PHILADELPHIA - For the fifth consecutive season, Penn will enter a women's lacrosse season looking to defend an Ivy League title when the first draw control of 2012 takes place, and there is no question that head coach Karin Brower Corbett has put together a challenging schedule for her squad.
The five-time Ivy champs will play seven games against teams ranked inside the Top-20 at the conclusion of the 2011 season, including all four teams which met in the 2011 Final Four. The ranked teams Penn will be preparing for are: defending national champion Northwestern, national runner-up Maryland, perennial ACC powers and national semifinalists North Carolina and Duke, Ivy League rivals Princeton and Dartmouth, and a first-time matchup with Big East stalwart Georgetown.
"We pride ourselves on the tradition of excellence we have instilled at Penn over this great run we have been on," head coach Karin Brower Corbett said. "Our goal every year is to be Ivy League champions and to be force on the national level while competing for an NCAA title. The schedule we have in front of us this spring will prepare us on both fronts."
The Quakers went 11-6 last season, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season. Inside the Ivy League, Penn was 6-1 and tied for the top mark among Ancient Eight teams. The Red and Blue were 3-3 in the regular season against the six teams ranked inside the Top 20 at the time of the meeting, including wins over both No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke.
Both of those meetings came in Philadelphia, which means the Red and Blue will head to Tobacco Road this season for a pair of meetings which will bookend Penn's season. After the season-opener at Drexel on Feb. 25, Penn heads to North Carolina on March 3 well before the regular season finale at Duke on April 28.
Penn will have three marquee non-conference home games to look forward to in the middle of the season, starting with the first-ever meeting between Penn and Georgetown on March 21. The month of March closes with 2010 NCAA champ Maryland returning to Franklin Field on March. 30 and the Quakers host six-time NCAA champ Northwestern on April 8 for what is always an entertaining encounter. The only other non-conference home game is the home-opener on March 7 against Rutgers.
Penn's road to a sixth Ivy League title will start at Franklin Field on March 10 against a Harvard squad which reached the Ivy League semifinals in 2011 and looks to be even more improved this season. After road trips to Ivy rivals Yale (March 17) and Cornell (March 24), Penn returns home inside the Ancient Eight on April 1 against Columbia before rounding out home conference play on April 21 against Brown.
On April 14, Penn returns to Hanover, N.H. to take on Dartmouth. The last time the Quakers were in Hanover saw then-No. 6 Penn take a 9-6 win over No. 7 Dartmouth in 2010. Last year, Penn needed a goal with under three minutes to play at Franklin Field for a 10-9 win.
Penn and Princeton will meet again on April 25 as the Red and Blue will look to exact revenge on the team which ended Penn's 34-game Ivy League winning streak last April 20. Then, two weeks later, Princeton knocked off the Quakers in the Ivy League semifinals, adding more fuel to the always-hot rivalry.
The Ivy League tournament will again take place May 4-6, hosted by the Ivy's regular season champion. Penn has hosted the first two installments of the tournament which determines the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships.
2012 Penn Women's Lacrosse Schedule
Feb. 25 - at Drexel (Philadelphia, Pa.) - 3 p.m.
Mar. 3 - at North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.) - 3 p.m.
Mar. 7 - RUTGERS (Franklin Field) - 7 p.m.
Mar. 10 - HARVARD* (Franklin Field) - 12 p.m.
Mar. 17 - at Yale* (New Haven, Conn.) - 1 p.m.
Mar. 21 - GEORGETOWN (Franklin Field) - 7 p.m.
Mar. 24 - at Cornell* (Ithaca, N.Y.) - 1 p.m.
Mar. 30 - MARYLAND (Franklin Field) - 6 p.m.
Apr. 1 - COLUMBIA* (Franklin Field) - 1 p.m.
Apr. 8 - NORTHWESTERN (Franklin Field) - 12 p.m.
Apr. 14 - at Dartmouth (Hanover, N.H.) - 12 p.m.
Apr. 21 - BROWN* (Franklin Field) - 1 p.m.
Apr. 25 - at Princeton* (Princeton, N.J.) - 7 p.m.
Apr. 28 - at Duke (Durham, N.C.) - 12 p.m.
May 4-6 - Ivy League Tournament (TBA)
May 12 - NCAA First Round (TBA)
May 19 - NCAA Quarterfinals (TBA)
May 25 - NCAA Semifinals (Stony Brook, N.Y.)
May - 27 - NCAA Championship Final (Stony Brook, N.Y.)
All Home Games in
CAPS and Played at Franklin Field
* Indicates Ivy League Game
All Dates and Times Subject to Change