Requests made by Penn women's lacrosse coach Karin Brower for better offensive production did not go unheeded.
Last Saturday, the Quakers (7-7, 3-4 Ivy League) scored in double figures for the first time in six games, defeating Brown (4-7, 1-4), 14-9, on Franklin Field.
Penn followed up that victory by obliterating intracity rival Villanova (8-6, 4-2 Patriot League), 16-5, last night at Villanova Stadium.
"We've just been talking about how we need to score more," Brower said after Saturday's game. "We've been working a lot on shooting and moving the ball around. I think it was great that we had a lot of different people scoring today."
Two contributors to Penn's strong offensive output on Saturday were seniors Jen Hartman and Traci Marabella, who combined for a goal and four assists in the final home game of their careers.
"It was both exciting and really sad," Hartman said. "It's really special for Traci and me to be here for four years. We really feel like we made a difference in helping to turn the Penn women's lacrosse program around."
And what a difference it has been. Hartman and Marabella are the only two members of this year's Quakers to have played on the 1999 squad that posted a 1-12 record, the worst in school history. Penn's lone victory that year was over Columbia, which had just started fielding a varsity team in 1998.
This season, the Quakers are 7-7 and just one win away from their first over-.500 season since 1994, and just their second since 1983. An important reason for the drastic improvement in such a short period of time is the senior duo.
"I give them a lot of credit for sticking through it, helping us and leading us through the transition years," Brower said.
In attendance at Saturday's game were family and friends who have also watched Hartman and Marabella lead the team to new heights.
"I'm just so proud of her and how she's been such a leader for all four years," Judy Marabella said of her daughter. "I think Karin also deserves a lot of credit for doing such a great job with the team and inspiring these girls to stick with the program and get the most out of them."
Penn certainly got the most out of its offense on Saturday. Scoring opened five minutes into the game when Marabella found junior attacker Kate Murray open across the middle for an easy score.
The two teams exchanged goals throughout the first half, resulting in a 5-5 tie with 9:30 remaining in the opening stanza.
Penn then scored three unanswered goals to take an 8-5 lead into halftime. Two of the goals came off fastbreaks that created 6-on-4 situations.
The other goal was scored by Penn midfielder Crissy Book, who snuck her way past two defenders to create an open shot.
Despite being ahead, Brower told her team that there was much room for improvement in the second half.
"We wanted to work the ball around and look for openings," Brower said. "I wanted them to be patient and not just go for the first thing, which we were doing a little too much of in the first half."
Penn was able to notch six more goals while holding the Bears to just four in the final 30 minutes.
"It's great to score 14 goals," Hartman said. "There have been a couple of times this season when we've really struggled with our offense, so scoring that many and beating Brown by six was really satisfying."
The Quakers will conclude their regular season with a matchup against No. 7 Duke in Durham, N.C., on May 4 at 5 p.m.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.