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Senior attacker Kennon Moon fights for control of the ball after the draw at the start of the game against La Salle at Franklin Field on Feb. 18. Credit: Samantha Turner

Penn women’s lacrosse kicked off its spring break in high spirits with a 17-7 win at Columbia Saturday afternoon. 

The Quakers (3-1, 1-0 Ivy) arrived in Manhattan with a lot to prove moving into the Ivy League season. They missed the Ivy League postseason last year — the first time in 13 years. Against a Columbia (3-2, 0-1) program which also had questions spilling over from last season, they put the Ivy League on notice. 

The first quarter showcased a commanding Quaker offense, which has 41 goals across their first three games. Their ability to draw fouls was key to their success, with sophomore midfielder Anna Brandt and sophomore attacker Erika Chung scoring on free position shots after Columbia fouls.

But what really established the match's tone was how Penn kept the ball away from Columbia, which only managed three total shots in the entire period compared to nine for the Red and Blue. This is largely due to senior attacker Kennon Moon — who only gave up two draws in the first quarter. 

"Communication is big," Moon said. "We have the two circle girls around me and me in the middle. Every time I step up to the line I'm thinking of people on the circle, what they're able to do, what I can do for them, and how we can win as a unit."

Moon was also a huge contributor on the offensive end with two goals in the second quarter. She scored two more times in the third quarter to make her total tally for the day four goals.

"Kennon stepped up a great day today, which is great as a senior. She took charge of her role," coach Karin Corbett said. 

Moon was not the only one with a strong offensive game Saturday. In the first half, five different players for Penn scored, including junior midfielder Kaitlyn Cumiskey and senior midfielder Caitlin Cook — who’s missed the last two season from an injury. Freshman attacker Patricia Columbia-Walsh and Chung controlled traffic behind the cage, allowing their teammates to cut and find open shots. 

However, Columbia proved that this is not the same program that Penn defeated 19-6 last season, or the same program they have gone 25-0 against. Late in the second quarter, the Lions scored two quick goals to keep the match a one-goal contest going into halftime at a score of 6-5. 

Columbia's performance around the net allowed the Lions to stay in the game despite Penn holding the ball in the attack zone for much longer. 

"We had a lot of shots, but we weren't shooting well," Corbett said. "I felt we struggled in the first half a little bit."

To start the second half, the game initially felt like it would continue to be a back-and-forth contest. But after each team exchanged goals early in the third quarter, the Quakers found an offensive rhythm to carry them through. 

The Red and Blue scored four unanswered — including three within as many minutes — to give Penn a five-goal lead going into the fourth quarter. Much of this was due to the Quakers stopping the Lions in transition and maintaining possession off deflected shots. 

While Columbia had a quick goal that felt like it would spark a comeback, Penn shut them out for the remainder of the game while scoring an additional six goals in the fourth quarter, cementing a dominant victory. 

"We didn't come out very fast," Moon said. "We didn't have a great first half and even despite that, we turned it around. It came from so many different people — both younger and older — and everybody stepped up and played as a group. We're at our best when everyone plays together."

Another notable reason why the Quakers controlled the whole game was their transition play. They were able to successfully clear nearly the whole game whereas the Lions could not, having a 50% success rate for clears. 

Despite outscoring the Lions 11-2 in the second half, moving forward, the goal for the Quakers is to not wait until the second half to show the team's true potential. 

"We came on strong in the second half and we [have to] play at that pace a full 60 minutes. That's really important," Corbett said. "I felt that defensively, we struggled a little bit in the first half with some things and I think our speed of play needs to increase."

With an Ivy League win under its belt, Penn looks ahead to the team’s next game against Jacksonville on March 11.