Penn women’s lacrosse is on its Ivy League revenge tour. After a bitter 2022 season that saw the team underperform expectations significantly — missing out on the Ivy League tournament — the Quakers have used the past failures as fuel for their complete turn around this season.
With a year’s worth of misfortunes and heartbreaks still on the minds of the returning players, No. 15 Penn’s (9-4, 5-0 Ivy) latest victims, No. 24 Princeton (6-7, 3-2) stood no chance as the Quakers dominated the game 15-9.
Things could not have been more perfect for the team after its midweek match up against the Tigers. In just one night, the Quakers stayed undefeated against Ivy opponents, beat their biggest rival for the first time in six years, and secured at least a share of the regular season Ivy title.
“We learned from our mistakes,” junior midfielder Maria Themelis said. “We came into this season on a revenge tour, and that's what we showed today — that's what we want to show for the rest of the season.”
Heading into Wednesday evening, the Quakers knew that it would have to be firing on all cylinders for all four quarters against a dangerous Princeton team that led the conference in goals scored per game. To the team’s credit, that’s exactly what Penn did.
While the attacking unit handled its business on the opposing half of the field, Penn's defense put up one of its best performances of the season. Senior goalkeeper's Kelly Van Hoesen's eight saves and and a stellar 17-19 rate on clearances kept the Tigers' offensive threats largely in check. On offense, Themelis led the team — finishing the game with four goals — while senior attacker Niki Miles finished right behind her with a hat trick of her own.
The Quakers have struggled with offensive efficiency throughout the season. But tonight, the offense put on a show, scoring off of many different looks and approaches. This success came not just from the players on the field, but also the members of Penn's scout team — which spent hours learning and imitating the Princeton defense in practice.
“This is just as much their win as it is ours,” Themelis said. “It takes the full unit to win and that's what we showed today.”
The Tigers managed to hang on for two quarters, heading into half time only down by two, as the score was 7-5. But an electric start to the third quarter by the Red and Blue would all but seal the deal, as the Quakers scored six straight goals before Princeton finally managed to get its own offense going again. By the time the fourth quarter started, the stark contrast in energy between the two sidelines was all anyone needed to know for what the end result of this game would be.
“[At halftime], I talked to them about the third quarter,” said coach Karin Corbett. “I said let's win this game in the third quarter — and they did that.”
But simply winning a share of the Ivy regular season crown isn’t enough for the team. Even though Penn will host next month's Ivy League Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the conference, the team is working to avoid becoming complacent as it eyes the postseason.
“We took a huge step, but they’re not satisfied,” Corbett said. “They feel that that they're on a mission this year to turn this program around, to put us back on the map. They want to be 7-0 [in conference play].”
The Quakers will continue its pursuit of the perfect Ivy League season on April 22 when the team takes on Brown in Providence, R.I.