ITHACA – Eight is great!
No. 15 Penn negated a slow start with an eight-goal run in the first half, building an 8-3 lead over host Cornell, and that cushion was enough for a 10-8 win to secure an eighth consecutive Ivy League championship for the Quakers.
Penn’s eighth Ivy title in a row is a new record for consecutive women’s lacrosse championships by an Ivy team, breaking the previous record held by Harvard which won seven in a row from 1987-93. In terms of Penn programs, women’s lacrosse is now tied with men’s fencing (1975-76 through 1982-83) for most consecutive Ivy championships by a Penn team.
The Quakers found themselves in a hole early after Cornell scored twice in a span of 30 seconds to take a quick 2-0 lead. Lindsey Toppe struck first on a free position 2:13 in and Chelsea Rowe followed shortly thereafter. Lindsey Smith netted the first goal for Penn at the 3:39 mark, but Toppe answered next for Cornell at 5:22 to give Cornell a 3-1 lead.
Toppe’s second goal of the game was the last one Cornell would score until there was 0:16 left in the period. Over that span of 24:22, Penn would score seven times and build an insurmountable lead. Tory Bensen had three goals in that run and Nina Corcoran would add two goals and three assists.
The crux of the run came over a 4:01 span just after the midpoint of the half as Penn scored four goals – two from Bensen and two from Sarah Barcia as the Quakers suddenly turned a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead.
Out of the halftime break, Penn scored what turned out to be an important two goals over the first 6:20, Bensen factoring in both. First, she set up Barcia for her third of the game at the 33:56 mark and then she scored unassisted for her fourth of the game to bring Penn to a 10-4 lead.
The Red and Blue’s attack would not convert the rest of the game, and Cornell would bring pressure with a four-goal run of its own. Four different players scored for the Big Red over that span, Amanda D’Amico finishing the burst on a goal with 7:13 remaining to bring the Big Red within two, 10-8.
Cornell won the ensuing draw control and had a chance to climb even close, but Lucy Ferguson’s final save of the game was her biggest as she denied D’Amico with 5:05 to play. The Quakers would clear and maintained possession the rest of the way to let the championship celebration begin.
Bensen and Corcoran each finished with five points in the game, Bensen scoring her four goals on the only four shots she took in the contest.
Both teams were even on draw controls with 10 apiece. Meg Markham had four for the Quakers while Catherine Dickinson added three.
Allie Martin had four caused turnovers and three ground balls for the defense, Taylor Foussadier adding two ground balls.
The Quakers will be the No. 2 seed at the upcoming Ivy League Tournament which will be hosted by Ivy co-champion Princeton May 2-4. Penn will play No. 3 seed Harvard in the semifinals at 4 p.m. on Friday at Princeton’s Class of 1952 Stadium. A Penn win on Friday will send the Quakers to their fourth Ivy League Tournament championship game which is scheduled for May 4 at 12 p.m. against either No. 1 seed Princeton or No. 4 seed Cornell.