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Sophomore midfielder Elyse Decker scored four goals in the first half for the Quakers.

Credit: Son Nguyen

Penn women’s lacrosse met Georgetown in Syracuse, N.Y., for a Friday afternoon matchup in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament. The two teams met earlier this season in March, when the Quakers eked out an 8-7 victory against the visiting Hoyas at Franklin Field.

After Friday’s first half, it looks as though the Red and Blue have another difficult test on their hands. Penn fell behind, 4-1, and saw a change in goalies before fighting back for a 6-6 halftime score. The Quakers (12-5, 6-3 Ivy) will have a lot of work to do in order to secure a seventh consecutive victory against Georgetown (11-8, 5-2 Big East) and a place in the tournament’s second round.

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 of play. 

The Hoyas’ senior midfielder Francesca Whitehurst added the last goal of the outburst with her 41st of the season just minutes after Penn’s junior goalie Mikaila Cheeseman had shut the door on Whitehurst’s free position shot.

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 goal. With 9:23 left in the half, Penn 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 the goal, Penn’s 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 to play.

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. 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.

Check back after the game for the full recap.