Last year, in the first ever meeting between Penn women’s lacrosse and Vanderbilt, the Quakers managed to eke out a one-point victory, 14-13, after the Commodores rallied back from an 11-6 deficit midway through the second half.
The story was no different this time around, as the No. 12 Red and Blue (5-2) held on to their lead to secure the 11-10 win, despite multiple Vanderbilt (3-6) comeback attempts.
Key to the game was Penn’s newfound shooting efficiency, as the Quakers converted 11 of 13 shots after missing 10 of 21 last week against No. 2 Maryland.
“In the last couple of games we generated a lot of shots, but we had not finished well,” coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “And today we didn’t generate a lot of shots, we were 11 for 13, but our shooting percentage was excellent.”
The Red and Blue quickly built a 4-1 first half lead, but the Commodores dominated the rest of the period and tied the game at 4-4. Vanderbilt sophomore Kelly Chandler — who scored a hat trick on the day — fell just short of giving her team the lead when her shot hit the post right before halftime.
In the second period, Penn scored three goals in three minutes to retake the advantage, 7-4. The Commodores responded with a free position goal, but the Quakers went on another 3-0 run to make the game 10-5.
Vanderbilt then caught a huge break when a Penn goal was called back, followed by almost simultaneous yellow cards on sophomore midfield Iris Williamson and freshman attack Sarah Barcia . This set the stage for a furious comeback, as the Commodores capitalized on their two-woman advantage to cut the lead to 10-7.
“They have some great attackers [and] we held them a little bit too much. We got wild a little bit too much,” Corbett said. “It was a big swing in the game — what would have been 11-5 ended up being 10-7.”
Chandler added another goal before Penn senior attack Courtney Tomchik scored the Quakers’ final — and ultimately most critical — goal with 5:15 left on the game clock.
Vanderbilt freshman midfield Jill Doherty then scored two goals in less than 30 seconds to cut the Commodores’ deficit to one, but the Quakers managed to hold on to the victory.
The Red and Blue can thank junior goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson — who made 11 saves on the day — as Vanderbilt widely outshot Penn, 27-13. Also instrumental in the victory was sophomore midfield Nina Corcoran , who led the team with three goals and two assists.
Despite its roller coaster nature, the victory against the Commodores provides the Quakers with a much-needed morale boost after last week’s disappointing loss to Maryland.
“We needed to come in here and win the game. That was really what we were expecting,” Corbett said. “Obviously [Maryland and Vanderbilt] are on different levels. From the rankings you can tell that.”
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