In a clash of two of the last eight remaining undefeated teams in the nation, one team would have to come away with its first loss of the season.
No. 8 Penn women's lacrosse traveled to College Park, Md. to take on No. 2 Maryland on Wednesday evening, ultimately falling by a score of 14-9.
Both the Quakers and the Terrapins had similar narratives coming into their meeting. They either battled from behind or pulled out an overtime victory in their recent games. Penn beat No. 17 Johns Hopkins on Feb. 23 in overtime, while Maryland has two overtime wins of its own this season.
After Penn took an early 2-1 lead off of goals from sophomore attacker Laura Crawford and junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig, Maryland went on a 8-0 run to push its lead to seven with 8:53 left in the first period. The Quakers showed strong resiliency by scoring the last two goals of the half to pull within five.
The 8-0 Maryland run in the first half ended up being the turning point in the game, as the Quakers were never truly able to recover. The closest they got after that was within five goals twice in the second half.
“Maryland is always a great, solid program with a lot of talent and a lot of threats,” senior defender and captain Katy Junior said. “We got ourselves into a little bit of a hole, and that’s a really hard place to be at.”
Junior midfielder Erin Barry was a bright spot for Penn, netting four goals on nine shots, including two midway through the final period in a final effort to mount a comeback.
“I really wanted to take the team on my back and do whatever I could on my end to try to get a W,” Barry said. “I was hoping to bring the energy and that was part of my motivation.”
While the final score was in Maryland’s favor, Penn had several opportunities to score. The Red and Blue took 26 shots to Maryland’s 23, and they also had four more shots on goal. They also controlled seven more draws and fielded two more ground balls. The Quakers just couldn’t find the back of the net as consistently as they usually do.
“We outshot them and still came up with the loss,” Barry said. “Just working on that within the next couple of weeks is something that we’ll have to be better at.”
Penn will look to bounce back on Saturday as the team returns to Franklin Field to face another formidable opponent in No. 15 Duke. The Blue Devils are 6-1 overall, with their only loss coming against No. 7 Northwestern.
“They have so many offensive threats,” Junior said. “It will be a lot about playing our own game and not getting frazzled.”
A key for the Red and Blue in this matchup will be to get back to their stifling defense. Before its loss to Maryland, Penn had given up an average of 6.67 goals per game. To get back in the win column, the Quakers' defense will need to step up like it has for most of the season.