The tough slate continues for Penn women's lacrosse. But luckily for the Quakers, they have one of the biggest breakout stars in all of college lacrosse.
This Saturday, Penn will travel to New England to face Dartmouth in a battle for the top spot in the Ivy League. Presumably, few players will have more of an impact on the game than sophomore Gabby Rosenzweig.
After being snubbed from the preseason All-American list, the Tewaaraton Award watchlist honoree has been stuffing that stat sheet, leading the Quakers (8-2, 2-0 Ivy) with 32 goals, 19 assists, and 51 points over the first 10 games. She has recorded at least five points in six of those games and will look for another big performance as Penn looks to take down a much improved Dartmouth (7-1, 3-0).
“Danielle Spencer has done a really nice job with them. They are very athletic and they fight rally hard,” Penn coach Karin Corbett said of Dartmouth’s coach. “She’s from Northwestern and they play a style of really attacking the cage. She’s really brought that to them.”
When it comes to attacking the cage, few do it better than Dartmouth.
Its offense ranks 11th in the country and first in the Ivy League in goals per game. The Big Green have scored at least 15 goals in each of their last five games with no single-digit goal outputs this season.
Coming into the season, few would have thought this weekend’s matchup would feature the two best teams in the Ivy League. Dartmouth has not finished in the top half of the league since 2013, when it finished third. This season, the Big Green have been on a tear, winning every game since dropping their season opener, which includes an upset of then No. 16 Princeton last weekend.
The key to the Big Green’s offense is sophomore attack Ellie Carson, the reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. Still, Corbett is less focused on game planning specially for Carson, electing to focus on Dartmouth’s offense as a whole.
“For us it is really about team defense. What has got us here so far is not relying on one or two people or stopping one or two kids,” Corbett said of her defense, which ranks first in the Ivy in caused turnovers per game. “It is about a whole unit working together to stop them as eight.”
Even with Penn’s strong defense, the Quakers should expect a shootout. Assuming Penn will put up a lot of goals to keep up with Dartmouth, fans should look for a huge game from Rosenzweig.
Penn’s star performer credits much of her success to her experiences from freshman year.
“I think this season has been really big for me. I was really lucky last year to test the waters a little bit as a freshmen because not all freshmen get that opportunity,” Rosenzweig said. “I just came in with a lot of more confidence and my teammates were supporting me.”
One of those teammates is freshmen Zoe Belodeau, who was also named to the Tewaaraton award watchlist. Belodeau's feeding ability and advanced lacrosse IQ have played a pivotal role in shaping Rosenzweig into one of the most deadly offensive threats in the country.
“It was crazy, I wasn’t expecting it all,” Rosenzweig said with a laugh when she heard about the watchlist. “It was such an honor, I’ve looked up to those girls for so long. One of my best friends texted me ‘congrats, remember when we were reading those lists and fangirling over all those girls. I’m [also] so happy for Zoe. I’m so lucky to have her as a teammate. I’m really glad I got to share that with her.”
However, this weekend, the potential All-American is focused on getting a win against Dartmouth.
“One of us will come out of it not undefeated anymore [in the Ivy League],” Rosenzweig said. “It’s really important and I’m looking forward to it. Having fun and coming out strong are the two most important things for that game.”
Penn has struggled to get off to a good start in each of its last three games, falling behind by five goals in the first half of games against Northwestern, Brown, and Maryland.
“That is a theme for us and we’ve got to change some of that,” Corbett said. “Dartmouth is known for coming out strong, that is something that they’ve always had. They are at home and that’s not an easy place to play. We have got to come out ready to win and play for 60 minutes.”
Rosenzweig and the offense will look to buck that trend on Saturday in a game that will determine the Ivy league frontrunner. If you like high scoring affairs, this is definitely a game to tune into.
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