To say Saturday's game was well-matched would be an understatement.
Penn women's lacrosse and Johns Hopkins played 62 minutes of a tight contest, but the Quakers ultimately emerged victorious in an 11-10 overtime thriller.
The Red and Blue (2-0) traveled to Baltimore to play the Blue Jays (2-1) on their home turf, and from the start, it was clear that neither team would go down without a fight.
With Penn ranked at No. 11 and Hopkins at No. 17, the game was set to be highly competitive. Most of the play was concentrated around each team’s eight-meter line.
Hopkins senior midfielder Ellie McNulty scored the first goal of the game, but less than two minutes later, junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig tied the game for the Quakers. This was just the beginning of the back-and-forth play that dominated the game.
In the first ten minutes of play, the Blue Jays hovered on Penn’s half of the field. After two more goals by Hopkins, senior defender Katy Junior put an end to their domination. A strategic stick check earned her possession and she sprinted down the field, transitioning the Quakers’ play from defensive to offensive.
With eight minutes left in the first half, Penn pulled back into the lead. Rosenzweig scored again, bringing the score to 5-4. However, the lead was short-lived, as junior midfielder Mackenzie Heldberg tied the game once again.
In the last few minutes of the first half, junior goalkeeper Mikaila Cheeseman made two important saves for the Quakers, preventing the Blue Jays from surging ahead at the half. After an eventful first half, the the score was 6-6 heading into the break.
Junior stressed that the halftime score motivated the Quakers heading into the remainder of the game.
“We had to really think about things as we were heading into [halftime] and [the game] was tied,” Junior said. “But we kept saying these are the moments we live for, these are the moments why we play lacrosse. We wanna play a good game, we wanna play a good team.”
Right off the bat, McNulty gave the Blue Jays a two-goal lead. The rest of the second half played out much like the first, with each team scoring only to be matched by the other.
In the last minute of play, Penn found itself up by one goal. With just 55 seconds to go, McNulty snuck a low goal past Cheeseman, making overtime nearly inevitable.
In the final draw of the game, sophomore midfielder Shelby Harrison represented Hopkins while junior defender Chelsea Kibler took it for Penn. There was immense pressure on both girls to win it and give her team a final chance at a win. Kibler immediately snatched the ball out of the air, but neither team was able to capitalize in the seconds remaining, pushing the game into extra minutes.
“In overtime situations like that, a lot of times it can get really emotional,” Junior said. “We just kept reminding ourselves [to] stay calm. We’re in control of the situation so long as we have the ball in our hands and can really focus on the little things as we head into that.”
Two minutes into the three minute overtime period, junior midfielder Erin Barry sent the ball into Hopkins’ cage, winning the game for Penn and preserving the team's undefeated season.
The Red and Blue managed to keep a perfect record this weekend, and they will need to maintain their composure as they head into the next week. The Quakers are set to play their third consecutive away game at Rutgers on Wednesday, and will face off against their first Ivy opponent, Yale, this Saturday.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.