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Sophomore midfielder Elyse Decker notched three goals for Penn women's lacrosse on Wednesday, but Princeton's offense proved too strong for the Quakers to handle.

Credit: Son Nguyen

The game came down to the wire, but the Quakers weren't quite able to come out on top.

Less than a week after losing a 6-4 lead at the half to Dartmouth, No. 12 Penn women’s lacrosse couldn’t manage to hold on to its advantage at the midway point against No. 10 Princeton at Franklin Field en route to a 13-11 loss. The defeat is the second consecutive Ivy League setback for the Red and Blue, though both games came against some of the top teams in the Ancient Eight.

“I don’t feel we’ve been playing well, and this was one of our better games,” coach Karin Corbett said.

It was a tale of two halves for the Quakers (9-4, 3-2 Ivy), who quickly took control against the Tigers (10-3, 4-1) before surrendering their lead minutes into the second period of play.

After Penn jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the back of two goals from sophomore midfielder Elyse Decker, it was Princeton’s turn to put numbers on the scoreboard. The Tigers scored five unanswered goals, four of which came from senior attacker Elizabeth George, to take a 6-4 lead with 9:42 left to play in the first half.

Junior attacker Tess D’Orsi and George, who rank No. 1 and No. 5 in the Ivy League in goals per game, respectively, combined for 10 of Princeton’s 13 goals on the evening.

Junior midfielder Erin Barry scored her 18th goal of the season with 6:12 remaining in the half to slow the Tigers’ roll. The final minutes saw a flurry of scoring from both teams. Freshman midfielder Michaela McMahon and Barry worked a two-woman game around the net until McMahon tied the game at six goals apiece.

After Penn and Princeton exchanged goals to bring the score to 7-7, Barry scored her second goal of the game in dramatic fashion with 17 seconds remaining in the half. The Red and Blue went into halftime with an 8-7 lead and an 18-16 lead in shots despite controlling just six draws to Princeton’s 10.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, Princeton spent the majority of its time in the Quakers’ half of the field. The Tigers’ George began a 4-0 run that was capped off when D’Orsi gave the Orange and Black an 11-8 lead with 10:28 left to play in the game.

Nevertheless, Penn battled back to make it competitive again. Just a minute after D’Orsi’s goal, sophomore midfielder Elyse Decker made it 11-9, much to the delight of the Franklin Field crowd. A Princeton yellow card gave the Red and Blue a man advantage, upon which McMahon capitalized to cut the lead to one goal.

With 5:13 remaining, McMahon elicited another roar from the crowd when she tied the game at 11. Unfortunately for Penn, this deadlock was as far as the Quakers would go. George scored her sixth goal of the game with 3:50 left, and Princeton successfully ran down the clock after controlling the ensuing draw before scoring again with just 39 seconds to play.

The result is a disappointing one for Penn, not only because of the loss, but also because the Red and Blue came so tantalizingly close to victory while outshooting their opponents, 33-29.

“For us, this was one of our more complete games this year, so I’m pleased about that,” Corbett said. “We played for 60 minutes, and we had a lot of fight in us, but we have to finish better.”

Next up for the Quakers is a Saturday road matchup at Columbia (4-9, 1-4), where they will look to regain their footing in League play.

“[Columbia plays] man-to-man, so I’m hoping that we can attack the same way that we attacked tonight, because I think we created a lot of opportunities,” Corbett said.

Even with Penn’s loss, an Ivy League title is still in play. Strong competition at the top of the standings has left the regular season title and postseason tournament up for grabs.