PHILADELPHIA, PA. 5/3/2013 – The University of Pennsylvania Women’s lacrosse team made their way back to the Ivy League Tournament final and a title game rematch with the Big Green of Dartmouth. Top seeded Penn defeated the Cornell Big Red 10 – 5 to reach the final playing what Coach Karin Brower-Corbett called a complete game effort, the effort that they strove for all season.
“I’m really proud of our team as we talked all year about playing a complete game, our best game of the season,” said Brower-Corbett. “On attack we moved well and created problems for Cornell’s defense, creating opportunities and finishing. The defense was stellar. Once Cornell got through the defense Lucy (Lucy Ferguson the goal keeper) was there. I was pleased with my team in transition. They wanted it and fought hard. I can’t be more proud of them.”
Both teams were playing well on the defensive end, especially in goal where Penn sophomore goal keeper Lucy Ferguson and Courtney Gallagher of Cornell kept the game close turning away numerous scoring opportunities. The Big Red scored the first goal unassisted by attack Caroline Salisbury. The Red and Blue got the next three goals by senior midfielder Meredith Cain, the first of her three goals in the contest, junior midfielder Tory Bensen, and junior attack Courtney Tomchik. Cornell attack Rachel Moody got one past Ferguson cutting the Penn lead to 3 – 2 at the 10:29 mark.
Cain scored her second of the game with 9:24 remaining in the first half. That started a run of three Quaker goals in just over two minutes to take a 6 – 2 lead. Cain converted a pass from senior attack Caroline Bunting at 8:51, then junior midfielder Shannon Mangini scored on a free position shot at 7:21. It was the first of three goals for Mangini, and provided the halftime edge for Penn. The spurt provided the Red and Blue with the separation needed in the semifinal match.
“I think we were creating opportunities and not finishing, and we were telling them that good opportunities would come,” Brower-Corbett said. “Then we were finishing to get that little bit of a lead.”
In the second half Cornell got the first goal, again by Salisbury. As in the first half Penn answered with three goals in seven minutes to take control of the game. Bunting, Mangini, and senior midfielder Maddie Poplawski got the goals to put Penn ahead 9 – 3. Cornell came back from a seven goal deficit against Penn to force an overtime game during the season. That would not be the case in the tournament meeting.
The Quakers turned the game over to the defense. The trapping defense kept the Big Red off balance offensively. Cornell got goals from Rachel Moody and Kelly Lang, but never seriously threatened. Ferguson made 12 saves, 6 in each half. The sophomore credited the defense as the main reason for her performance.
“They played amazing,” said Ferguson. “Everyone did a great job on their matchup. We were trapping their shooters, so when they got shots off they were ones I could see and save.”
Penn will get another title game match with Dartmouth on Sunday. It will be the third time in the tournament four years of existence that the Red and Blue and Big Green will meet for the championship. Dartmouth won last year 6 – 3. Penn looks to win the game and the title for a trip to the NCAA Tournament, which would allow the senior class to go out with the trophy they won three years ago.
“It would definitely be icing on the cake,” Cain said. “We haven’t been able to take home the tournament title since my freshman year, so being a senior it would be a great thing to hold on to.”
“There is a lot riding on this game (against Dartmouth),” said Brower-Corbett. “We want to win the tournament and the automatic bid. We are a bubble team, and so there is even more riding on this game.”
Dartmouth, the third seed, earned their trip defeating #2 Princeton 11 – 10 on a goal by Hanna Bowers in the second overtime period. Penn defeated Dartmouth 8 – 7 in the regular season meeting.
“It will be a battle and we will have to bring our best,” Brower-Corbett said about the upcoming game. “Our team has shown they will fight for sixty minutes. Whether we are behind or ahead, we will fight. It is going to be a great game, no question.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Local News and Notes:
Cornell senior Kate Ivory played her final collegiate game in Philadelphia. The native of Narberth, PA and Episcopal Academy graduate looked back at her last homecoming game as the signature of accomplishment rather than a disappointment in losing.
“In my four-year run we’ve been down to Philly a few times, and we haven’t been able to get the outcome we wanted,” said Ivory. “To be here is a great opportunity. To be in the final four, the top four teams in the league is awesome. Having been able to come to this tournament three of my four years is such an experience. I’ve been on great teams with great players. It’s disappointing, but I’m so happy to be here.”