Penn vs Columbia Box Score
PHILADELPHIA - Senior Ali DeLuca may not have been the high scorer for No. 6 Penn in a 19-7 win over Columbia, but her second goal of the game was the most memorable.
With 8:30 remaining in the game, DeLuca broke out from behind the goal, circling to her right and beat her defender while firing a shot past Columbia's Karlee Blank. It was something DeLuca has done numerous times in a Penn uniform - 130 now to be exact - but that goal did more than give Penn a 17-6 lead over its Ivy League foe.
DeLuca's goal was the 130th of her career, breaking the school record for career goals, which had sat at 129 since 1983 when Sherry Marcantonio set the bar. In the 27 seasons since Marcantonio established the record, only five other players have eclipsed the century mark. The closest to reaching the record was Rachel Manson who scored 116 goals from 2005-08. DeLuca entered this season with 100 career goals and needed just 11 games to set a new standard for career goal scoring at Penn.
"I tried to not to focus on the record too much," DeLuca said after the game. "Today, it was more about if it is there then great, but if not hopefully someone on our team is scoring goals."
For a while, it was DeLuca's teammates who carried the Quakers. After a sluggish start which saw Columbia hop out to a 4-2 lead after 15:52 of play, the Red and Blue stormed back with a 12-0 run to take a 14-4 lead just 2:35 into the second half. Over that span, seven different Penn players scored a goal and five had an assist. For the game, Penn had 10 different goal scorers and 11 players with at least one point.
"We needed a game like this to help bolster our offense," DeLuca said. "We struggled on Friday against Maryland and this is a reminder of how good we can be on attack. Of all the things that happened today, the fact that we had 12 assists on 19 goals shows how together we were as a team."
The chemistry and camaraderie of the Quakers was never more evident than in the moments leading up to - and immediately after DeLuca's record breaking goal.
The dozen goals in a row had all but sealed the victory for Penn, and it was apparent that her teammates were hoping to help DeLuca score that record-breaking goal. While DeLuca didn't help matters by sending herself off for three minutes in the middle of the second half via a yellow card, when she returned she was the recipient of multiple passes. Finally, she was able to find space thanks to her uniquely elusive speed and send a shot to the back of the cage. As soon as the shot went in, her teammates on the field surrounded her to celebrate, and when DeLuca reached the sidelines for a substitution, she was met by the rest of her teammates and coaches.
"The funny part is that it wasn't a great goal," said DeLuca, going the humble route. "It wasn't the great, crisp shot you dream about in situations like this. But, it went in and then there was a great feeling. I was so thankful to share it with such supportive teammates."
Those teammates were not around simply for moral support on Sunday. They were clicking on all cylinders offensively after the early struggles. Emma Spiro and Erin Brennan each had four goals. Brennan added an assist to tie with Courtney Lubbe (2G, 3A) and Giulia Giordano (2G, 3A) for the game-high in points. Megan Smith and Meredith Cain each finished with a goal and an assist. For Cain, the points were the first of her collegiate career. Caroline Connor also recorded her first collegiate point, an assist on Brennan's fourth goal. Caroline Bunting had a goal for Penn as did defender Barb Seaman. For the senior leader in the backfield for Penn, it was the first goal of the season on a nice passing play with Smith in the first half.
"Of all the goals today, I was most excited for Barb's," DeLuca said. "She works so hard on defense for us and for her to be rewarded with a great goal like that was an awesome moment."
It is safe to say today's game was filled with many "awesome moments" for DeLuca and the Quakers.