PHILADELPHIA – No. 16 Penn opened the 2014 women’s lacrosse season with an 11-8 win over Delaware at Franklin Field, carrying a decided advantage in the free position battle to the win.
Senior Tory Bensen scored a career-high five goals to pace Penn’s offense, going a perfect 4-for-4 on free positions, including three in the second half.
The Quakers did not lead in the game until the second half on freshman Sarah Barcia’s first career goal with 25:39 to play. That goal capped a three-goal Penn rally which erased a 4-2 Blue Hen lead and gave Penn a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
The Blue Hens would twice tie the game in the second half, but the Quakers answered a Casey Lyons goal with 20:16 to play with a four-goal spurt which put the game away. Bensen scored twice in the run, but it was three goals in 2:12 of play that did the most damage. Bensen scored unassisted with 9:53 to play, followed by a free position from Iris Williamson 1:39 later and Nina Corcoran’s second of the game with 7:41 left to give the Red and Blue a 10-6 lead.
While the Quakers were 6-for-9 as a team on free positions, Delaware was unable to score on the two eight-meter attempts it generated in the game. The Blue Hens were held without a free position attempt in the second half as the Quakers refrained from fouling, committing just 11 infractions in the second half to 19 by Delaware.
Penn’s defense was clean for the most part, causing 13 turnovers by the Blue Hens and picking up 20 ground balls. Allie Martin, Lindsey Smith and Courtney Tomchik each had two caused turnovers and nine different Penn players caused at least one turnover. Smith was joined by Corcoran and Lucy Ferguson as team leaders with three ground balls while ten different Quakers picked up at least one.
Meg Markham led all players with five draw controls, adding a draw control and a ground ball. Sophomore Lely DeSimone scored twice in the first half as Penn fought to find its offense in its season opener – the first two goals of DeSimone’s career.
Lucy Ferguson was busy in the first half, making five saves. In the second half, her team allowed just six shot attempts and Ferguson came up with one save for a total of six in the game. Ferguson and the defense were able to keep Delaware’s Caitlyn McCartney in check, conceding just one goal to the All-Region attacker after she had five in her last outing against Lafayette. Shannon Hawley and Chelsea Fay each had two goals for the Blue Hens, Hawley adding two assists for a four-point game.
The Quakers start the season with a win for the ninth time in 10 seasons. Delaware falls to 1-2 this season.
Penn is on the road next Sunday at reigning national champion and No. 1 North Carolina at 1 p.m.