PHILADELPHIA – For future reference, when the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt line up for a women’s lacrosse game the smartest thing to do is put five minutes on the clock, call it the second half and see what happens from there.
For the third time in the three all-time meetings between the two schools, Penn pulled out a one-goal win as Tory Bensen scored with 0:04 remaining in overtime to secure a 12-11 win for the No. 12 Quakers.
The overtime victory is the second in three years for the Quakers over Vanderbilt, both coming at home. In 2013, the Red and Blue edged the Commodores, 14-13, in overtime. Last year, in Music City, Penn scored an 11-10 win in regulation.
Bensen, coming off a six-goal outing in Penn’s first game of the season, was quiet for most of the snowy afternoon – almost too quiet.
She was held off the scoresheet until late in the contest, but came up huge for her team with the game-tying goal and the game-winning tally. She had two cracks at the winning goal, hitting the post with 10 seconds left before picking up her own rebound, circling behind the net and coming around the other side to score five-hole on Maddie Kratz. With less than five seconds remaining, the ensuing draw control was knocked around and time ran out before either team could secure it.
Despite double-digit goal totals from both teams, each goalkeeper was remarkable in cage for their side. Each keeper made 10 saves in the game, Lucy Ferguson making seven in the second half to stave off a Commodore rush and Vanderbilt’s Kratz keeping her team in striking range in the first half where she made eight stops.
Ferguson’s biggest stops came late in the second half as she allowed her squad the chance to come back. After the Commodores had taken their second lead of the game off an Alexa Kunowsky goal with 10:29 to play, Ferguson denied Jill Doherty’s attempt to add insurance for the Commodores with 8:22 to play. Just over two minutes later, Bensen tied the game.
Ferguson’s final save of the game came as time expired, stopping Vandy sniper Mallory Schonk from just outside the crease, preserving the tie and sending the game to overtime. Schonk only had a chance to snag the game winner after Penn had an apparent tie-breaking score of its own called back after Nina Corcoran’s free position attempt with 0:45 remaining in regulation was negated after she did not pass a stick check.
The stick check issue in the final minute does not overshadow the dominant game Corcoran had on attack for the Red and Blue. She finished the game with a career-high six points on two goal and four assists, tying her career high in helpers.
Catherine Dickinson had a career-high four goals in the win, hitting on 80% of her career-high five shots. She scored twice in each half, and three of her four goals gave Penn a lead or tied the game.
There was never an air of comfort in the game as the largest lead of the game was only three – a margin which Penn held for all of 57 seconds early in the second half.
The Quakers thought they may have taken control of the game following Dickinson’s final tally of the game. After Vanderbilt scored with 20:53 remaining to making it a 9-8 Penn lead, the Red and Blue took timeout. Out of the break, Dickinson needed just 1:16 to regain a two-goal advantage for the Quakers.
However, the Commodores put together their best sequence of the game with three consecutive goals in a span of 7:37 to take an 11-10 lead. The Commodores had a chance to add to their lead after winning the ensuing draw control, but a Meg Markham caused turnover gave Penn the ball. One minute later, Bensen had tied the game.
Vanderbilt won the following draw control, but Markham again struck for a caused turnover, stripping the ball from Jill Doherty’s stick before the Commodores could set up a play. The Quakers would attempt to hold for a favorable shot attempt, but got a bit sloppy with the ball and turned it over just inside the restraining line. Vandy could not capitalize, though, handing the ball right back via another caused turnover from Markham with 1:31 to play in regulation. That caused turnover led to Corcoran’s negated free position goal, which led to one more chance for Schonk to end it in regulation which was denied by Ferguson.
In overtime, Penn won the first draw control but quickly turned the ball over before gaining entry into the attacking third. The Commodores took their time, looking to set up a good shot attempt. It never came, though, as the Commodores turned the ball over with 14 seconds left in the first three-minute period.
In the second three-minute session, Markham won the draw control and sent Penn on attack. It looked like the game may be headed to sudden victory following the hit post from Bensen, but she had other ideas and slipped in the game-winner.
Markham finished the game with three caused turnovers and six draw controls. She also added one ground ball, the 100th of her career. Eight different players had a caused turnover for the Quakers, with Iris Williamson adding two to go with a pair of draw controls and ground balls. Lely DeSimone finished with a goal and an assist to go with two draw controls, two ground balls, and a caused turnover.
Jill Doherty had four goals for Vanderbilt, with Schonk adding three. Doherty also added three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
Penn improves to 2-0 this season, while Vanderbilt falls to 3-2.
Up next for the Quakers is a trip to Rutgers on March 4. First draw is scheduled for 5 p.m.