PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/26/2013 – The University of Pennsylvania Women’s Lacrosse team won the Ivy League Championship outright with the perfect 7 – 0 record in conference. The title is the seventh straight the Red and Blue has won which represents the longest championship streak in the NCAA. The story is a tribute to the program and the present senior class.
The title may not have been expected as Penn got off to a slow start. The program lost significant seniors in Erin Brennan and Emily Leitner due to graduation. The Red and Blue recorded a 2 – 4 out of conference record, but Seniors Caroline Bunting, Maddie Poplawski, Meredith Cain,
and Kelly McCallion in addition to the outstanding goal keeping by sophomore Lucy Ferguson got the team going in the right direction. That culminated with a 10 – 7 win over Brown in overtime to clinch the crown for Penn. Poplawski scored the key goal to tie it regulation and the winning goal in the extra period.
“The Seniors have won three Championships, but to win in your Senior year is extremely special because it is a culmination of four years of hard work and as a Senior it is your team,” said Penn Coach Karin Brower-Corbett.
The season came down to the last three games as Penn met their top rivals on Dartmouth and Princeton who came into the final three games unbeaten in the Ivy League. Brown was in contention for the final playoff spot at that time.
The Quakers won all three games. The game against Dartmouth was a one-goal game with Penn taking an 8 – 7 decision. Bunting led all scorers with 3 goals. Poplawski added 2 goals. Dartmouth had the ball in attack [position at the end, but time ran out before they could get a final shot. Dartmouth defeated Penn in the Ivy League tournament and in the regular season last year. The win was a significant step forward for this team.
Arch-rival and 17th ranked Princeton was next at Franklin Field. The Tigers controlled play early taking a 2 – 0 lead. Penn bounced back. With 12:36 to play Princeton held a 9 – 7 lead. The seventh goal was the last one they would score. Bunting and junior midfield Shannon Mangini scored to tie the game. Mangini tallied the tying goal with just 5:19 to play in regulation. She would net the winning goal with 2:16 left in the overtime period. The 10 – 9 win gave the Red and Blue a share of the Ivy Title.
The title clinching game also went overtime as Poplawski got the key goals to beat Brown. In doing so the Penn team showed a great sense of resilience.
“Each game was a bit different – but it really shows the heart and fight of this team,” said Brower-Corbett. “It is never over until that final whistle and it shows how much they believe in each other.”
The Quakers will host the Ivy League Tournament. They come into this tournament with momentum.
“We have the confidence to know we can come from behind and that we can beat anyone on any given day, but we also know that we can play better and want more consistency for 60 minutes,” Brower-Corbett said.
Before those games the Red and Blue will take a trip to Chicago to meet perennial powerhouse Northwestern. Brower-Corbett feels this game will help her team prepare for the Ivy League tournament games, and potentially the NCAA Tournament games.
“Playing one of the best teams in the country always helps you prepare because you have to play at a different level,” said Brower-Corbett. “No one in the country plays like Northwestern so the preparation is different. They are very aggressive and play a high pressure defense and I always believe we learn a lot playing them each year.”
The Red and Blue go into the final games ranked #16 in the nation. Penn has hosted the tournament before. The Quakers have been the top seed each of the three years this tournament has been held. Now, Penn needs to win it to get into the NCAA’s. They are in it to win it.
Written By: Glenn Papazian