A win is a win.
Penn women’s lacrosse pulled out a narrow 11-10 victory over Cornell on Saturday afternoon, increasing the Quakers' season win total to eight, and preserving their one-loss record. The Big Red had a chance to even the score with 55 seconds left, but a save from junior goalie Mikaila Cheeseman spoiled the upset-minded Cornell’s hopes.
The Quakers (8-1, 2-0 Ivy), despite being ranked No. 5 in the nation, struggled throughout the game to separate themselves from the Big Red (4-4, 2-1).
The most glaring issue for Penn was maintaining possession. The Red and Blue had trouble throughout both halves with handling the ball, committing a total of 21 turnovers — one more than Cornell.
“We came out with the win, which is great, but there’s a lot we need to improve on,” junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig said. "I think we don't hold ourselves as accountable as we'd like during practice on little silly turnovers. That kind of showed in the game."
The lack of control on Penn’s part allowed Cornell to have many more looks at the goal, taking 21 more shots than Penn — with 15 of those 21 coming in the second half. Many of those looks emerged from free position opportunities. The Quakers allowed Cornell to have 10 opportunities from within eight meters of the goal.
“We were a step behind,” coach Karin Corbett said regarding the play of the defense.
Although the Quakers’ defense has been a big part of their success this season, the amount of penalties, shots, and ultimately, goals allowed composed a subpar performance for one of the nation's best teams.
On the other hand, the Penn offense, despite its many turnovers, became the deciding factor in the victory, with Rosenzweig once again leading the way. Rosenzweig posted a team-high five points with a hat-trick and two assists. Sophomore attacker Zoe Belodeau also had a healthy contribution, posting a game-high four goals.
“If we all were firing better as a team on the attack, [Rosenzweig] could have even more [points],” Corbett said.
These two offensive heavyweights carried the day for the Quakers, who ultimately turned in a messy win. Thankfully for Penn, the visitors could not execute offensively in crunch time, despite surges at the beginning of the second half and within the last five minutes.
The Red and Blue were able to find a rhythm during a 10-minute span in the second half, when they netted four goals in a row, including two from Belodeau. The deficit built by this run was simply too much for Cornell’s inconsistent offense to overcome, thus putting the Quakers in control.
The Red and Blue will need to return to their usual elite play quickly after this close win. Next weekend, Penn will travel to the banks of Lake Michigan to take on No. 11 Northwestern, a much tougher matchup than the Big Red.
“We have to prepare this week and get better every day,” Corbett said.
Now all eyes turn toward the Wildcats.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Gabby Rosenzweig. The DP regrets the error.