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Red and Blue Repeat in Women's Lacrosse

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Portions Courtesy of
Penn Athletic Communications


PRINCETON, N.J. -- The No. 6 Penn women's lacrosse team downed its rival and No. 2-ranked Princeton, 9-5 to clinch a share of the Ivy League title. The laundry list of feats the Quakers accomplished in the game begins with handing Princeton its first loss of the season. The Tigers fell to 10-1 (4-1 Ivy) while the Red and Blue extended their win streak to nine games and improved to 11-1 (6-0 Ivy).

Next on the list is the matter of the karma Princeton had been rocking at home since 1986. It was more than 20 years ago that Penn defeated Princeton in New Jersey. Moreover, no Ivy team, other than Dartmouth, had beaten the Tigers at home since 1991. Penn became the first Ivy team other than Dartmouth to down Princeton in Class of 1952 Stadium, which was opened in 1996.

The game had everything a game with a title on the line should -- there was 10 minutes of back-and-forth action, proving the teams were well-matched, before either team scored ... a close two-goal difference at the half ... a flurry of goals that seemed to put the game away ... a spirited comeback campaign ... until finally the victor was crowned cleanly.

Back to the first half. Rachel Manson scored first, putting Penn on the board when she was left alone in front of the goal. Kaitlyn Lombardo issued her a perfect pass that she finished high and right at 18:50. It was her 101st goal as a Quaker.

Princeton quickly responded at 15:42. But Ali DeLuca's unassisted goal at 12:33 and her feed on Melissa Lehman's goal with one minute to go in the half gave Penn a two-goal advantage. The Penn defense smothered the Tigers last attempt at a goal before the break, with goalie Sarah Waxman coming up with a crucial save as the seconds ticked away.

A two-goal deficit at the break is certainly not insurmountable, but in terms of momentum, the Quakers definitely carried it over after the break. Penn scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half and held an 8-1 lead with 20 minutes to go. In that span, Manson completed her hat trick and freshman Giulia Giordano scored twice.

In all, the Quakers scored seven unanswered goals and stonewalled the Tigers for almost exactly 30 minutes.

Anyone who has seen the Tigers play this season knew not to count them out -- and sure enough, Princeton stormed back in with two goals in two minutes. However, DeLuca made Penn's intentions clear with her third goal of the night with 13:41 left to play.

Princeton's Holly McGarvie scored on a free-position shot with just less than 10 minutes to play, but Penn's draw win and subsequent stall ran the clock down to just more than a minute before Princeton to put its fifth goal in. The final draw sailed straight into DeLuca's stick, however, and the Quakers ran the clock out to set up a wild celebration at the final horn.

Waxman came up with eight big saves for Penn, stopping several point-blank shots and one free-position attempt in addition to running a solid and stifling defense.

The Quakers close out the Ivy season Saturday with a home game at Franklin Field against Brown having already claimed the League's coveted automatic NCAA bid. The game is set for 1 p.m.

A win would secure back-to-back outright titles for the Quakers, which had a magical run to NCAA semifinals a year ago. Princeton can secure a share of the title if it defeats Dartmouth and the Bears can pull the upset against Penn.

The loss snapped a 12-game home field winning streak for the Tigers.

- A.S.