2014 Ivy League Tournament | May 2-4 | Class of 1952 Stadium
Semifinals -- Friday, May 2
4 p.m. #2 Penn vs. #3 Harvard
7 p.m. #1 Princeton vs. #4 Cornell
Championship Game -- Sunday, May 4
12 p.m. Semifnal Winners
PHILADELPHIA – No. 15 Penn – the only team to qualify for all five Ivy League Women’s Lacrosse Championships – sets out on a different course to an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships as the Quakers head to Princeton this weekend to do battle with three other teams for a tournament championship. It will mark the first time the Quakers have not served as host of the Ivy League Tournament.
Up first for No. 2 seed Penn is a meeting with No. 3 seed Harvard on Friday at Class of 1952 Stadium at 4 p.m. No. 1 Princeton and No. 4 Cornell will meet in the other semifinal. The two semifinal winners will decide the champion on Sunday at 12 p.m.
The Quakers won a record eighth consecutive Ivy League championship on the strength of a 6-1 League mark and lead the Ancient Eight in Ivy League Tournament championships with two after wins in 2010 and 2013.
Penn holds the best all-time winning percentage in the Ivy League Tournament (.714) with a 5-2 record. With its first game on Friday, Penn will break a tie with Dartmouth for the most games played in the Ivy League Tournament.
The Quakers posted a 10-4 overall record this season, the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Red and Blue have gone over 10 wins in a season. Prior to that, Penn had gone 23 years without a 10-win season.
Included in its 10-win season was a 9-4 win over Harvard on March 8 at Franklin Field. The Quakers were dominant in the game, shutting out the Crimson for most of the first half until Harvard got on the board with 2:13 remaining. Penn would put together another nice run of defense to close the game, keeping Harvard off the scoreboard over the final 15:08 as Penn turned a slim 5-4 lead into the final 9-4 advantage. Freshman Sarah Barcia had three goals in the game while Tory Bensen and Lindsey Smith each had two. Lucy Ferguson made nine saves in the win, including five in a stellar first half.
Penn has done the bulk of its damage this season on defense, ranking eighth in the nation in scoring defense at 7.71 goals-allowed-per-game. In Ivy League games, Penn has allowed 6.6 goals-per-game- over a goal better than the next best team in Ivy play. Through seven Ivy contests, Penn allowed 46 goals, the fifth-fewest in the Karin Corbett era.
Lucy Ferguson owns the nation’s eighth-best goals-against average at 7.66 through 14 games. She also ranks 14th in save percentage at .476 to make her one of seven goalkeepers in the country to be ranked in the top-15 of both major goalkeeper stats. Both of her numbers are good to lead the Ivy League.
Also playing a major role in Penn’s team defense is the dynamic duo of Meg Markham and Allie Martin. Both are inside the top-20 nationally in caused turnovers – Markham is third overall (2.50) and Martin is 17th (1.93) – and they rank first and third, respectively, in the Ivy League. Markham also sits inside the top-15 in ground balls-per-game with 2.93 to rank 14th.
Tory Bensen, the most recent Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week, leads Penn in scoring with a career high 32 goals and 41 points. Over her last three games, she has scored 14 goals and has totaled 16 points as she willed her team to an eighth consecutive Ivy championship.
Bensen is one of eight players who have either equaled or matched their career highs this season in goal, no player making more of a jump than sophomore Lely DeSimone. After playing primarily as a defender in 2013, she has scored 21 goals this season to sit second on the team in goals.
DeSimone’s classmate, Nine Corcoran, is second on the team in points with a career-best 39 points. She has also set new career highs in goals (20) and assists (19) after tallying just nine points in 2013.
Lindsey Smith (15 goals), Sarah Barcia (10), Iris Williamson and Catherine Dickinson (nine) also have provided secondary scoring for the Quakers throughout the season.
Harvard qualified for its third Ivy League Tournament with a 4-3 mark inside the Ivy League and a 9-6 overall record. The Crimson are 1-2 all-time in Ivy League Tournament appearances, advancing to the title game in 2011 after an 11-10 win over Dartmouth. In that championship game, the Crimson were knocked off by Princeton, 12-10.
Marisa Romeo leads the Ivy League in goal scoring with 46 goals during her freshman season. Back in early March, she had all four of Harvard’s goals in its loss to Penn. Sophomore Audrey Todd is second on the team with 26 goals while freshman Megan Hennessey is third with 22. Youth will be served by the Crimson as all five of their top scorers are underclassmen.
Kelly Weiss has played every minute in goal for Harvard this season, making 121 saves (.467 percent) and posting a GAA of 9.20. She has kept opponents to fewer than ten goals scored in 10 of her 16 starts.