PHILADELPHIA – The captain delivered.
With momentum seemingly on the side of visiting Northwestern, Nina Corcoran scored her only goal of the game 0:58 into overtime to give No. 16 Penn a 14-13 win over the No. 8 Wildcats.
The win is Penn’s first over a Top-10 team since defeating No. 10 Cornell, 12-11 in overtime, in 2013 and is Penn’s first over Northwestern since an 11-7 win at Franklin Field in 2008. It ends a nine-game losing streak to the Wildcats which includes a 9-8 loss in overtime last year in Evanston.
Corcoran’s clutch game-winner negated a furious Wildcats rally which forced the extra session. Penn had burst out to a 12-5 lead with 24:35 remaining in regulation, only to see Northwestern score eight out of the final nine goals in regulation to tie the game at 13-13.
Ultimately, it was gritty play when the ball was on the ground that propelled Penn to the win. Overtime started with a draw control from Northwestern’s Spring Sanders, but Lely DeSimone won a ground ball after Sanders turned the ball over immediately after the draw control. That ground ball was Penn’s 15th of the game to 11 for the Wildcats.
The Red and Blue worked down field quickly, and found Corcoran on the right sideline. She took her usual route behind the cage, but the gifted playmaker called her own number with an athletic crease roll at the post and she scored top corner to set off a raucous celebration at Franklin Field.
The goal capped a five-point game for Corcoran. All of her points came in the second half – including four assists which give her 100 assists for her career – just the second player in program history to record 100 assists.
Another Quaker who had a five-point afternoon was Iris Williamson. While Corcoran didn’t get going until the second half, Williamson was there for the Quakers in the first half with four goals and an assist as Penn built a 7-4 halftime lead.
Williamson scored the game’s first goal, connecting just 0:58 into the game. She was effective when attacking the cage, scoring all four of her goals on unassisted runs at goal.
There were three ties and two lead changes in the first half, but an Emily Rogers-Healion goal with 9:14 left in the opening period started a 9-1 run for the Quakers over a span of 14:39 which saw the Red and Blue turn a 4-3 deficit into a 12-5 lead. Williamson had two goals and an assist during that run, and Alex Condon scored three times as Penn appeared to be in control with 24:35 to play.
The Wildcats would not wilt, though, scoring the next six goals and eight of nine to force overtime. Only a Lely DeSimone goal – assisted by fellow co-captain Nina Corcoran with 6:22 to play broke Northwestern’s run to close regulation. That goal gave Penn a 13-11 lead, but two Northwestern goals in 1:01 completed the Wildcat comeback. Penn had a chance to find the winner before regulation expired after Catherine Dickinson won the ensuing draw, but the Quakers coughed up the ball when going to goal in the final 15 seconds and time ran out.
Courtney Rushford picked up her first career win in her first career start in goal for the Quakers. Called into action after an injury late in the week to Britt Brown, Rushford made three saves and conceded nine goals in her 47:08 of play. Maggie Smith came in to start the second half and played 13:50 before Rushford returned to close out the game.
The Quakers won 13 draws on the game to 16 for Northwestern. The Wildcats had a boost from Shelby Fredericks who had 10 draw controls. Brooke Kiley led Penn with three draw controls, joined by Nina Corcoran, Catherine Dickinson, and Iris Williamson who each had two.
Katie Cromie, Megan Kelly, and Emily Rogers-Healion each had two caused turnovers in the game, while Katie Cromie led the Quakers with five ground balls.
Penn improves to 7-3 this season, while Northwestern falls to 4-6.
Up next for Penn is a return to Ivy League competition against Columbia on April 9 at 3 p.m. at Franklin Field.