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Penn men's lacrosse took on Dartmouth at the Scully-Fahey Field on Mar. 23.

Credit: Weining Ding

Penn lacrosse always plays a tough schedule. This helps the team get ready for the rigors of Ivy League competition, prepares them for the national stage, and increases their power ratings with an eye toward a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

“You can knock off some big teams, and that shows how good you are because the Ivies are competitive and anything can happen on any day against an Ivy,” women’s coach Karin Corbett said. “I think that having that tough strength of schedule enables us to maybe have a trip-up, make a mistake, and still be able to have some big wins.”

If one was to ask Corbett or her players — or anyone in the Penn men’s lacrosse program — they would likely say that they go into every game thinking they can win them. But some games are more winnable than others, and matches with No. 1 ranked teams are definitely not on the easy end of that spectrum. 

And yet, this year, it happened. Not just once, but twice. On March 1, men’s lacrosse went to Durham, N.C. and defeated top-ranked Duke 14-12. A little over three weeks later, women’s lacrosse defeated Maryland 13-9 on the road. The games signaled the strength of Penn’s roster and the Quakers’ ability to match up against the best in not just the Ivy League, but the country. 

Both teams have now completed their regular seasons and will be competing in the Ivy League Tournament this weekend. That will likely determine their path to the NCAA Tournament, as the conference champion automatically qualifies. But if either team fails to clinch this weekend, a victory over a top-ranked opponent should loom large in a voter’s mind.