If the last two games were a reminder of how competitive the Ivy League is, then this game certainly reminded the League how competitive the Quakers can be in the postseason. Now they know they'll be there.
No. 12 Penn women’s lacrosse clinched a berth in the Ivy League Tournament after dominating host Columbia, 21-7. Penn (10-4, 4-2 Ivy) is the only school to have qualified for all 10 Ivy League women's lacrosse tournaments.
“Coming off of that losing streak, we were so pumped the whole bus ride, the energy was great,” junior midfielder Erin Barry said. “We knew that we had to win this game to get into the [Ivy League] Tournament, so that was our main focus. I think everyone just having each other’s backs out there was great.”
And sure enough, the team’s desire was evident right from the first whistle. They piled the pressure on Columbia straight away, forcing a turnover and two fouls that allowed Barry to convert from a free position less than a minute into the game.
Columbia, who is averaging a League-worst 8.92 goals per game, would briefly retake the lead at 2-1, yet the Red and Blue started to pick up their pace and intensity. The visitors would go on a blistering 11-0 run in a 12-minute span, including hat tricks from a pair of freshmen in attacker Taylyn Stadler and midfielder Michaela McMahon.
On their way to building a 14-3 halftime lead, the Quakers had 18 shots on target out of 21 total, and won 11-of-17 draws.
“I thought we did some good things against Princeton,” coach Karin Corbett said. “And I was hoping we could come out and attack Columbia as hard as we did Princeton, which we hadn’t done as much [this] season, so I was really pleased to see the team answer [the call] today.”
Both teams sent out their reserve goalies to start the second half, and midway through the period, Corbett had nearly emptied her bench. Despite the Quakers giving up 12 fouls and only managing to win 4-of-12 draws after halftime, Corbett was pleased with the performance of her reserves.
Ultimately, it was a balanced scoring night for the Red and Blue: Besides Stadler and McMahon, who scored another goal for a season-high of four, Barry and freshman attacker Robin Panzarella also notched hat tricks.
For Barry, her three goals in the game means she now joins teammate Gabby Rosenzweig in Penn’s 100 goals club. Barry credits her previous mentors and Corbett for helping her reach this milestone.
“I give my high school coach a lot of credit,” Barry said. “She taught me everything I know basically, and same with [Corbett]. I definitely came in [to Penn] freshman year not where I am now. She gives you advice in a way that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, but makes you want to impress her and want to grow as a player and a person.”
Likewise, Corbett has huge praise for the star midfielder, who has been at the heart of almost everything that the Red and Blue offer offensively.
“Erin’s a true midfielder,” Corbett said. “She plays with a ton of fight and heart and she’s been an important player on our team since her freshman year.”
Having now snapped their losing streak, the Quakers can look forward to building some momentum ahead of the Tournament as they visit Harvard next Saturday. Despite having already clinched a berth, to be hosted by Columbia as well, Corbett has her sights firmly set on ending the regular season positively.
“[Harvard is] getting better every game,” Corbett said. “It’ll be their Senior Day, and we’ve got to play our best.”
Penn will either be the No. 3 or 4 seed in the Ivy Tournament, as the Quakers cannot catch Dartmouth or Princeton due to the head-to-head tiebreak. The Red and Blue will be the No. 3 seed with a win over Harvard or a Cornell loss.