PHILADELPHIA It was the moment that Penn lacrosse fans had waited 25 years for.
No. 3 Penn clinched a share of its first Ivy League title since 1982 Wednesday night, beating No. 15 Princeton, 14-10, at Franklin Field.
Sophomore Becca Edwards erupted for five goals as the Quakers earned their first NCAA bid since 1984 and became the first team in the nation to make the NCAA field of 16. It was Penn's first win over Princeton since 1993 as the Quakers held off a furious late rally by the Tigers.
“It’s very rewarding,” said an elated Head Coach Karin Brower after the game. “It’s been eight years since I came here, and we were able to do this thanks to my great staff. I’m just so proud right now. I have the greatest amount of respect for Chris Sailer. To beat a team so steeped with tradition is amazing.”
The Quakers (12-1, 6-0 Ivy) can now win the League outright with a win at Brown on Saturday. Penn clinched the NCAA berth by virtue of owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over the only other team that could potentially share the title, Yale.
Princeton (6-4, 2-2 Ivy) went on a 3-0 run near the end of the game to cut Penn’s lead to three, but couldn’t complete the comeback as the Quakers stalled on offense late in the game.
Edwards’ play was sparkling, as the sophomore scored a career-high five including three in a row during one span in the first half despite leaving the game at one point with a leg injury. Senior Chrissy Muller was no less impressive, scoring a goal and adding three assists, while freshman Ali DeLuca notched three goals and a helper.
Goalkeeper Sarah Waxman was a key contributor, making 12 saves to push her record to 12-1. Princeton outshot Penn 30-23.
The game was a knock-down drag-out battle from the opening whistle, with the two teams combining for 27 turnovers and 20 fouls.
The Quakers burst out of the gate with a 5-1 run to start the game before the Tigers make it interesting with three straight goals in the middle of the first half. Edwards, though, stopped the bleeding with three in a row starting at 7:52 and ending with 31 seconds left. DeLuca tacked on another goal with just five seconds to go until the half, and the Quakers found themselves up 9-4 at the half.
Not forgetting last year’s game in which Penn blew a halftime lead in a loss to Princeton, Rachel Manson struck quickly after the break with a goal 22 seconds into the half. The Tigers responded with another 3-0 run, started by Kristen Morrison and ended by Katie Lewis-Lamonica’s unassisted tally with 22:09 left to make it 10-7.
Freshman Emma Spiro swung the momentum back in Penn’s favor with a breakaway goal two minutes, then added another on a free position eight minutes later. Edwards then came back into the game after her injury to tally her fifth.
From there, the Quakers tried their best to stall, but virtually every Penn turnover led to a Princeton goal. Lewis-Lamonica scored with 6:46 to go, then the Tigers won the draw and Kathleen Miller tallied her fourth 40 seconds later. Holly McGarvie did it again at 3:28, but that would be all for the Tigers, as Penn slowed it down and Manson iced the game with her second goal with 1:33 left.