Penn Prevails in Second WLAX Tournament Semifinal
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Box Score [.pdf]
Penn Postgame Quotes [.pdf]
Princeton Postgame Quotes [.pdf]
Courtesy of Penn Athletic Communications
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kolbe
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- For the first 22 minutes of Penn's Ivy League Tournament semifinal, the Quakers had trouble solving Princeton's defense, watching as nine shot attempts failed to convert. However, the Red and Blue eventually found their way at Franklin Field, unloading for 13 goals over the final 37:53 to defeat the Tigers, 13-9.
With the win, No. 6 Penn advances to the first-ever Ivy League Tournament final, where the Quakers will play No. 11 Dartmouth at 12:30 on May 2nd at Franklin Field. The Big Green advanced with a 10-8 win over Cornell in the first game.
While Penn was busy peppering nine shots towards Princeton goalkeeper Erin Tochihara (she made five saves before Penn found the back of the cage), the Tigers pounced early to take a 1-0 lead 3:47 in off a free position goal from Kristin Morrison. The Tigers controlled most of the early play before scoring the opening goal, causing a turnover and drawing four Penn fouls.
However, despite Penn's inability to solve Tochihara, the Quakers were able to keep themselves in the game by taking care of the ball. Princeton had just one shot over the next 20 minutes, while Penn had 10. It was on the 10th that the Quakers got on the board via an Erin Brennan goal with 7:53 to play in the half. After a caused turnover and groundball from Barb Seaman, Penn took three shots in a minute, finally converting after Brennan deposited a Courtney Lubbe feed.
The game was not tied for long as Emma Spiro won the ensuing draw control and marched Penn down the field. She worked the ball around and it eventually found Ali DeLuca's stick. The senior then dished a pass to a freshman, Maddie Poplawski, who scored 37 seconds after Brennan's goal. Brennan struck again with 1:54 left in the half to send Penn to halftime ahead, 3-1.
In the second half, Penn appeared to be pulling away with an early burst of two goals in the first 1:18 to take a 5-1 lead. However, the Tigers rallied with three-straight from three different players in 3:49 to get within one.
Facing a critical juncture of the game, DeLuca came through once again. She took the ball at the top left side and worked her way around the field, circling behind Tochihara to the keeper's left. Instead of waiting for a play to develop, DeLuca took the play to Princeton, scampering out to her right and circling right to goal where she fired a shot past Tochihara high right side to give Penn a 6-4 lead. Just under a minute later, DeLuca drew not one, but two free positions in succession (earning the second one after wisely stepping back on the first from a bad angle). On the second free position, instead of shooting she sent a pass to Brennan who beat Tochihara for her third goal of the game and third hat trick in as many games against the Tigers.
Brennan's goal was part of an 8-1 run for Penn over a span of 10:45 in the second half. During that dominating run, DeLuca had three goals, Brennan had two and freshman Meredith Cain added two goals. That run put the game away and made Princeton's four goals to close the game nothing more than added stats.
DeLuca was the high scorer in the game, with four goals and four assists. Brennan finished with four goals. Cain had the two goals while Giordano added two assists. Megan Smith and Emma Spiro each had one goal and Lubbe had one assist. Cain was a monster on draw controls, finishing with five draws - all of which she took. Spiro had two draw controls and three ground balls. Defenders Barb Seaman and Kaileigh Wright each had a caused turnover that they turned into a ground ball. Emily Szelest had six saves in the win.
With a win on Sunday, Penn will secure the Ivy League's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships for the fourth year in a row. To do so, Penn will need to defeat a Dartmouth team which it beat in Hanover, 9-6, on April 17. The championship game of the 2010 Ivy League Women's Lacrosse Tournament Presented by Champion will be televised live Sunday on CBS College Sports at 12:30 p.m.