Watch Live!PHILADELPHIA - With one game under their belts, the No. 8 Penn women's lacrosse team has little time to wade into the 2011 season, as No. 3 North Carolina comes to Franklin Field on Saturday (noon) for a crucial non-conference tilt.
The Tar Heels are 3-2 this season, with wins over No. 13 Vanderbilt (14-10) and No. 14 Florida (10-9, OT) to their credit. Last week, the Tar Heels lost an overtime game to No. 2 Northwestern, 7-6.
The Quakers opened their season with a 12-9 win over Drexel, but still slid two spots in the IWLCA rankings to No.
8. While the pedigree of the Penn program has not been questioned, a strong outing against a national semifinal program in 2010 will show the country that Penn is still where it has been the last four seasons.
In the win over Drexel, head coach Karin Brower Corbett received production from all four classes, as each year contributed at least one goal. The sophomores came through the biggest, with six goals from members of the Class of 2013. Caroline Bunting led the way with three goals - her first career multi-goal game after scoring just five times in 2010. Kelly McCallion added a pair of goals - her first-ever scores for the Quakers. Classmate Maddie Poplawski scored one time on a free position, but added three ground balls, two draw controls and a caused turnover while patrolling the midfield.
Senior Giulia Giordano also had three goals for Penn, while junior Erin Brennan added two goals and an assist. The three-point afternoons for the duo continued their simultaneous climb up Penn's all-time scoring list. They moved ahead of current assistant coach Melissa Lehman '08 and are now tied with former Penn standout Emily Cochran '06 at 104 career points, good for 12th all-time at Penn.
On the defensive side, junior goalkeeper Emily Leitner made her first career start last weekend, making five saves for the win. Penn had new faces on defense, with freshmen Lydia Miller, Lindsey Smith and Tory Bensen joining veterans Carolyn Pollard, Lily Posner and Keely Langdon in front of Leitner. That group will be tested on Saturday as the Tar Heels bring a potent offensive attack with them.
Senior Corey Donahoe is one of the premier players in the nation, a returning first-team All-American from 2010 and UNC's leading scorer so far in 2011 with 13 goals and two assists for 15 points. Sitting atop UNC's scoring list is nothing new for Donahoe as she set a Tar Heel record for points in a season with 77 in 2010 on 54 goals and 23 assists. Last year, she had two goals in UNC's 11-6 win over Penn in Chapel Hill.
The contest last March was even in the first 30 minutes, with UNC taking a 6-5 lead into halftime. In the final 30 minutes, the Tar Heels seized control, utilizing a 5-2 advantage on draw controls to outscore Penn, 5-1, and pull away for the win.
Junior Becky Lynch had three goals and an assist last season against Penn, and is again set for a matchup against high school classmate Erin Brennan. The two attended vaunted Garden City High School on Long Island, where they combined for three state championships. Penn freshman Shannon Mangini was on the 2007 and 2008 N.Y. state champions with Brennan and Lynch at Garden City and then continued the winning ways with two more state titles in '09 and '10. And to add some more familiarity to the game, Becky's older brother, Justin, was a four-year letterwinner for Penn's men's lacrosse program and was honorable mention All-Ivy in 2010 after four season's as the primary face-off man for the Quakers.
Overall, Penn holds a 2-1 lead in the all-time series with UNC. The only three meetings have come in the last three seasons as the two programs begin to get to know each other. Before UNC's win in 2010, the Red and Blue had scored an 8-7 win in 2008 down in Chapel Hill and an 11-2 victory at Franklin Field in 2009. The dominant win in '09 saw Courtney Lubbe score five goals and add three assists while Brennan posted two goals and an assist. The Tar Heels were limited to one goal in each half, with Penn scoring six in a row to close out the game and blow open a then 5-2 lead.