PHILADELPHIA - For much of Wednesday's match with Rutgers, No. 15 Penn seemed doomed to repeat history, but a dominant stretch of defense made sure the Quakers came out on top. For the second year in a row, six goals was all that were needed to win the game, but this time the nod went to the Red and Blue, 6-3, to provide head coach Karin Corbett with her 150th win as head coach of the Quakers.
Last year in New Brunswick, the two teams met on a cold, windy and rainy day where the Scarlet Knight converted a 2-1 halftime lead into a 6-5 win. On this night, with game time temperatures in the mid-30s, it appeared from the start that a replay of sorts was on the docket.
Neither team scored in the first 10 minutes of play, Jenny Vlahos getting Rutgers the first lead of the night at the 10:34 mark on her third goal of the season. That was the only lead Rutgers would have all evening, and it was short-lived at that.
Just 20 seconds after the visitors had taken the lead, Tory Bensen countered with her team-leading ninth goal of the season off a pass from Nina Corcoran. Under five minutes later, the Quakers took the lead on a free position goal from Iris Williamson.
The final tally of the first half would come with 11:59 remaining in the opening period, Halley Barnes scoring for Rutgers on Katrina Martinelli’s second assist of the game. For the Scarlet Knights, it would be a while before they would find the back of the cage again.
The Quakers held Rutgers scoreless over 40:24 of game play after the Barnes goal, posting a shutout for nearly the entire second half before the Scarlet Knights finally found a third goal with 1:25 to play. By that point, Penn had scored four in a row to turn a 2-2 halftime tie into a 6-2 lead and had iced the contest.
During the 40+ minutes without a goal Rutgers committed 11 turnovers, had three shots saved by Lucy Ferguson, another blocked by a stick check from Meg Markham and a fifth shot sail wide on a free position.
Two of the goals in the second half for the Quakers came off the stick of Lindsey Smith as the senior scored her first two of the season, including the eventual game-winner with 18:09 to play. Corcoran started the second half scoring on an unassisted goal with 25:52 to play, circling in front of the cage and cutting back from where she came to catch the defense a bit off guard and score her third of the season.
With 2:08 to play, Catherine Dickinson took a pretty pass from Williamson and quickly deposited the ball for her first of the season.
The overall draw control battle was somewhat even, 7-4 in favor of the Scarlet Knights. The true swing came in the second half, though, where Rutgers won all six draw controls contested in the period. The Quakers were able to overcome that potential possession disadvantage with 10 caused turnovers in the second half, part of a 15-caused turnover night for the defense to just seven by Rutgers.
The Red and Blue had chances to widen their lead, taking 21 total shots in the game, but Amanda Currell made 10 saves. Currell was big on free positions, limiting Penn to a pair of eight meter goals on six attempts.
Lucy Ferguson made five saves in the game, including four in the second half with the game in the balance. She partnered with the defense to deny the Scarlet Knights on two free position shots, keeping opponents scoreless on seven free position attempts this season.
Allie Martin was a factor defensively for the Quakers, with a career-high four caused turnovers to go with two ground balls. Meg Markham and Lindsey Smith each had three caused turnovers in the game, Markham adding a career-best six ground balls in the game. In her first action since the 2013 season opener, Lydia Miller had a caused turnover and two ground balls. Midfielder Lely DeSimone had three ground balls and a caused turnover to go with two shots on goal.
The Quakers begin the defense of their Ivy League championship and set out in search of an eighth consecutive Ancient Eight crown against Harvard this Saturday at Franklin Field. First draw in scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: The last time Penn won a game while scoring six goals was against Hofstra on Mar. 10, 2010 … Penn’s last win by a score of 6-3 came against Lehigh on April 11, 1989 … Three goals allowed is the fewest allowed by Penn since allowing just two to Yale in a 7-2 win on Mar. 19, 2011.