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Women's lacrosse against Towson Credit: Pat Goodridge , Pat Goodridge

In search of a signature nonconference win against No. 6 Northwestern, No. 11 Penn women’s lacrosse encountered a painfully familiar result.

After trailing by as many as four in the first half, the Red and Blue could not capitalize on an epic comeback, falling to the Wildcats, 9-8, in overtime on Sunday, marking the squad’s ninth consecutive loss to Northwestern.

Junior midfield Kaleigh Craig scored the winner for Northwestern (8-3) with 13 seconds remaining in overtime to hand Penn (9-2) its second loss of the season, both against teams ranked in the top six. Although the Quakers had their chances in the extra period to steal the game for themselves, they were not able to capitalize.

The Red and Blue won all three draw controls in overtime, and junior midfield Nina Corcoran nearly put Penn ahead in the three-minute session, but her shot hit a post. A late turnover by the Quakers allowed for a Wildcat run that ended with Craig’s go-ahead goal – her second of the day.

Penn was initially stifled by Northwestern’s tight defense, digging itself into a hole early by letting up the contest’s first four goals. With 12:52 remaining in the first half, the Quakers finally got on the scoreboard with a Lindsey Smith strike off an assist by sophomore midfield Emily Rogers-Healion, marking Smith's 11th goal of the season.

Northwestern was quick to respond, however. Less than a minute later, freshman Selena Lasota scored her second goal of the afternoon to make the score 5-1.

It appeared as though the Wildcats would enter the half with a four-goal cushion before a stellar shot from Tory Bensen with eight seconds left cut Northwestern’s advantage to three heading into the break.

Penn came out stronger on both ends of the field in the second half and chipped away at the Wildcats’ 6-3 lead. The first goal after the break came from junior attack Iris Williamson's free position shot seven minutes in, marking Williamson's second goal of the afternoon.

Once again Northwestern countered quickly, this time getting a goal from sophomore Sheila Nesselbush. The intensity built as the back-and-forth action continued, with Penn scoring two straight to make it 7-6 Wildcats midway through the second.

With 16:36 remanining, Rogers-Healion — known more for her abilities with the pass — beat Northwestern keeper Bridget Bianco to pull the Quakers within one. Another Nesselbush goal stretched the Wildcat lead back to two, but Bensen narrowed the gap back to one with 9:43 left.

As the clock ran down, Penn used its reliable defense to create an opportunity for an equalizer. With under two minutes to play, sophomore defense Megan Kelly forced a turnover in front of the Northwestern bench, sparking an attack that culminated in a game-tying goal from Bensen with 1:36 to play — her third of the day.

Penn’s leading scorer nearly put the Quakers over the top in the final seconds of regulation, but her shot missed high, denying her a fourth score. Following the defeat in overtime, the Red and Blue will have a few days of rest before they return to Ivy play on April 11 with a road contest against Harvard.

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