Starting off your season with the team that ended your last?
That’s one way to pick back up where you left off.
Penn women’s lacrosse will do just that in 2020, as the Quakers will have a shot for revenge against Georgetown on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Last year, the women lost to Georgetown in a 13-12 nail-biter in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, ending their tournament run. The women had received an NCAA bid for the 15th time in program history despite falling to No. 1 ranked Princeton last year in the Ivy League Tournament championship.
This is an unusual kickoff for the women, who in past seasons have opened against Delaware. The rearrangement is in part due to efforts to get Loyola (Md.) on the women’s schedule so that senior Gabby Rosenzweig can play her sister in her final collegiate season.
“It’s definitely the toughest opener we’ve had. I really wanted to get Loyola [(Md.)] on the schedule, because Gabby’s sister plays for Loyola and this is Gabby’s last year. I really wanted to do that before she graduated so they can play against each other,” coach Karin Corbett said.
Regardless of the intentions behind the schedule change, the Quakers are rallying to prepare for intense competition at the beginning of their season.
“Georgetown is really good. They come out really hard. They played a really high-pressure zone the last time we played them, so it’s going to be a lot of discipline and a lot of working them and not looking for the first shot,” said junior Zoe Belodeau. “They’re definitely not a team that you can underestimate, so you have to come out with a game plan and not underestimate them. It’s definitely going to be something that tests us right off the bat.”
The men will see a similarly competitive season opener, as they also start off regular season play this Saturday with an away game against Maryland on Saturday. The Terrapins are currently ranked No. 4, just two spots ahead of Penn’s current No. 6 ranking in the preseason Division I Media Poll.
The contest will be great exposure to the competition level of this season’s Division I field. The Quakers opened their 2019 season against Maryland last year as well, and fell just short of a marquee early-season win. Then ranked at No. 3, the Terrapins forced overtime with an extraordinary save in the last minute of the game. With just 18 seconds left, they scored to take home a 13-12 win.
Despite failing to topple the Big Ten power in their season opener last year, the men finished 2019 at a historic high, capturing an Ivy League regular season title, winning the Ivy League Tournament, and then advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Red and Blue were one goal short of advancing to the final four of the tournament, losing to Yale in overtime by a 19-18 score.
Regardless, the men have an incredible amount of talent returning, and will be challenging themselves with a tough schedule in their early season. After taking on the Terrapins this week, and Duke the following week, the Quakers will look forward to taking on No. 1 Penn State at Franklin Field for their home opener.
This weekend will be a clear gauge for the Quakers’ preparedness to take on the season. With these competitive schedules, both the women’s and men’s teams are looking to elevate their game.
“We’re definitely a different team this year and we want to show that. I think we’re just fired up for it,” Belodeau said. “There’s definitely that competitiveness, and that bad taste in our mouths after ending last year with [Georgetown], that makes us really excited to start this year with them. We have a lot to prove this year."
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