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HEARTBREAKERS! Dream Quakers! Penn to Final Four!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Courtesy of Penn Athletic Communications

PHILADELPHIA--Senior Becca Edwards scored with five seconds remaining in overtime to defeat the Blue Devils, 10-9 and advance to the NCAA final four for the third consecutive year. The Quakers will face Northwestern in the NCAA semifinal game Friday, May 22 at Towson, Md.

Penn led 7-2 at the half, but fell behind 9-7 with 9:11 remaining in the game. The Quakers scored the final two goals of regulation and Edwards tallied the only goal in overtime. It marks the second time this season Edwards scored the overtime winner and was her 100th career point. She became the 16th Penn player to reach the century mark.

The Quakers started strong with a 4-0 run in the opening 12 minutes. Ali DeLuca opened the scoring just two and a half minutes into the contest. Edwards scored the next two and then assisted newcomer Erin Brennan on her first of the day before Duke called a timeout.

The huddle did the trick as the Blue Devils came out with two quick goals just 1:23 apart. Penn regained control and scored three more goals under the 10-minute mark to hold a 7-2 lead going into the break.

But if the first 30 minutes were Penn's, the second 30 were certainly Duke's. The Blue Devils came out of the break on fire scoring seven unanswered goals to take a two-goal lead with 9:11 to play.

The rookie, Brennan set up DeLuca with 7:51 to go, breaking Penn's 25-minute silence. The Quakers followed that up with the tying goal; this time Brennan fed to junior Emma Spiro for the tally.

With 4:12 to go it appeared the Quakers had regained the lead with a goal from Brennan, but it was called off after a failed stick check.

Duke's Lindsay Gilbride shot wide with five seconds to go, the ground ball quickly gathered by Caroline Cryer who fired with a second left striking the crossbar and sending the game into overtime. It was the second OT game for Penn of the season, and the second straight for Duke.

Penn's Kaitlyn Lombardo won the opening draw, but after two minutes holding the ball, a turnover gave Duke a chance at the goal. The Blue Devils had seen their top two scorers, Caroline Cryer and Lindsey Gilbride light up the cage throughout the second half, so it was only natural the shot would come from Gilbride, but junior goalkeeper Emily Szelest made the crucial save and keep the Quakers in the game.

The second three-minute period saw Penn win the draw again, but an early shot by Spiro, and save by Duke's Kim Imbesi gave the visitors another go at goal...or so they thought. DeLuca deftly checked the ball from Sarah Bullard and Lombardo nabbed the ground ball with just 15 seconds left on the clock.

Racing down field, DeLuca swung the pass to Edwards whose quick release beat the buzzer and gave the Quakers the winner with just five seconds to go. DeLuca won the subsequent draw as time ran out on Duke's season.

Penn's Szelest made eight other saves in addition to her big stop in the overtime period. Her counterpart Imbesi made nine as well.

The Quakers will now prepare for Northwestern and the NCAA semifinal game. The Quakers defeated Duke in last season's semifinal to advance to the championship game vs. Northwestern. This year the winner of Penn's game with the Wildcats will meet the winner of the Maryland-North Carolina game. That meeting will also be held May 22 in Towson.

- A.S.