PHILADELPHIA, May 6, 2011 – The University of Pennsylvania erased a two goal deficit in the final ten minutes to send the game to overtime. In the first overtime period Princeton got goals from Jaci Gassaway, the controlled the ball in the second as the 4th seeded Tigers won their semifinal matchup against the top seeded Quakers 10 – 8 in an Ivy League Tournament game at Franklin Field.
The game was close throughout as neither team would enjoy more than a one goal lead. At the 10:42 mark of the second half Princeton Midfielder Cassie Pyle scored her third goal of the game, her 33rd of the season, to give the Tigers an 8 – 6 lead. The Red and Blue got one back with 8:13 to play as Sophomore Attack Caroline Bunting scored on an assist by Junior Attack Erin Brennan bringing Penn to within one at 8 – 7. The Quakers tied the score on a goal by Sophomore Midfielder Meredith Cain with 2:13 to play. Penn had chances to win the game in regulation coming close, but could not put one by Princeton Goal Keeper Erin Tochihara as the game went into overtime.
Gassaway got the first goal with 36 seconds on the clock after taking a pass from Midfielder Charlotte Davis. Getting a turnover Gassaway scored the next goal just 30 seconds later converting a pass from Attack Sam Ellis. Princeton took possession of the ball in the second overtime period, and did not give Penn a legitimate chance to score. Princeton earned their second win over Penn this season, and they will meet Harvard in the Ivy League final for the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Harvard, the number 3 seed, defeated second seeded Dartmouth 11 – 10 in the other semifinal game. Penn will have to wait for an at-large bid from the selection committee hoping their body of work is enough warrant an invitation.
“I think we have a strength of schedule that is really high,” said Penn Coach Karin Brower Corbett. That will help us, and we have two really big wins. I think we should get in.”
The Red and Blue posted wins over #3 North Carolina and #4 Duke this season. Penn has played national powers Maryland and Northwestern ranked #1 and #2 in the nation.
Penn out-shot Princeton 27 – 20 forcing Tochihara to make 10 saves. 2 Penn hot the post and the crossbar denying goals. Penn Junior Goal Keeper Emily Leitner made 4 saves facing 20 shots. Penn committed 18 turnovers to 15 for Princeton. Turnovers have been a problem for the Quakers all season.
“What’s been plaguing us all year long are turnovers,” said Brower Corbett. “We had 18 and 27 shots. We were creating an attack, but it’s frustrating that we didn’t take care of the ball better. That’s been a problem for us all year.”
“To be a championship team, you have to play cleaner than this.”
The Red and Blue won 14 Draw Controls to 8. However, the Penn advantage after the first half was 7 – 0. The Quakers had control of the ball yet went into halftime tied at 3.
Cain led Penn with 3 goals and 2 assists. Bunting had 2 goals and an assist. Brennan had a goal and 3 assists. The Garden City, NY native registered her assists on the final three goals of the game for the Red and Blue.
“We got behind, and our kids fought back.” Brower Corbett said. “Erin has gotten assists for us all year. That was really big. When she is not scoring, she sets people up. ”
Brennan leds Penn in scoring with 32 goals and 16 assists for 48 points. The Junior is a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s highest honor.
Gassaway scored a game-high 4 goals giving her 28 for the year. Pyle scored 3 times and had 2 assists.
Penn won a share of the regular season title, but was denied the tournament championship. It was a disappointment, and will need to bounce back if the committee calls.
“Right now we have to move forward,” said Brennan. If we are fortunate enough to be selected, remember to keep working and pushing our momentum forward using this as motivation for the future.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian