PHILADELPHIA, April 16, 2011 – For the University of Pennsylvania Women’s Lacrosse team this season is about one thing, and only one thing. That is to win the Ivy League Championship. The Red and Blue took a big step in that direction on a windy, rainy day at Franklin Field. Sophomore Attack Caroline Bunting scored the game winning goal with 3:01 left to play giving #8 Penn an important 10 – 9 victory over the #16 Big Green of Dartmouth.
“This is huge,” said Penn Coach Karin Brower-Corbett. “It’s been that Dartmouth and Princeton are the two teams to beat. This is a senior laden Dartmouth team. We graduated a lot. They (Dartmouth) were the favorite team this year. Our kids showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight and battled back from being sown. We want to win this title and host the Ivy League Tournament, go to the NCAA’s, so we have to do our job.”
Penn has won the Ivy Title the past four years. A loss would not mean the end of the run, but it would make the path difficult. It appeared that Dartmouth was going to end the conference unbeaten streak for Penn as they Big Green scored the first two goals of the game by key players Sarah Plumb and Kat Collins. Senior Attack Giulia Giordano opened the scoring for the Red and Blue with 17:59 remaining to make the score 2 – 1. Dartmouth answered with goals by Collins and Hanna Bowers to move ahead by three goals. Giordano and Freshman Midfielder Lindsey Smith brought Penn back to within one. Trailing 5 – 4 Penn got back to back goals by Sophomore Midfielder Meredith Cain and Bunting to tie the score at 5 with 4:44 on the clock. Dartmouth got a big goal from Sarah Parks to get a 6 – 5 halftime lead, and appeared to get a momentum swing back. In the half Penn lost Junior Midfielder Allison Tatios with an apparent knee re-injury.
That lift did not last long as Penn scored the first three goals of the half in a five minute span. Junior Attack Erin Brennan put one in the net 37 seconds into the half. That was followed by back to back goals by Cain giving Penn a 2 goal cushion at 8 – 6 with the rain pouring down. Plumb responded by scoring goals around Brennan’s 26th of the season, and the lead was down 9 – 8 with 17:21 on the clock.
Dartmouth got control of the ball and held it for nearly 5 minutes looking for the tying score. Penn’s defense kept them away, and when Dartmouth got a shot Junior Goal Keeper Emily Leitner made big saves, a career-high 9 for the game. Leitner beat Kristen Goldberg at the 8:32 mark, and then turned away Plumb with 6:22 to play.
“Leitner had a great game,” said Brower-Corbett. “She came up with big possessions outside of the net as well as making key saves for us.”
Still the Big green kept getting the ball and chances finally tying the game at 9 on Goldberg’s 18th goal of the season with 4:12 left. Bunting answered 1:11 later scoring her 14th goal of the season at the 3:01 mark.
Penn outshot Dartmouth 26 – 20, and had a 20 – 16 edge in Ground Balls. However, the Quakers committed 19 fouls to 14 for the Big Green. Cain scored 3 goals for Penn and had an assist. Giordano, Bunting, and Brennan tallied twice. Brennan has a team-high 36 points on the season. Plumb scored 3 goals for Dartmouth with Collins adding 2.
Penn improves to 9 – 3 overall and is 5 – 0 in the Ivy League. Dartmouth is 8 – 3 4 – 1 in league play. Penn’s quest for the regular season title meets another challenge on Wednesday, April 20 when Princeton, the other undefeated team in the league, visits Franklin Field. A win would give Penn at least a tie for the regular season championship.
Written By: Glenn Papazian