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Senior defender Katy Junior has been a leader in the backfield for Penn women's lacrosse this season.

Credit: Son Nguyen

This Saturday, Penn women’s lacrosse will continue its Ivy League play against Brown at Stevenson-Pincince Field in Providence, R.I.

The Quakers (8-2, 2-0 Ivy) have had a strong season thus far, but coming off of a 17-13 loss to No. 9 Northwestern, they will be hoping to rebound against Brown (6-5, 2-1). When they faced off last year, Penn beat the Bears by a score of 16-10. If they continue to perform the way they have been this season, the Red and Blue should have a good chance of securing a victory. Here are three keys Penn needs to focus on to be successful this weekend.

Playing their freshmen

The freshman class has stepped up this season and shown that it is ready to compete at the collegiate level. This past weekend against Northwestern, freshmen Michaela McMahon and Taylyn Stadler had strong performances, with McMahon scoring two goals and Stadler three. McMahon has appeared in every game this season and has scored 10 goals for the Red and Blue. 

The talent of the freshman class has been an asset to Penn thus far, and its play will be essential to a win on Saturday.

Holding strong on defense

The Quakers have won four of their games by a margin of only one goal. Senior Katy Junior and junior Chelsea Kibler have been leaders in the backfield. Defense has been one of Penn’s strong suits this season, which is exactly why it will be important this weekend.

Substandard defense early in their game against Northwestern cost the Quakers by putting them in a deficit after the first few minutes of play. Near the end of the game, they were also unable to prevent the Wildcats from scoring, bringing the final score to 17-13. 

Junior goalie Mikaila Cheeseman has stopped 72 shots so far this season, earning a save percentage of .507. This season the Bears have had 136 goals scored against them, while Penn has kept the number down to 90. That said, Brown ranks in the middle of the Ivy League, so the Quakers shouldn’t underestimate the Bears' abilities.

Scoring early

Against both Duke and Cornell, neither Penn nor its opponent was able to score within the first few minutes of the game. Establishing an early lead against Brown will help Penn create a clear path to victory. Sophomore Zoe Belodeau and junior Gabby Rosenzweig have shown that they are capable of scoring under any circumstance. Belodeau had four goals against Northwestern, increasing her total this year to 26, while Rosenzweig had two. If the powerhouse duo is able to capitalize on scoring opportunities this weekend, Penn should be in a good position to win.