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Senior Natalie Stefan and the rest of Penn women's lacrosse's defense held Maryland more than four goals below its season scoring average, but it wasn't enough for the Quakers to take down the defending NCAA champs.

Credit: Son Nguyen

On a chilly day on Franklin Field, the Red and Blue’s hope for an upset got put on ice.

No. 7 Penn women’s lacrosse dropped its first game of the season, as the Quakers fell to defending NCAA Champion and No. 3 Maryland, 13-7.

Maryland (7-1, 1-0 Big Ten) took the lead early and never looked back. The Terrapins scored four goals in the first 10 minutes of action and added another at the 16-minute mark to push their lead to 5-0.

The Quakers (7-1, 1-0 Ivy) struck back, however, when freshman Zoe Belodeau was able to put a shot into the back on the net on an assist from Emily Rogers-Healion.

After falling down 6-1 with a little more than 11 minutes left in the first half, the Red and Blue went on a run.

Goals from Gabby Rosenzweig, Belodeau, and Erin Barry cut the Maryland lead down to 6-4 and gave Penn all of the momentum.

But as quickly as the momentum came, it was gone.

The Terrapins, who have won three of the past four national championships, capitalized on a couple of miscues from the Quakers, including a penalty near the goal, in order to stretch their lead to four heading into halftime.

Maryland came out of the break further building its sizeable momentum advantage.

With a goal one minute into the second half and two more within the next four minutes, the Terps distanced themselves from the Red and Blue.

In all, Maryland used a 6-0 run spanning the two halves to increase its lead to 12-4 by the 20-minute mark.

“Where we struggled was in transition, getting the ball to the attack,” senior defender Natalie Stefan said when asked about what contributed to the Maryland run. “We let the ball die on attack, and that makes it really easy for [their] defense to get in and play.”

Over the course of the Maryland run, Penn had some chances on the attack. But the Quakers were never quite able to find the net.

“I think we just have to finish our shots a lot better,” coach Karin Corbett said. “When we get the opportunities that we were having on the attack, we’ve got to finish them.”

The Quakers were able to convert some of their chances later in the game, as two goals from Rogers-Healion and another from Barry pushed Penn’s total to seven goals.

Ultimately, however, that 6-0 run over the game's middle 20 minutes was too much for the Red and Blue to overcome.

Despite dropping their first game of the season, the Quakers do not have time to dwell before their next matchup against Brown (5-3, 0-2 Ivy) on Saturday.

According to Corbett, this is the best Brown team she has seen in her 18 years of coaching.

“We definitely need to be ready, they have a lot of really good threats.” Stefan said. “I’m really excited to put this behind us and get ready to play some Ivy League teams.”  

The Quakers will look to heat back up when they face Brown on Saturday at Penn Park.