Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA – Redemption. Revenge. Resiliency.
Penn served up all three on Friday night, knocking Dartmouth from the ranks of the Ivy unbeatens with an 8-7 win at Dunning-Cohen Champions Field. The win keeps the Quakers unblemished in Ancient Eight play at 5-0, while Dartmouth slips to 4-1. The Red and Blue will host the other team undefeated in conference play – Princeton – on Wednesday night.
As is usually the case when the Quakers and Big Green meet, goals were at a premium as the two goalkeepers made save after save. The Quakers didn’t score their first goal of the game until 16:48 had been played – but that goal was good enough to tie as Dartmouth had managed just one score of its own.
The Red and Blue wouldn’t take a lead until Caroline Bunting scored with 1:01 to play in the first half to give the Quakers a 4-3 lead, but Penn would never relinquish that lead, fighting to the finish in a physical, grueling contest which came down the last second.
Caroline Bunting’s third goal of the game came with 7:16 to play and provided Penn with an 8-6 lead. Dartmouth would win the draw control and give itself four chances to quickly get within one goal. The Big Green drew a pair of free positions with just under six minutes to play, but the angles were not good enough for a shot attempt. After cycling the ball around, Liz Calby came up with two shots in a span of 16 seconds – each denied by Lucy Ferguson from point-blank range.
The Red and Blue were unable to drain the clock, coughing the ball up just inside the restraining line with 31 seconds to play. The Big Green moved the ball up field and Jaclyn Leto scored her second of the game with 22 seconds left to cut Penn’s lead to one and allow a chance at a miracle for the Big Green.
Leto won the ensuing draw control, but the Quakers spaced themselves on defense and matched up physically to deny a fast break. Dartmouth would try one last pass behind the net to look for an open cutter, but time expired to give Penn its third one-goal win of the season.
Penn did everything except score in the first 15 minutes of the game, taking six shots before Maddie Poplawski would tie the game at 1-1. Over that opening stretch, the Quakers would be denied on three free positions and hit a post.
The Red and Blue never trailed by more than a goal in the game, answering each time the Big Green would score. After Sarah Byrne scored on a free position with 8:26 left in the first half, it was Shannon Mangini who would counter for the Quakers. She took a pass out wide to the left side and dodged through traffic to score a lunging goal with 4:43 left in the opening frame.
Dartmouth took its third – and final – lead of the game on a Leto fee position with 2:51 to play, but would strike on an eight-meter of her own with 1:32 left in the half. Bunting would then give Penn the lead 31 seconds later on a strong drive to the middle of the attack zone for the first of her three goals.
The second half was again slow to develop, both keepers trading saves early before Meredith Cain scored on a free position with 23:10 left in the game. The two-goal lead was short-lived as Christine Lushefski scored 25 seconds later off a feed from Hana Bowers who had won the draw. Just 20 seconds after that goal, the Big Green tied the game with a goal from Liz Calby after Sarah Byrne forced a turnover and fed the open player.
Bunting made sure her team would not be denied by Dartmouth again at Penn Park, scoring twice in the final 17 minutes. Her second of the game came with 17:01 to play, sniping a low blazing shot five-hole on the run. The Big Green would counter, though, Byrne connecting unassisted with 13:45 to play.
Penn would make the Big Green pay for a run of fouls, Iris Williamson scoring on a free position with 11:22 remaining after four consecutive fouls from Dartmouth. Four minutes later, Tory Bensen picked up a ground ball and hit a streaking Bunting for the hat trick – and game-winner.
The win is redemption of sorts after the Big Green defeated the Quakers twice last season – including a 6-4 win in the Ivy League Tournament title game at Dunning-Cohen Champions Field. The win guarantees that the Quakers will finish with at least five Ivy League wins in a season for the seventh consecutive year. Prior to 2007, Penn had reached five Ivy wins in a season just twice in 27 years of Ancient Eight play.
The Class of 2013 was vital in Penn’s win – their 42nd as a group and 12 home Ivy League win (12-1 home Ivy record). Caroline Bunting had a caused turnover and two ground balls to go with her hat trick. Maddie Poplawski had two goals and seven draw controls, while Meredith Cain had one goal and a draw control. Kelly McCallion, in her first start of the season was a catalyst early with a big ground ball off a scrum at midfield and two free position attempts earned.
The draw control game – just like the final score – was close and decided by one goal. Penn won nine the game to eight for Dartmouth, the Quakers single-handedly led by Poplawski. Penn’s all-time leader in draw controls added to her record with seven, closing in on the Ivy League’s all-time standard for success on the circle. She currently sits at 162 draw controls, one behind the Ivy’s career record holder – Dartmouth’s Taylor Gattinella (2009-12).
Lucy Ferguson made seven saves in the win, including five in the second half. She was bolstered on the defensive side by Meg Markham who had two caused turnovers and four ground balls as well as Courtney Tomchik who had three caused turnovers and two ground balls.
The Quakers will play for seventh consecutive Ivy League championship against Princeton on Wednesday night at Franklin Field with a 7 p.m. start.