NEWARK, Del. – The University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team handed upstart Delaware its first loss of the season on a frigid day at Delaware Stadium, edging the Blue Hens, 9-7.
The No. 14 Quakers (1-0) trailed just once in the game, erasing an early deficit after the Blue Hens (2-1) opened the scoring 3:45 into the game.
It was déjà vu all over again for the Blue Hens, who must have felt like they were watching a bizzaro version of last year’s contest between the two teams at Franklin Field. Last year, Tory Bensen scored five goals and was 4-for-5 on free positions as Penn knocked off Delaware, 11-8. This year, Bensen was back at it as she tied her career high with six goals – again connecting on four free position attempts.
Bensen was instrumental in breaking open a 4-4 game early in the second half, scoring three consecutive free position goals in a span of 5:02 to turn a 4-4 deadlock into a 7-4 Penn advantage. After the Blue Hens answered with 20:47 to play to make it a two-goal game, Lely DeSimone scored her second of the day, netting the eventual game-winner off an Iris Williamson feed with 18:43 to play.
Delaware was undeterred, though, netting two goals to get back within one with 8:40 to play. Bensen would deny the comeback, scoring an unassisted goal with 4:35 remaining to lock up the win. The Blue Hens would win the ensuing draw, but Meg Markham would cause a turnover with 3:40 to play and allow Penn to all but run out the clock.
Lucy Ferguson made five saves in the win, her biggest arguably coming on a Casey Lyons free position attempt with 12:41 to play and the Quakers leading by two. Lyons entered the game with 12 goals through two games for the Blue Hens, but the Red and Blue limited her to two goals and three shots.
As a team, the Blue Hens had scored 39 goals through two games, but Penn’s staunch defense again rose to the occasion, holding the Blue Hens to just 18 total shots and 12 shots on goal. The Red and Blue caused seven turnovers, led by three from sophomore Megan Kelly in her first career game. Her biggest sequence came in the second half with under seven minutes to play and Penn ahead by a goal when she caused a Shannon Hawley turnover and picked up the ground ball to send the Quakers in transition and eventually to Bensen’s final goal.
The Quakers won the draw control battle, 12-6, led by three from Meg Markham and two each from Brooke Kiley and Lydia Miller.
Notes: Tory Bensen’s first goal of the season was her 100th career point … She is the 21st player in program history to reach the 100-point mark … She now has 105 career points and sits in 15th place all-time on Penn’s scoring list … Four players made their career debuts for the Quakers: Megan Kelly, Natalie Stefan, Emily Rogers-Healion and Alex Condon.
The Quakers will play at Franklin Field for the first time on March 1, hosting Vanderbilt at 1 p.m.