No. 10 Penn women’s lacrosse took one giant leap towards the top of the Ivy League standings with a pivotal 17-12 win over No. 7 Princeton on Wednesday night. Saturday’s clash at Harvard is now even more important, as the Quakers could conceivably return to the top of the conference, should league-leaders No. 11 Cornell slip up.
It was clear to see what was on the line for Penn (11-2, 4-1 Ivy), who came out flying against the Tigers (10-3, 4-1) at Franklin Field. The Quakers scored the first two, and while Princeton replied with a pair of its own, the hosts then rattled off the next seven goals to make it 9-2 with just 15 minutes gone.
“[I told the team] We gotta come out hard on this team. We’ve got to want to win this game. A championship is on the line, and we’ve gotta go after it,” coach Karin Corbett said. “And they did just that — I’m really pleased. This is our field, and we wanted to come out and own this field.”
No one came out harder than junior Alex Condon. The midfield-attacker scored three of Penn’s first four goals, and finished the day with eight to her name. With such a crazy offensive explosion to start the game, it might have been difficult to stay focused for the whole contest.
“It’s hard to keep the lead for that amount of time, to keep that intensity and fight,” Corbett continued. “We had to keep this up for 60 minutes, but I’m just glad we got the start we did.”
The second half saw seven goals scored apiece, and Princeton never really came too close to threatening the Quakers’ grip on the game. In the end, it was a professional finish after the home team put the game out of reach in the first quarter of the contest.
With Penn’s win, the Ivy League standings get even tighter — if that’s possible. Three teams in Princeton, Harvard and Penn now all sit at 4-1 in the conference, with Cornell still an undefeated 5-0 atop the table.
But wait — there’s more.
Cornell and Princeton play each other on Saturday, too, so if Penn wins in Cambridge, then the worst that could happen is that the Quakers gain sole possession of second in the league, with the possibility of jumping up to first, should Cornell lose, a real possibility.
Simply put, there’s a lot riding on this Saturday’s results. Harvard also has the chance to rise to the top of the league this weekend, too. And the Quakers are well aware of that.
“We can’t cruise off of this win,” Condon said. “We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we’ve got to refocus tomorrow and make sure we’re prepared for Harvard. They’re a good team, and they give us a good game every time.”
In fact, Harvard might just pose Condon and Co. their biggest threat yet — the Crimson returned the most All-Ivy players of any team this season, and their veteran core has been consistently hot all year long. Traveling up to Cambridge for Saturday’s clash could see Penn playing in quite the hostile environment.
“They’ve got a senior class that’s been playing since freshman year, and it’s their Senior Day. They’re gonna want to win that game,” Corbett pointed out. “It’s gonna be a battle, and we’re gonna have to come ready to play.”
Well, if Wednesday was anything to go by, the Quakers will be ready for Saturday. After all, there’s a championship on the line.