin Field yesterday. "[Rutgers is] usually a very physical team, and we knew that going in," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "We told our team that we have to be just as physical back. There was a lot pushing, and I think it was a little violent at times, but we expected that." The flow of the game was severely hampered by the excessive number of fouls called against both teams. Aside from the occasional push-and-shove fouls, Penn was given one yellow card and one green card, while Rutgers was issued three and one, respectively. The contact-oriented play of Rutgers would hurt the Scarlet Knights late in the game. With 10 minutes left in the second half, Rutgers defender Kristin Checksfield was issued a yellow card for pushing from behind. Penn sophomore attacker Alison Polk-Williams took advantage of the free position and hurled an eight-meter shot past Rutgers goalie Lauren Gulotta to put her team up 6-4. The insurance score would prove to be important, as Rutgers attacker Kate Slotman found the back of the net just 45 seconds later to make it a one-goal game again. Neither team was able to generate any significant scoring opportunities for several minutes, as both Penn and Rutgers suffered from a lack of ball control. With the clock winding down and Penn playing a lacrosse version of Dean Smith's "four corners offense," it looked as if the Scarlet Knights had no chance of forcing the game into overtime. But the composure of the Quakers fell apart, as they turned the ball over with 55 seconds left. The Scarlet Knights fell short in their final push, however. An offensive foul against Rutgers attacker Claire Grooms put the ball, and the game, firmly back in the hands of the Quakers. "One of our problems is having composure under pressure," Brower said. "I was frustrated [with the turnover]. We're young, and not used to being in that situation. We lucked out on that charge at the end." The same parity that Penn and Rutgers showed toward the end of the game was reflected in its opening minutes. Rutgers struck first, as Grooms scored on an eight-meter shot 10 minutes into the game. The Quakers then scored just 37 seconds later, when sophomore midfielder Whitney Horton took a great pass from sophomore attacker Jayme Munnelly and scored. The two would connect again 12 minutes later on the exact same play. "Whitney's a very consistent player," Munnelly said. "We've been working a lot on those picks. If you can get it to her, she'll put it in the net." Horton modestly credits her teammates for the two goals she scored last night. "My teammates set really good picks for me, and Jayme gave me some really nice feeds, so I credit them for those [goals]," Horton said. At the other end of the field, the Quakers defense and goaltending was again phenomenal. In the center is sophomore goalkeeper Alaina Harper, who has given up just 5.25 goals per game during the Quakers current four-game winning streak. "Overall, the defense is communicating better, which makes my job a lot easier," Harper said. "The attack is also really pushing me and the rest of the goalies in practice, which helps and translates into the games." Brower also credits the defense with helping Harper protect the net. "Our defense is not allowing as many good-angle shots and one-on-ones," Brower said. "We're collapsing and having a lot of help on defense." The win carried a little extra significance, as it was Penn's first defeat of Rutgers in five attempts. In addition, the Quakers victory was televised on regional television station CN8. "It was a really big game for us," said Horton, who was interviewed by the CN8 sports news crew after the game. "Being on TV, and then winning a close game like that, it was really awesome for us."

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