After losing four of its last five games, the Penn women’s lacrosse team faced off against a Georgetown squad in Washington, D.C. on Saturday that had won three of its last four.
Those odds didn't look to be in Penn's favor going in, but the Quakers (3-4, 0-1 Ivy) managed to pull off the victory, coming out on top 10-7, courtesy of standout performances from senior goalkeeper Krissy Kowalski, who is also a sports associate for The Daily Pennsylvanian, and freshman attacker Keeley Block. The defense also put up a strong showing, winning a majority of the draws.
“I think our defense played well,” coach Karin Corbett said after the win over Georgetown (4-4). “Our defense was stifling them in what they wanted to do.”
The game started off with aggressive play from Penn, as the Quakers kept possession a fair amount. Ten minutes into the game, Penn had scored two goals, the first being from freshman Natasha Gorriaran. Senior Taylyn Stadler scored the second in an exhilarating manner, weaving right down the middle before slotting it in.
“We were winning the ball a lot in the first half,” Corbett said. “I felt like our attack played its best since the beginning of this season. We worked hard on that, and I’m pleased to see it on the field.”
Freshman midfielder Anna Brandt added to the tally, raising the Red and Blue's lead to 3-0 in the second quarter. Block then began to work her magic, scoring an impressive five goals in the second and third quarters. Positioning herself well, she seemed to find the right spots each time, finding the balance between the precision needed in a free-position shot and the technique required to make goals in one-on-one challenges.
“Keeley has just been improving each game,” Corbett said. “She just did fantastic and will be a very strong player for us.”
Another standout performance was by Kowalski, who amassed 17 saves over an hour of playing time.
“Krissy Kowalski played very well in the net,” Corbett said. “In the fourth quarter, they had many shots on goal and we needed her to save the ball.”
In prep for the game, Kowalski spent time training on blocking low shots, which was instrumental in her performance on Saturday.
“A real struggle for me has been low saves, so I have been working on that,” Kowalski said. “Incidentally, they were shooting low a lot, and so it was nice to see the work I put in come to fruition.”
This win serves as a confidence booster and valuable experience for a young, relatively inexperienced team. A large majority of the roster are freshmen and sophomores, the latter of whom did not play at all during their first years as Quakers. Thus, the team is still learning its dynamic and how to click with one another.
“We’re starting to gel,” Corbett said. “With COVID, our team is just really young. We really only have two players who have played both in their freshman and sophomore years. Our entire team is new and it takes time to get them experienced and [learn] how to play with each other.”
She views each game as a learning experience for the team, and while there are still teething issues, she is reassured by the progress they've made over the course of the season and how that progress has been implemented game in and game out.
The Quakers will be in action again on Wednesday night at the University of Maryland against the 7-0 Terps.