In the past 28 times that No. 10 Maryland faced off with No. 24 Penn women’s lacrosse, the Quakers came away victorious only two times. The last win came over a decade ago in a tight 9-7 contest at Franklin Field in 2007.
For the first 45 minutes of the 29th match up between the two teams, Penn looked like it was en route to earning its third-ever win against the Terrapins. That hope lasted until Maryland went on a six-goal scoring tear early in the fourth quarter that would put the game beyond Penn’s reach. The Quakers would end up losing the game 16-12.
Penn (4-3, 2-0 Ivy) would draw first blood, scoring early in the first quarter off of sophomore midfielder Anna Brandt’s effort. Brandt would prove to be a huge problem for Maryland (8-3) as she would finish the night with five goals — the most out of any player in the game. However, Maryland would respond each time Penn scored, keeping the game a close affair through three quarters.
Failing to control the draw consistently pained the Quakers throughout the game. Penn was only able to control nine draws compared to Maryland’s 23. Early on, a fresh and incredibly disciplined Penn defense was able to force turnovers that minimized the damage of not winning draws. But as the game progressed and the defense became increasingly fatigued, the lack of draw controls proved to hurt.
“Our fundamentals on the draw as a team have to be better,” coach Karin Corbett said. “There were ones that were in our stick, and we would cough them up. [We] just can't do that against a team like Maryland.”
Between this and excessive penalties, which gave Maryland nine total free-position shots, of which it converted five, Penn gave Maryland enough easy opportunities to regain control of the game.
“We wanted to change things up,” said Corbett. “We kept them guessing a little bit, we just had too many fouls.”
The Maryland attack becoming more efficient in the fourth quarter was the death knell for the Penn defense. It had taken the Terrapins the majority of the game to find any rhythm on attack, but when they did, the goals started to pour in.
Quaker senior goalkeeper Kelly Van Hoesen played a huge role in keeping the game competitive — recording a season high 12 saves. Two of those were back-to-back saves late in of the second quarter in what proved to be a huge momentum changer as junior midfielder Maria Themelis would score on the subsequent possession to bring the Quakers within one. Themelis finished the game with a season high four goals, most of which were the product of unassisted efforts.
Despite the tough loss, during which the Quakers led two separate times, the Red and Blue still went blow for blow with a top-10 team for three whole quarters. While there are many aspects that can be improved on before the team's next outing, especially when it comes to draw control, Penn’s energy throughout the game shows that it is unafraid of any opponent, no matter how star-studded its resume is.
“We went really hard and we played for four quarters,” said Corbett. “I’m really proud of how hard [the team] went to goal. They really drove hard, went through ground balls, and had a lot of competitive fight which I thought was great.”
Penn will be hungry to add a tally to the win column when it takes on Georgetown at Franklin Field this Sunday at 1 p.m.