And that’s what you call a bounce-back win.
Three days after suffering its first defeat of the season at the hands of No. 2 Maryland, Penn women’s lacrosse team rebounded to narrowly defeat Duke by a score of 10-9 at Franklin Field on alumni weekend.
The game was as evenly matched as one could imagine: Only seven spots separate the two teams in the NCAA rankings, with Penn (7-1) at No. 8 and Duke (6-2) at No. 15. This was certainly reflected by the scoreline, as neither team was able to establish a lead larger than two goals throughout the game.
Both teams’ determination to win was evident in the first half. Playing physical defense, chances were few and hard to come by. However, the Blue Devils, riding a four-game winning streak, would get on the board first after 10 minutes of play. The Quakers, behind a raucous crowd that turned up on alumni weekend, rallied back to take a 4-2 lead.
At the heart of that run was junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig, who put up one goal and three assists during that stretch. Her four total assists bettered that of the entire Duke team, which was one. In fact, Rosenzweig seems to always thrive against the Blue Devils — last season, she scored three goals and assisted on three against them.
“I think Duke is always really good competition,” Rosenzweig said. “They show up with a lot of fight and a lot of heart. A lot of girls who look at Penn [when choosing schools to attend] also look at Duke. It’s just a deep rivalry between us, so I kind of show up every game wanting to, you know, take it to them.”
Penn coach Karin Corbett was full of praise for Rosenzweig, calling her a “complete attacker.”
“Sometimes you have people who are really good assisters, but they don’t have the complete game,” Corbett said. “But [Rosenzweig] really does. I think [her assists are] really important, since we have really good cutters. I think she really has a complete game as an attacker, and that’s been helping our team pull out in games.”
The Blue Devils’ fight and heart would be on full display as they went on a 4-1 run of their own, which was highlighted by a tremendous solo run into the Penn circle right off a draw. However, that was one of the rare occasions on which the Penn defense, which concedes just 7.68 goals per game, had let its guard down.
“We started in a zone today and showed really good confidence,” Corbett said. “I thought Duke did a really good job of cutting and moving, and we switched back to [man-to-man], and I thought we also did a pretty good job.”
Penn and Duke both turned the heat up in the second half, but following two yellow cards assessed on the Blue Devils, the Quakers were able to retake the lead with two goals in the space of 20 seconds. After that, it was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams going scoreless for eight minutes until Duke tied the game up at nine apiece with 5:00 to go to set up a nail-biting finale.
Coming out of a timeout, Penn would execute flawlessly and regain the lead through sophomore attacker Zoe Belodeau. Despite the Quakers then being penalized for a hit on the head, Duke was unable to capitalize and turned the ball over. A shot clock violation by the Quakers gave Duke the final minute of the game to try and force overtime, but the Blue Devils' high pass into midfield was intercepted under pressure from senior defender Katy Junior, which all but gave Penn the win.
“I thought we made a lot of mental errors today, which kept getting them back in the game,” Corbett said. “But we came through when it counted at the end.”
Looking ahead, the Quakers will host Cornell next Saturday for their second Ivy League game this season. Corbett is looking forward to getting some more practice done after having midweek games for the past three weeks.
“Our offense needs a lot of work," she said. "We need to make sure our man-up situations are better, that we make the most of our motions.”
Rosenzweig echoed her coach’s thoughts on offensive improvement.
“Chemistry and pushing the ball hard,” she said when asked about the aspects that the team has to work on. “A lot of times we like to slow it down, but I think pushing [helps] because we’ve got a lot of great girls who can get to goal.”