Box Score (PDF)
PHILADELPHIA - Facing a top team, it is important to play a clean game. Turnovers and allowing the opposition to get on a run can be tough to overcome. That was the case on Saturday for No. 18 Penn against No. 3 North Carolina. The Quakers spotted the Tar Heels a 7-1 lead through two-thirds of the first half and could not recover in an 11-5 loss at Franklin Field.
The difference was efficiency in the first half. Penn scored three goals on 11 shots for a 27% clip while the Tar Heels scored nine goals on 14 shots - connecting a rate of 64% to build a 9-3 lead at the break. The big run was goals on eight of their first 12 shots by North Carolina, while Penn was missing just wide or finding the pocket of Lauren Maksym's stick on five of its first six shots.
Maddie Poplawski broke a 4-0 run for the Tar Heels to start the game on a free position shot at the 11:17 mark. The goal was one of two free position goals for the Quakers in the game, the other coming off the stick of Iris Williamson at the 19:31 mark.
Taylor George was the catalyst in the first half for North Carolina, scoring three goals in the first 18:29 of the game. She would finish with four goals in the game - all in the first half following her goal off a Penn turnover with three seconds remaining in the half.
The Quakers had built some momentum before George's final goal of the half, scoring twice in four minutes to bring the score to 8-3. Williamson started it with her free position goal, and Catherine Dickinson followed with her second of the season off a pass from Courtney Tomchik with 6:29 remaining in the half. Maksym denied Penn any further momentum with two saves, denying Tomchik and then Poplawski. The Quakers looked to have run out the clock after a UNC turnover and ground ball from Lely DeSimone, but the Tar Heels picked off a clear pass and George had an open net for her fourth of the day.
The second half was much better for Penn on the defensive end, as the Quakers held North Carolina without a goal until there was 2:43 to play and the Red and Blue were playing a press defense with the goalkeeper playing as a defender. The Quakers limited UNC to 29% shooting in the second half on 2-for-7 shooting.
Iris Williamson scored just 19 seconds into the half, picking up a pass from Meredith Cain who had won the draw and darting to goal. Williamson made one move and found space, firing top corner for the goal.
It took over 14 minutes for the next goal to be scored, and it came off the stick of Caroline Bunting. With the Quakers on the man-up, Nina Corcoran picked up a ground ball and found Bunting who dodged her way through the defense for her second goal of the season. There were 11 combined turnovers between Williamson and Bunting scoring for Penn, six for the Tar Heels and five the Quakers. During that stretch, there were just four shots between the two teams - and only one on goal, saved by Lucy Ferguson.
After making just one save in the first half, Ferguson made four in the second, including three in the aftermath of Bunting's goal to give Penn a chance to climb further back into the game. Maksym was equal to the challenge on the other end, denying McKenzie Hunt on a free position and Meredith Cain from in tight with 6:52 to play.
In addition to her goal, Poplawski added two caused turnovers, two draw controls and two ground balls. Williamson had three ground balls and a caused turnover as well from the midfield. Ferguson picked up five ground balls while causing one turnover. Leah McBride was active defensively with two caused turnovers and a ground ball.
For the Tar Heels, Brittney Coppa had three goals and two draw controls while Abbey Friend added two goals. Kara Cannizzaro was limited to just one goal, but added two caused turnovers.
The Quakers are 0-2, starting a season with a pair of losses for the first time since the 1999 season. Up next for Penn is a trip to Rutgers to take on the Scarlet Knights March 6 at 3 p.m.