EVANSTON, Ill. – The Penn women’s lacrosse team wrapped up the regular season on Saturday afternoon, falling to the defending national champion No. 4 Northwestern, 15-8. Tory Bensen had three goals for the No. 16 Quakers, while Meredith Cain and Shannon Mangini added a pair each. Erin Fitzgerald scored four times to pace the Wildcats.
Northwestern (15-2) took the lead less than a minute into the game, and had a 3-0 lead before Bensen got the Quakers (9-5) on the board with a free position goal 5:27 into the action. She would score the first two goals for Penn, taking an assist from Cain exactly 11 minutes later to pull the Quakers within three at 5-2.
The Quakers went into halftime down 6-3 after Mangini scored off another feed from Cain with 1:28 remaining in the first half. After intermission, Northwestern again wasted little time getting its offensive going. The Wildcats scored nine seconds into the half, and was up 9-3 before Cain broke away for an unassisted goal to make it 9-4 with 26:49 to play.
Northwestern grabbed an 11-5 lead with 21:36 remaining, but the Quakers rattled off three straight goals to pull themselves back in the game. First was Mangini, drilling an unassisted tally with 20:18 remaining. Nearly five minutes later, after holding the Wildcats off the scoreboard in the interim, Caroline Bunting scored off a free position to make it 11-7. Cain got her second goal and team-leading fourth point with 13:26 to play when her unassisted goal slashed Northwestern’s lead to 11-8.
That would be as close as the Quakers would get, however, as the Wildcats answered with four straight goals of their own to close the contest.
After sitting on the lesser side of the draws, 7-3, in the first half, Penn had an 8-7 edge in the second half. Cain, Poplawski and Mangini each had three in the game. Lucy Ferguson made eight saves in the game, including five in the first half.
Penn will continue its season at the Ivy League Tournament beginning Friday. The Quakers are hosting the tournament at Franklin Field, and will face Cornell in the semifinals at 7:00 p.m. Dartmouth and Princeton will face off in the first semifinal of the evening at 4:00 p.m., also at Franklin Field.