For the 10th time in 10 tries, Penn women’s lacrosse will be playing in the Ivy League Tournament, this time taking on a Dartmouth squad that got the better of the Quakers earlier this season.
The Red and Blue (11-4, 5-2 Ivy) are the No. 3 seed in the Tournament after beating Columbia and Harvard in back-to-back games to end the regular season. Their opponents, the Big Green (11-4, 6-1), are the No. 2 seed.
On the other side of the bracket, top-seeded Princeton will play Cornell, with the winners of each Friday semi-final game meeting on Sunday in the championship game. For the first time in the Tournament’s history, all of the games will be hosted by Columbia in New York City.
The first meeting between Penn and Dartmouth this year resulted in a 15-11 victory for the Big Green in which the Quakers held a two-goal lead at halftime before struggling against a stifling Dartmouth defense. But the Red and Blue are certainly hopeful for a different result this time around and will seek to use information from the last game to their advantage.
The Quakers, according to coach Karin Corbett, have focused on fine-tuning their defense, replicating their success at the draw, and, above all, finishing their opportunities.
“We have to shoot better,” Corbett said. “They play a great zone, so we need to be able to catch and finish on the inside. We really need to be shooting a lot better than we have these last few games.”
Aiding the Quakers in their efforts this weekend will be their significant Tournament experience. Only the top four teams in the League earn a bid to the Ivy Tournament, and Penn is the only program to have earned a bid in each year of the event's existence. As a result, both the players and the coaching staff know what it takes to win on the biggest of stages.
“Having the experience makes it that much easier to know what a Friday-Sunday looks like and to be ready for that type of turnaround,” senior defender and captain Katy Junior said. “Some teams haven’t experienced that.”
Not only is Junior cognizant of the fact that many teams haven’t played two games in a single weekend, but she also recognizes that these Tournament games are a privilege and that they should be treated as such.
“Something that we’re trying to focus on is how lucky we are to be playing here,” Junior said. “I have a little sister whose season ended a week ago, so we’re trying to remind people how fortunate we are to still be playing. A lot of teams’ seasons ended last week or even two weeks ago, so we don’t feel like we’re entitled to have these games coming up. We’re grateful, and we’re proud of ourselves for working hard enough to give ourselves this opportunity.”
That hard work has manifested itself in the Quakers’ inclusion in the Tournament field as well as in individual postseason accolades.
Junior Erin Barry earned Ivy League Midfielder of the Year honors and, along with fellow junior Gabby Rosenzweig, was a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection. Joining Barry and Rosenzweig on the first team were Junior and sophomore Zoe Belodeau.
Additionally, sophomore Abby Bosco and juniors Chelsea Kibler and Mikaila Cheeseman were named second team All-Ivy, while freshman Michaela McMahon earned honorable mention recognition.
With that plethora of talent up and down the roster, Penn is no typical No. 3 seed.
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