On Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field, Penn women’s lacrosse notched its most impressive win of the already two-thirds-completed season.
And it wasn’t particularly close, either.
The Quakers scored 11 unanswered goals in the second and third quarters to easily dominate No. 13 Yale, 16-6. The victory makes Penn (7-4, 3-0 Ivy), which entered Saturday ranked 22nd nationally, the sole Ivy League squad to remain undefeated in conference play this season.
The most impressive aspect of the Quakers' win was their defense. Among Penn’s three conference games this season, six goals is the fewest the Quakers have given up, which is especially noteworthy given Yale’s high-flying offensive unit. The Bulldogs (9-3, 3-1) have scored an Ivy-high 159 goals on a 13.25 per-game average, and Penn’s staunch defensive front held them to less than half that.
Key in that effort was senior defender Izzy Rohr, who tallied four ground balls. In goal, senior Kelly Van Hoesen had seven saves compared to only six goals allowed, making Saturday her first game with more saves than goals allowed in nearly two months.
On the offensive end, junior midfielder Maria Themelis and sophomore midfielder Gracie Smith led the Quakers in scoring with four goals apiece. For Themelis, the standout performance has become part of a trend, as she’s put up four goals in three of her last five games. Smith’s four goals, meanwhile, mark her career-high by a wide margin. In her 10 previous games as a Quaker, the midfielder had never notched more than one goal in a contest.
Also crucial to the Penn attack Saturday were sophomore midfielder Anna Brandt, who scored three goals and notched an assist as well, and sophomore attacker Erika Chung, who amassed four assists. Brandt’s scoring streak now stands at 18 games, as she’s found the back of the net in all 11 of Penn’s games this season and the last seven of the prior one.
The Quakers’ undefeated Ivy mark gives them some breathing room in the conference table, as they stand on the precipice of locking up a conference tournament berth with four regular season games left. The top four teams in the Ivy League reach the conference tournament in early May, and Penn currently stands a game and a half above the fourth, fifth, and sixth-ranked teams in the Ancient Eight.
Next up for the Quakers is another Saturday afternoon tilt at Franklin Field, this time against Cornell (6-6, 2-2), which has lost four consecutive games.