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Penn co-captain Traci Marabella, on left, will try to push the Quakers past Rutgers on Franklin Field tonight in the Red and Blue's season television debut. (Jacques-Jean Tiziou/DP File Photo)

There's no better time than the present for the Penn women's lacrosse team to be on television. After opening the season with a mediocre 2-5 record, the Quakers have bounced back to win three straight. And in those three wins, the Red and Blue have outscored their opponents, 38-16. Now on a roll and finally able to score, Penn (5-5) takes on Rutgers (4-6) in a CN8-televised contest at 7 p.m. on Franklin Field tonight. Penn junior co-captain Traci Marabella attributes the recent flurry of offense to good off-the-field team unity. "I think we've been doing a really good job of getting together outside of lacrosse," Marabella said. "We all get along really well, and we have fun together. I think that's starting to translate onto the field." Penn sophomore Crissy Book believes the wins are also a result of better execution. "[We've had] good movement on attack and good passes," Book said. "[Another key is] being intense and not being afraid to shoot." And although two wins against Columbia and Monmouth aren't much to brag about, Saturday's 13-8 defeat of Harvard certainly is. It was the first time since 1998 the Quakers had beaten an Ivy League team besides Columbia. "The win against Harvard was huge," Marabella said. "It gives us a lot of confidence. Granted we haven't had a win against a top-20 team yet, but I think [beating] Harvard was the next best thing." With the win over Harvard, Penn improved to 2-2 in the Ivy League and greatly increased its chances of finishing in sixth place or better for the first time in three years. And with its game tonight against Rutgers on the tube, Penn has a little extra incentive to perform well. "It's probably [being televised] because it's a regional game and it's a regional TV station," Marabella said. "I know personally I'm so excited. That'll definitely be an extra motivator in the back of my head knowing that I'll be on TV." Not that the Quakers don't have plenty of motivation without the distraction of TV. In the four times these two teams have met, Penn has yet to record a victory. The most recent Rutgers defeat of Penn was a 15-11 decision at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J., last season. In that contest, Rutgers took a 13-5 lead into halftime. But just as history did not repeat itself against Harvard, the Quakers are hoping for a similar turning of the tide against the Scarlet Knights. "We're really excited to play Rutgers," Book said. "It was a tough loss last year, but if we play like we've been playing, I feel like we can beat any team by 10 goals." Rutgers has had an up-and-down season. In their four wins, the Scarlet Knights have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 11.75 goals. But in their six losses, they have been outscored by 7.5 goals per game. Thus, spectators at tonight's game should not expect a game with lots of lead changes and ties. Instead, the game's outcome will depend primarily on whether or not Penn is able to execute as effectively as it has in the past two weeks. "I don't think they're going to be taking us lightly because they haven't really been on top of their game," Marabella said. "I'm sure they think they can come out here, be really physical and beat the crap out of us. "Hopefully we're not going to let them."

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