Time to get a new trophy case.
With Saturday’s 14-11 victory at Yale, Penn women’s lacrosse cemented another fantastic season and earned itself a third consecutive Ivy League title.
To close out conference play, the No. 10 Quakers (12-3, 6-1 Ivy) tripped up to New Haven, CT to take on a solid Yale side. Neck and neck with Princeton (10-5, 6-1) going into the weekend, only a win would guarantee Penn a share of the Ancient Eight title.
The Bulldogs (7-8, 2-5) were certainly not going to make things easy. The game got off to a chaotic start, with both teams trading goals to three apiece in the first ten minutes.
But after settling their nerves, the Quakers took off on a 5-0 run to close out the half. Contributing to the cause was sophomore Erin Barry with a first half hat trick, while sophomore Gabby Rosenzweig and freshman Zoe Belodeau each grabbed two to make it 8-3 at the break.
Coming out with newfound fire, the Bulldogs began chipping away at the deficit and brought things to 9-6, with Barry nabbing one more for the Quakers with her fourth on the day.
It was a battle of the offenses the rest of the way, but to put things out of reach, Belodeau provided yet two more goals late in the second half, claiming the program’s rookie goal-scoring record with 35. Standing tall in net, sophomore Mikaila Cheeseman recorded nine saves helping to snuff out any chance of a Bulldog comeback.
When the final whistle sounded, the team converged in celebration of yet another league title and a job well done.
“Every year the target is on our back. So, to win 11 out of the last 12 titles just shows the culture that we have here and the standard of excellence that we try to set,” Penn coach Karin Corbett said. “Our kids really believe in the tradition and are playing for themselves, but also all of the women that have come before them who set the standard of winning the league.”
Looking at the scoresheet, it’s clear that Penn has a plethora of players willing to take on the responsibility and make an impact. In a season where six Quakers have netted 20 or more times, Corbett can lean on her team’s depth in these close matches.
“I think the nice thing with this team is there are a lot of kids who can step up. We have to play as a team so when someone is not having the best day, there are other people out there who can make things click,” she said.
Having just fallen to the Tigers at 21-8 only three days prior, the Quakers needed to get their confidence back immediately with so much on the line Saturday. But Corbett rallied her squad, and the adrenaline kicked in.
“The mindset was, ‘Let’s win a championship!’ It wasn’t our night on Wednesday, but we had done a great job throughout the season and our destiny was in our own hands,” she said. “So, we had to just go out there and play to win.”
Once the celebrations conclude, the team must now look ahead to the Ivy League Tournament. Entering as the No. 2 seed, Penn will face No. 3 Dartmouth in the opening round, conveniently hosted by Princeton.
The Big Green (11-4, 5-2) will be looking for revenge after falling 11-13 to Penn in New Hampshire earlier this year, and they are not to be overlooked. Having upset Princeton 15-12 on the road earlier this year, Dartmouth has earned its new national ranking of No. 15 and will be ready to battle this weekend.
“We definitely have a lot that we need to work on. We never want to be complacent. Obviously, we had a tough game with Dartmouth up there, so we’re gonna have to bring our best on Friday night to have a chance to win that game,” Corbett said. “It’s still one game at a time, so we’ll just go out there and get better this week.”
Having already wrapped up the Ivy League crown, Penn will now focus its efforts on the next piece of hardware en route to another historic year.