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Behind a hat trick from junior attack Caroline Cummings, Penn women's lacrosse came back from a two-goal second half deficit to top No. 16 Northwestern, 10-7.

Credit: Alex Fisher , Alex Fisher

They made it to the final stretch — and they’re still standing.

In the last game in a long series of tough matches against ranked non-conference teams, No. 11 Penn women’s lacrosse pulled off a comeback to remember at No. 16 Northwestern. The Quakers finished the contest on five unanswered goals to leave Evanston, Ill. with a 10-7 win.

Things were starting to look dire for Penn (8-2, 1-1 Ivy) when Northwestern (6-6) appeared to be pulling away with the game midway through the second half. The two teams went into halftime tied at four, but the Wildcats had scored three of the first four goals after the break, courtesy of a hat-trick from Christina Esposito in the span of five minutes.

The Quakers’ attack was sputtering, and coach Karin Corbett saw the need to halt Northwestern’s momentum and reset the game with a timeout.

“I thought at some point that on the attacking side we were not on the same page, and we wasted a couple of our possessions,” Corbett said. “We called a timeout to try to get them organized...and we came out of that timeout a lot better. We were able to get some points on the board and take the lead.”

After the timeout, Penn scored five goals on the trot to secure its fifth win in the last six games. In the final 17 minutes, the Quakers not only put up five, but also kept their own net empty with some strong defense and a handful of saves from goalie Britt Brown.

Brown finished the game with 13 saves from 20 shots and was instrumental in her team’s comeback.

“She’s been great,” Corbett said of the senior goalie. “She has been the anchor of our defense. She’s been a great presence in the net, and she’s come up big for us all year long. It’s a real team unit out there, with Brittany at the anchor.”

The team effort was well-balanced on Sunday, as seven different Quakers got in on the goal-scoring. Junior Caroline Cummings led the way with three — and gave an assist to boot — while rookie Erin Barry chipped in two of her own.

All in all, Penn travels back to Philadelphia having completed a brutal non-conference slate relatively unscathed, considering the high level of opposition. The team now has five games remaining in the regular season, all against Ivy League opponents. Currently one game out of first place in the league, the race is now on to defend the team’s title.

That defense will continue next weekend against Dartmouth.