It takes a talented program to make trouble for the country’s best team. For eleventh ranked Penn women’s lacrosse, that was the story on Wednesday when they traveled to Maryland and fell 11-7. The loss was the Quakers’ (6-2, 0-1 Ivy) first in four games but was an impressive performance nonetheless.
It was destined to be a tough battle for Penn. The Terrapins (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) have not lost at home since March 2012 and have lost just one game overall in their last 40. That said, the Quakers went in and had the Terps on their heels for much of the first half. The two sides played back and forth for the first 20 minutes and played pretty equally on the field with a score of 2-2.
With just 10 minutes left in the first frame, the Quakers began to concede quality chances. The Terps would put up five goals in just over six minutes before the end of the half.
“Our defense is really strong and they were struggling to find openings so that was keeping them at bay on the offensive side. That’s where Maryland’s strength is and we did a nice job with that for pretty much the whole game,” Coach Karin Corbett said before adding one of the team’s shortcomings.
“We put them on the line too much … That was kind of a difference maker there.”
A five-goal deficit is certainly surmountable in the right situation, but Maryland was determined not to collapse in the second half. Despite the Quakers’ best efforts, which regained momentum and brought the game to 8-4 with 23 minutes left, it was not enough to take down the nation’s best team.
As has been the case all season, the Quakers are not a one-trick pony. The goals have been coming off several different sticks. Junior attack Caroline Cummings picked up a hat trick and is second on the team in goals with 22.
She is playing at a torrid pace and is now on pace for more than 48 goals (assuming the Quakers appear in the Ivy League tournament at season’s end). That would be the third most goals scored in a season in program history.
That pace is just below Alex Condon’s own goal-scoring. The junior midfielder put up another goal, bringing her season total to 23. She has been a force to be reckoned with so far, even without Nina Corcoran feeding her the ball.
For the Quakers, the road trip continues into the weekend when they take on Brown. That game is pretty much a must win for the Red and Blue as Corbett recognizes, given that they already have a conference loss to Cornell earlier this season.
The Bears (3-4, 0-2) tend to play competitively in Ivy matchups and Saturday’s game should be no different. They frequently have scoring outbursts, scoring 15 or more twice this season. That could be a handful even for the Quakers’ stout defense and goalkeeping.
The key to Saturday, as Corbett believes, is to play Brown like they would against a top team. If they can do that, Corbett is confident that the Red and Blue can pick up the win. If not, that could mean another in-conference loss in a highly competitive Ancient Eight.