Don’t fix what isn’t broken; so goes the old saying. Penn women’s lacrosse certainly did not fall prey to this adage against Johns Hopkins this weekend.
After giving up a first half lead, the tenth-ranked Quakers (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) defeated the No. 18 Blue Jays (3-1) by a score of 10-7, powered by eight goals – yes, eight – from junior midfielder Alex Condon. Condon’s goal tally, which was a career high for her and one away from both the Penn and Ivy League record books, brings her season goal total to ten over just two games.
“Alex just has a knack for the net,” said Penn coach Karin Corbett. “She’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen, she has great hands, she’s a great cutter, she’s just a great player. She also defended well, she had some huge ground balls, she just had a complete game today. They tried to face guard her, but it just didn’t matter.”
“I think in today’s game we were moving the ball a little better than last week,” said Condon after the game. “We were able to drive from up top really well, and our girls down low, Chrissy and Gabby and everyone, they were able to see that I was open in the middle and just lay it in for me, and fortunately I was able to grab those and put in the goal.”
Penn would need all eight of those goals to put Hopkins out of reach, as each team took turns making scoring runs throughout the game. After the Blue Jays started the scoring in the first half, Penn scored four goals in a row before Hopkins scored again, eventually taking a 5-3 lead into halftime.
But Johns Hopkins would come out of the break with a vengeance, going on their own four goal run over the first eight minutes of the half to take a 7-5 lead. That would be the last Hopkins goal in the game, as the Quaker defense would clamp down on the Blue Jay offense for the final twenty minutes of regulation. A free position goal from junior Caroline Cummings and a final strike from freshman Gabby Rosenzweig bookended three more Condon goals in the second half to seal the victory for the Red and Blue.
Sophomore Chrissy Corcoran led the Quakers with three assists on the day, while freshman Erin Barry added two assists of her own. Senior Emily Rogers-Healion and junior Natalie Stefan also added assists to the scoresheet, as did Cummings.
Another star-performance came from senior goalkeeper Britt Brown, who set a career-high mark with 16 saves on 27 shots, a new career high for Brown and the most saves a Penn goalkeeper has made since 2012. Her performance against Hopkins comes a week after setting a previous career-high with 14 saves against Delaware in a game that Penn won 9-7 despite being outshot 25-14.
“Last year was her first college season where she was in the net as a starter, and I think that she’s gained a ton of confidence from that season,” said Corbett of Brown. “This being her last year, she really wants this team to win and she knows she has the opportunity to come up big for this team. She’s definitely done that over these past two games.”
Although the Quakers have now tallied two victories in a row to start the season, it appears that there is still work to be done. The Quakers will not be able to rely on Brown to make career-high numbers of saves every week, and Condon will not be able to approach impressive records on a weekly basis. That being said, Corbett was pleased with the progress the team has made so far.
“What pleases me is that we were better this week than last week,” said Corbett. “We did a better job clearing the ball, we didn’t have as many unforced errors, so I thought we took a big step forward, which is what you always want to do in the early season.”
“What was important for us in this game was that we had a lead, and then we gave up the lead, and we were able to regain the lead and win the game, and I think that’s really good this early in the season to have a game like that, and come out on top. It shows that we can fight back, and it’s a young offense, so to be able to do that bodes well as we move on and begin playing our Ivy games.”