Penn Drops W. Lax to 0-3 in the Ivies
Momentum from its thrilling victory over No. 7 B.U. could not carry the Harvard women's lacrosse team over Penn as the Crimson gave the Quakers a 13-8 victory on Saturday at Jordan field.
The Crimson's (5-4, 0-3 Ivy) game was spotted with missed catches and turnovers, including five turnovers caused by Quaker sophomore Crissy Book. Harvard defensive lapses also allowed Penn a six-goal scoring run in the first half.
Penn's (5-5. 2-2 Ivy) defense proved impenetrable. The Crimson often circled futilely around the fan, unable to move in on goal.
"We didn't work together as a team," said co-captain Megan Austin. "We never let up, but we couldn't sustain any momentum that we built."
The Crimson opened the half positively with a goal from sophomore Katie Shaughnessy just 1:06 into the game. But Penn's goal 36 seconds later was the beginning of a six-goal scoring run that would be the fatal stroke against Harvard.
"We were coming off of two really tough games," Austin said. "We've had a lot of emotion and a lot of mental toughness in the last two games, but we just weren't there mentally today."
The Quakers took advantage of the Crimson's wide defensive lapses while Harvard left Penn's defense untested for 20 valuable minutes of the first half. Passes from behind goal from Penn sophomore Alison Polk-Williams combined with two low corner shots past sophomore goalkeeper Nora Guyer propelled the Quakers to a large lead.
Quaker junior Traci Marabella shined in the midfield as well as in the fan with a free-position goal and another off of a high right shot from a crease-roll.
Harvard junior Lizzie Frisbie broke up the run with an unassisted goal at 21:49 after winning the draw. But the Quakers countered just a minute later when Book picked the ball up in the Penn defensive zone and ran unchecked into Harvard's third. A pass to junior Jen Hartman led to a goal in the high left corner after Hartman spun around a Crimson defender.
Quaker sophomore Christy Bennett weaved her way from the restraining line into the eight-meter fan and gave Penn an 8-2 lead to end the half.
"We didn't do a good job testing their defense," Austin said. "We didn't create anything. There wasn't a lot of off-the-ball movement and we allowed a lot of double teams on the ball-carrier."
Harvard's offense woke up in the second half after an unassisted Penn goal 2:31 into the period. Co-captain Alli Harper scored her first goal of the game at 5:28 on a bounce shot to the left side of the goal. Harper leads the Ivy League in goals scored.
Junior Heather Hussey followed four minutes later with a ground ball that led to a breakaway shot to the mid-right side of the goal to bring the score to 9-4. Hussey's breakaway was the first breach of a Quaker defense that had allowed only a few Crimson players into the eight-meter fan.
A free-position goal from senior Courtney Leimkuhler at 12:33 made the score 9-5 and put Harvard back into the game.
Quaker sophomore Kate Murray and Harvard's Harper alternated goals for the next two minutes to leave the score at 11-6. Murray ran through the fan to score the first goal. Harper retaliated less than a minute later with an unassisted shot to the lower left corner after Harvard won the draw. Murray responded with another solo show in which she spun her way around a Crimson defender and shot the ball over the left shoulder of Guyer while struggling to avoid a fallen Harvard defender.
The Crimson continued to claw back with a goal from senior Lauren Corkery. A minute later, a leaping interception by Frisbie gave Harvard possession again, and the offense settled down around the Penn circle. Alli Harper rolled around the crease to shoot the ball from the left side of the crease to the right corner of the goal to cut Penn's lead to 11-8.
But the Crimson's rally was cut short when the Quaker offense took advantage of Harvard's defensive slips. Marabella's pass found Hartman unguarded in the eight-meter fan, and she bounced a shot past Guyer. Sophomore Whitney Horton added the final blow with a high left shot off of a weak-side crease roll to bring the final score to 13-8.
"It was really disappointing," Austin said. "We should not have had any problems with Penn. They had nothing to lose. We were playing to not lose instead of playing to win."
"B.U. was a great win for us; it really put us in there," Austin added. "We have a lot of good opportunities in the next week and a half."
The Crimson will travel to Princeton next Saturday to face the No. 3 Tigers (8-1, 3-0 Ivy) followed by No. 11 Dartmouth (6-1, 3-1 Ivy) the week after. Harvard enters the week still looking for its first Ivy League win.