Facing a friend-turned-foe, the Quakers handed coach Melissa Lehman’s undefeated Rutgers team its first loss of the season.
No. 13 Penn women's lacrosse topped Rutgers, 11-9, in a back-and-forth home battle. After Wednesday's contest, the Red and Blue improve to 3-0, while the Scarlet Knights fall to 4-1. Lehman was an associate coach for Penn from 2010-18, during which the Quakers won three Ivy League Tournament titles. She also led the Quakers to two appearances in the NCAA finals during her four seasons with the program as a player from 2005-09.
“Melissa is near and dear to my heart. She’s a tremendous coach,” coach Karin Corbett said. “It was tough at times because I think she knew what our kids’ tendencies were and how to stop them, and I think that got into our heads a little bit.”
The game started off hot, as Penn and Rutgers traded goals to make it 2-2 early in the first half. The score remained stagnant until the Red and Blue added a couple goals to increase their lead to 4-2. Another few goals from both sides capped off a defensively-oriented first half at 5-3.
Capitalizing on their opponents’ turnovers, the Quakers dominated the first half in terms of shooting, posting 23 shots with 12 of them on target.
Opening the second half, senior midfielder Erin Barry completed her hat trick, adding to a team-best nine goals on the season. Just as Penn seemed to be pulling away with a 6-3 lead, the Scarlet Knights responded with three straight goals to tie the game and ensure a close finish with 13 minutes remaining.
In a true team effort, sophomore attacker Taylyn Stadler, senior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig, and junior midfielder Elyse Decker each contributed to a total of five clutch goals to create enough cushion for the Red and Blue to seal the victory despite three late scores from Rutgers. Stadler finished with a hat trick, while Rosenzweig and Decker each had two goals on the day.
“I think what sets us apart this year opposed to previous years I have been a part of this team is that we have so many girls who can get to goal,” Barry said. “Someone’s always there, and we have a lot of threats, so I think that’s lethal for our team this year.”
The Quakers will not have much time to rest before their next contest, as they travel to New Haven, Conn. to face Yale for their third game in eight days. Saturday will be the Red and Blue’s first Ivy League competition of the season, and they will hope to extend their win-streak to 13 against the Bulldogs.
“Always a goal is to win the Ivy League, so every Ivy game is really big,” Corbett said. “Winning the Ivy League is a great opportunity to be a champion.”
Rosenzweig will have another chance at a record in the Quakers' next game. With 124 career assists, she is just three assists shy of tying 2013 graduate Nina Corcoran’s mark.
“Ivy games are a completely different animal. I think any team can win at any moment,” Barry said. “Bringing that energy like we have been is going to be really important, and just playing smart is what is going to set us apart.”