Sixty minutes weren’t enough to decide this one. As Penn women’s lacrosse battled for victory with Georgetown into the depths of overtime, any onlooker knew that a win would be that much more satisfying and that a loss would be equally as heartbreaking.
Things didn’t end in the Quakers’ favor on Friday afternoon in Syracuse, N.Y., in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament, where the Hoyas clinched a 13-12 victory over the Red and Blue in double overtime.
The close contest was nothing new, since the two teams met earlier this season in March, when the Quakers (12-6, 6-3 Ivy) eked out an 8-7 victory against the visiting Hoyas (12-8, 5-2 Big East) at Franklin Field.
Junior defender Chelsea Kibler began the game with an opening draw win, and Penn held possession in Georgetown’s end of the field until the Hoyas surrendered a free position shot. Less than a minute into the contest, sophomore midfielder Elyse Decker took advantage of the scoring opportunity to give the Quakers an early 1-0 lead with her 17th goal of the year.
Despite the early success and another win by Kibler on the ensuing draw, the Red and Blue struggled with their shooting accuracy for the first 15 minutes of the half. During that time, Georgetown embarked on a 4-0 run to take a three-goal lead with 18:56 remaining in the first period.
While the Quakers certainly struggled early on, Decker was determined to keep her team in the game. Her second goal of the game at 14:19 ended Georgetown’s run, and she got her hat-trick just over two minutes later to cut the deficit to one.
“Our attack was moving the ball well and they were finding [Decker],” coach Karin Corbett said. “She had a great day finishing today, so there were a lot of great things from younger kids.”
With 9:23 left in the half, junior midfielder Erin Barry, who earned Ivy League Midfielder of the Year honors, found freshman attacker Taylyn Stadler for a top-shelf goal that tied the score at 4-4.
Georgetown responded quickly, however, and junior attacker Michaela Bruno ended the Hoyas’ 10-minute scoring drought with 8:35 left in the first half to make it 5-4. The score became 6-4 only a minute later when senior attacker Taylor Gebhardt found the back of the net after a shot fake that fooled Cheeseman. After Georgetown's sixth score, freshman goalie Krissy Kowalski, who is also a DP staffer, took Cheeseman’s place in goal.
After Georgetown’s Mollie Miller was issued a yellow card for a stick check to the head of junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig, the Quakers immediately capitalized on their man-up opportunity with a goal from freshman attacker Madison Jiranek to make it 6-5 with 4:35 left in the half.
With under three minutes remaining, Kowalski made her mark on the game with a huge save on a close-range attempt by Georgetown’s junior midfielder Liza Liotta to preserve the one-goal deficit.
“[Krissy] did a great job and actually had some tremendous saves today,” Corbett said. “We’re really proud of her.”
On the following possession with under a minute left in the half, Decker was again a thorn in the Hoyas’ side. The sophomore tied the game at six goals apiece with her fourth score of the game and 20th of the year.
Georgetown couldn’t manage to score as it ran down the clock to end the half, and Kowalski made her second save of the game to preserve the tie.
The first half was one of runs, but neither team managed to gain a significant edge in the second, as the rivals traded goals throughout the half.
After sophomore attacker Zoe Belodeau made it 9-8 in Penn’s favor with 22:14 remaining, the back-and-forth trend continued when Bruno tied the game 9-9 on a free position shot that snuck past Kowalski. Minutes later, a Bruno yellow card gave the Quakers a man-up opportunity, during which Belodeau hit both posts of the Georgetown goal with one free position shot.
Despite the miss, the Red and Blue reclaimed the lead when Barry scored on a diving shot with 13:00 left on the clock. The lead finally grew to two goals when Belodeau scored from a Rosenzweig pass off of a free position shot with 9:36 left to play.
Georgetown was not done, though, and Gebhardt scored three straight goals to make it 12-11 with 6:19 remaining. For nearly two minutes, neither team could add to the score until Belodeau tied it at 12. The score stayed 12-12 throughout the remaining 2:39, though, and sudden-death overtime ensued.
After one overtime period, the score remained tied at a dozen apiece. It looked as though the second overtime would end in the same manner, but with five minutes and 58 seconds of the six-minute overtime elapsed, Gebhardt again put her name on the scoresheet with a game-winning seventh goal to bring the Quakers’ year to an abrupt and disappointing end.
“I’m really proud of our seniors and their leadership this year, and this is a tough way to go out,” Corbett said. “It’s tough to see [the seniors] so upset and their careers over, but they’ve given so much to this program. … They’ve given us four years and we can’t thank them enough for all that they’ve done.”
With Penn’s season now over, the team will return home, while Georgetown will advance to the second round to take on Syracuse on Sunday afternoon.
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