PRINCETON – A back-and-forth Ivy League semifinal needed double overtime to decide a winner, and the winning goal came off the stick of Penn’s leading scorer Tory Bensen just under a minute into the sudden-victory period to give the Quakers a 10-9 win over Harvard.
Bensen scored her fourth goal of the game to send Penn to its fourth Ivy League Tournament championship game, scoring on the only shot of the second overtime beating her defender along the left post and sending a shot past Kelly Weiss to set off a wild celebration for the Quakers.
Just the second double overtime period in Ivy League Tournament history, the Quakers needed to rally in the first session just to force the second overtime period. Harvard had scored with just 17 seconds left in the opening three-minute stretch, Kyleigh Keating connecting after the Crimson had won the opening draw.
Lely DeSimone forced more extra lacrosse with her second goal of the game – almost 62 minutes of game time after her first goal – as she scored on a free position with 1:22 left in the opening overtime.
A frantic finish to regulation saw Harvard score twice in the final 3:43 to tie the game and send it to overtime. The equalizer came with 3.5 seconds left on the clock as Chelsey Newman deposited a Megan Hennessey pass. It appeared the Quakers would hold on as Sophia Capone had a free position attempt with 15.3 seconds to play blocked, but the Crimson quickly regrouped and struck to send the game to overtime.
With the nation’s eighth-best scoring defense, it was fitting that it was the defensive unit who came up large in the crucial moments for the Quakers as they mounted a comeback to start the second half. The Red and Blue quickly turned a 5-3 halftime deficit into a lead in the second half, and goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson made two big saves with less than eight minutes to play to make it stand up. Her first stop in succession came on a free possession off the stick of Megan Hennessey and then she denied Audrey Todd thirty seconds later.
Penn found its offensive rhythm in the second half, scoring the first four goals of the period to erase a halftime deficit and build an insurmountable lead. Tory Bensen had two goals in the run, including one 3:35 into the second half and another at the 42:54 mark of the game to give Penn a 7-5 lead. In between, Nina Corcoran scored the tying goal just under two minutes following Bensen’s first of the half and Catherine Dickinson netted a goal to give Penn the lead.
The Quakers opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game, Lely DeSimone slipping wide open behind the defense and one-touching in a Nina Corcoran pass at the 4:58 mark. Two minutes later, Catherine Dickinson also found space in the middle of Harvard’s defense and bounced a shot through the keeper’s five-hole to give Penn a 2-0 lead.
After Penn built a 2-0 lead quickly in the opening half, the Crimson countered with five of the game’s next six goals to lead, 5-3, at the half. Audrey Todd had three of them, scoring a natural hat trick with three goals in 3:21 of game play to give the Crimson a 3-2 lead.
Tory Bensen tied the game again with a goal at the 13:05 mark of the half, connecting on a free position for her 33rd goal of the season.
Both sides were held scoreless over the next nine minutes until the Crimson again struck quickly for two goals in 0:44 to take a two-goal lead. Marisa Romeo scored on a free position with 7:10 to go in the first half before Alexis Nicolia netted her first of the game with 6:26 to play in the opening period.
Penn advances to its fourth Ivy League Tournament championship game, taking on host Princeton. The Quakers are 2-1 all-time in championship games and are the defending champions. First draw is set for 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 4.
Notes: Penn played in its first double overtime game since a 13-12 loss to Northwestern in the 2009 national semifinals ... Penn’s last win in double overtime came in 2006, a 9-8 win at Yale ... The Quakers have won their last five overtime games dating back to last season ... Tory Bensen has scored 18 goals over her last four games, doing so on 19 shots on goal ... Penn improves to 6-2 all-time in the Ivy League Tournament ... The Quakers have played the most games in the Ivy League Tournament by any school ... Penn is 2-0 all-time against Harvard in the Ivy League Tournament ... Lucy Ferguson’s seven saves move her into first-place all-time in career saves in the Ivy League Tournament by a Penn goalkeeper (27) ... Meg Markham now leads Penn all-time in caused turnovers during Ivy League Tournament games (6) ... Nina Corcoran finished with three points; Penn is now 11-0 this season when Corcoran has two or more points ... Tory Bensen (36) moves into a tie for seventh all-time in single-season goals by a Quaker ... Nina Corcoran (21) moves into a tie for eighth all-time in single-season assists by a Quaker.