Women's Lacrosse Clashes With Columbia Wednesday

4.1.15 // 6 p.m. // New York, N.Y.
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The University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team is off to the second best start in school history, with an 8-1 record through eight games. The Red and Blue will look to improve to 9-1 on Wednesday as the Quakers head to the Big Apple to take on Columbia in an Ivy League midweek contest.

Penn is 2-0 inside the Ancient Eight this season, one of three teams without a loss in Ivy play. The Lions are 1-2 in Ivy League games this season, with a 5-3 win over Yale providing Columbia its first win inside the League since 2009. Columbia is presently tied for fifth inside the Ivy League, and is looking for a second conference win to stay in the hunt for a potential Ivy League Tournament spot.

The Quakers boast the Ivy League’s toughest defense, with 63 goals allowed over nine games. Backing up the defense is an offense which has scored 104 goals this season – third most by an Ivy League team. The Red and Blue are averaging 11.56 goals-per-game this season, a pace which if held to would slot the 2015 team fourth all-time by a Penn squad.

Senior Tory Bensen leads the Ivy League in goals with 31 this season and her 35 total points are second in the Ancient Eight. Over her last 16 games dating back to April 19 of last season, she has scored 56 goals – an average of 3.5 goals-per-game. She has recorded at least two points in her last 18 games – and has gone for at least three points in 14 of her last 18 appearances.

After going her previous two games without an assist, Nina Corcoran registered three helpers in Penn’s win over Towson. She now has 21 assists which is second in the Ivy League and she is three away from setting a new career high.

Junior attacker Iris Williamson has rebounded in 2015 after struggling to find her way in 2014. She has already surpassed her goal and point total from last season with her 16 goals and 20 points through nine games and she has her sights set on her 2013 marks of 25 goals and 26 points. The Philadelphia native has at least one goal in eight of nine games this season and has eight goals in her last four appearances.

Lucy Ferguson is currently sixth all-time at Penn with 316 saves, and she is four away from fifth-place Christian Strover who had 320 from 1998-2000. Ferguson has been averaging 7.2 saves-per-game over her career and could climb into the top five on Wednesday.

After dropping their first five games to start the season, the Lions have won their past four games to improve to 4-5 overall and one win away from the most wins by a Columbia squad since 2010.

Sophomore Taylor Quinn leads the Lions with 21 goals and 26 points to go with 23 ground balls and 31 draw controls. Classmate Caroline Joy has 13 goals this season, including a hat trick last time out.

Kelsey Geddin leads all Ivy League goalkeepers with 88 saves – a number which ranks 20th in the country. Her 9.78 saves-per-game is first in the Ivy League and eighth in Division I.

Ball control will likely play an important role in Wednesday’s game. Columbia has turned the ball over 127 times compared to 99 turnovers for the Quakers. The Quakers, who rank No. 10 in the country with 10.0 caused turnovers-per-game, have been better at forcing teams into miscues than the Lions who are near the bottom in caused turnovers with only 4.78 per game.

Red and Blue Boast Top-Tier Defense
As is customary in University City, the Penn defense has been staunch to start the season. The Quakers rank No. 10 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 7.00 goals-per-game. The Quakers have held opponents to seven goals or fewer in six of nine contests this season.

We’ll Take That...
With a team defense in the upper echelon, it is not surprising that Penn is also inside the top tier in caused turnovers, ranking No. 12 with 10.0 CTs per game.Meg Markhamis third in the nation individually with 2.88 CTs per game. Three of the top-six players in the Ivy League in caused turnover-per-game wear a Penn uniform -- Markham,Megan Kelly, andLely DeSimone.

Quakers Improving on the Draw
Penn struggled last year on the draw, ranking 101st in the country with 7.94 draws-per-game. This season, Penn is averaging 10.88 draws-per-game.

Penn Finding the Back of the Net
Penn has been pushing the pace on offense this season, and finding the back of the net at a much-improved clip. The Quakers are averaging 11.50 goals-per-game, good for 41st in the nation. Last year, Penn averaged 8.78 goals-per-game which was No. 84 in Division I. Through 18 games in 2014, Penn scored 12 or more goals just twice. This season, Penn has scored 12 or more four times in eight games.

Corcoran Can Do it All
Junior attackerNina Corcoranis eighth in the country in assists-per-game with 2.25 and is 11th overall in assists with 18 helpers through eight games -- despite going without an assist in Penn's last two games. She is second on the Quakers in total points with 29, and her 3.63 points-per-game ranks 52nd in the nation.

Tory is Near the Top
Senior attackerTory Bensenis ninth in the nation in goals-per-game with 3.50. Her 28 goals through eight games are the most by any Ivy League player and ranks 12th overall in the country.

Ferguson Finds High Rankings in Goalkeeper Stats
Senior keeperLucy Fergusonranks No. 11 in the country in goals-against average at 7.24. Her .513 save percentage is also good for sixth among all keeepers.

Lucy FergusonNamed Lacrosse Magazine Midseason Goalkeeper of theYear
Two standout performances pushedLucy Fergusonto top honors among goalkeepers inLacrosse Magazine'smidseason awards. She was also named midseason All-American by the magazine -- an honor she shared with teammateMeg Markham.

Quakers Dispatch Dartmouth,10-5
Penn pulled away from the Big Green at Franklin Field, turning a 4-2 halftime lead into a 10-5 win.Lely DeSimonehad three goals to lead the Quakers, adding two caused turnovers and three ground balls.Lucy Fergusonmade eight saves in the game -- seven of which came in the second half.

Tory BensenAdded to Tewaaraton WatchList
After a strong start to the season, senior attackerTory Bensenwas added to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. She joins teammatesLucy FergusonandMeg Markhamin contention for college lacrosse's highest honor.

Terps Too Much forQuakers
Penn hung tight with No. 1 Maryland on Wednesday, ultimately falling to the Terps, 12-7.Tory Bensenhad two goals and an assist whileNina Corcoranhad two goals.Lucy Fergusondid her part to keep the Quakers in the game, making a career high 15 saves.Meg Markhamhad four caused turnovers and three ground balls.

Quakers Hound Hoyas
Penn scored the game’s first five goals against Georgetown, taking a commanding lead and never giving it back.Tory Bensenfinished with five goals, whileIris Williamsonhad two goals and two assits as Penn defeated the Hoyas, 15-8.Meg Markhamhad five caused turnovers and five draw controls to lead the defense.

Defense Plays a Full Game’s Worth of Shutout D against Hoyas/SJU
Starting with the game against Saint Joseph’s, Penn played over a full game’s worth of shutout defense in two wins against Saint Joseph’s and Georgetown. Penn did not allow a goal over the final 50:07 of play against the Hawks before holding the Hoyas off the scoreboard for the game’s first 12:16 for a total of 62:23 of shutout play.

Bensen Scores 100th Career Goal on Tuesday
With her first goal of the game on Tuesday against the Hawks,Tory Bensenbecame the eighth player in program history to score her 100th career goal.

Quakers Cruise Past Saint Joseph’s, 13-1
Penn scored the final 12 goals of Tuesday’s game with Saint Joseph’s to down their Philly competitors, 13-1.Nina Corcoranhad a career high seven points in the game on two goals and five assists.

Red and Blue are Better thanBrown
In the opening game of the 2015 Ivy League season, Penn burst out to a 6-1 halftime lead at Brown, and denied the Bears a late comeback in a 9-7 win.Tory BensenandNina Corcoraneach finished the game with three goals and an assist.Lucy Fergusonmade 10 saves in the victory as the Quakers dealt Brown its first loss of the season.

Quakers Rush PastRutgers
In their first-ever game against a Big Ten opponent, Penn took the pace of play right to Rutgers en route to a 17-7 win in New Jersey. The 17 goals scored were the most ever by a Penn team against Rutgers in 17 total meetings, led by a career-high five fromIris Williamson.Nina Corcoranhad a career-high five assists, whileTory Bensentied her career high with six points on five goals and an assist.

Nina CorcoranNamed Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week on March 2
JuniorNina Corcoranregistered a career-high six points in Penn’s win over Vanderbilt, earning her first career Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week award. Corcoran tied her career high with four assists in the game.

Bensen Scores a Dandy Late to Vanquish Vandy
SeniorTory Bensenwas quiet for most of Penn’s game against Vanderbilt, but came through late with the tying goal to send the game to overtime and then netting the game-winner with 0:04 to play in OT as Penn edged the Commodores, 12-11.

Lucy FergusonandMeg MarkhamNamed to Tewaaraton WatchList
For the second season in a row, Penn had a pair of players named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List as goalkeeperLucy Fergusonand defenderMeg Markhamwere announced as 50 players to watch for college lacrosse's top honor.

Quakers Derail Delaware’s Hot Start
Penn ventured south to Delaware for its first game of 2015 last weekend, taking on a Blue Hens team which was 2-0 and had scored 39 goals in two games to start the season. The Quakers neutralized the Delaware attack, and put the first loss of the season on the Blue Hens, 9-7.

Tory BensenBrings The Offense to Blue Hens
Senior attackerTory Bensenpicked right up where she left off last season, tying her career high with six goals against Delaware.

Megan KellyNamed Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week Following Impressive Debut
Sophomore defenderMegan Kellymade her first career appearance a memorable one as she recorded three caused turnovers and three ground balls in the win at Delaware. After missing all of 2014 with injury, Kelly’s remarkable debut earned her Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week in the opening round of weekly awards.

Penn’s Starting Defense is “All-Ivy”
With Kelly earning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week last week, each of Penn’s four starting defenders as earned either Ivy Defensive Player of the Week or been named All-Ivy at some point during their careers.Meg Markham(Two-time All-Ivy, 2014 Ivy Defender of the Year, two-time Defender of the Week),Taylor Foussadier(Two-time All-Ivy),Lydia Miller(All-Ivy) and Kelly (All-Ivy) give Penn the League’s most recognized defense.

Bensen Cracks 100-Point Plateau
Tory Bensen’s first goal of the season gave her 100 career points, just the 21st player in program history to reach the 100-point plateau. Currently, she is 12th overall at Penn all-time with 117 points. She enters this week with 99 career goals -- eighth-most all-time by a Quaker-- and is just one away from becoming the eighth player in program history to join the “100 Goal Club.”

Markham Hits Century Mark "Daily Double"
Meg Markhamhas been causing havoc defensively for the Quakers the past three years, setting her up for a few career milestones this season. She recorded her 100th career ground ball against Vanderbilt and hit the centruy mark in draw controls against Rutgers.

Corcoran Climbs All-Time AssistRanks
Nina Corcoranbroke into the Top-10 all-time in assists against Rutgers, registering five helpers to move into ninth place all-time. She currently has 40 assists, one back of Julie Heller and Rachel Manson who are tied for seventh with 41.

Welcome Back...
The Red and Blue return 25 players from last year’s team, including 11 who started 12 or more games during the 2014 season.

Welcome Back (Part II) ...
Among the 25 returning players is a quartet of “Fifth-Year Seniors” who were injured at some point during their careers and earned a medical hardship.Tory Bensen,Shannon Mangini,Lydia MillerandLindsey Smithall will finish their careers this season for the Quakers. Among them, they have earned two All-Region awards and three All-Ivy awards while compiling 158 goals, 200 points, and 210 ground balls during their careers.

Defense Looks to Dominate Again
The Quakers return four players who appeared in 15 or more games on defense last season as the Red and Blue finished seventh in the country in scoring defense at 7.78 goals allowed-per-game. Reigning Ivy League Defender of the Year and first-team All-AmericanMeg Markhamleads the group, coming off a 2014 campaign where she led the Ivy League in caused turnovers with 43 and averaged 2.39 CTs per game which ranked fifth nationally. Joining Markham among the returners areLydia Miller,Taylor FoussadierandLeah McBride.

Ferguson Returns to the Cage
Senior goalkeeperLucy Fergusonis back between the pipes for the Quakers in 2015, coming off a second consecutive first-team All-Ivy season which saw her lead the Ancient Eight in GAA (7.70) and finish second in save percentage at .463. Those numbers ranked her seventh and 16th in the nation in those respective categories.

Pair of Tewaaraton Nominees Back for Penn
Lucy FergusonandMeg Markhamwere two of 25 nominees for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award – presented annually to college lacrosse’s top players – last season.

Wealth of Offense Returns
You’d be hard pressed to find a team in the country which returns as much of its scoring output from 2014 as the Quakers do this season. Last year, Penn scored 158 goals. The players returning to the lineup from last season add up to 155 of those goals – or a whopping 98.1 percent.

Another Chance at the Champs
With Penn’s game at Maryland on March 18, the Quakers will take on the defending national champions for the ninth consecutive season. Add in regular-season foe Princeton, and the Quakers have taken on the reigning champs in 11 of the last 12 seasons.

Atop the Ancient Eight
Penn is 54-3 in regular season Ivy League games dating back to the 2007 season. That equates to a .947 winning percentage in conference games. Outside of Princeton (6-2) and Dartmouth (7-1), the Quakers are a perfect 8-0 against every other Ivy team in regular season action since their title run began.

Penn is Climbing Ivy Title Charts
Penn is tied with Princeton for third-most Ivy League titles with ten overall. Harvard is first with 12, while Dartmouth is second with 11.

Quakers Proficient at “Hanging Ten”
The Quakers have won 10 games in a season in eight of the last nine seasons after going 23 years without a 10-win season.

All-Time in the Ivy League
This year marks the 36th year of Ivy League women’s lacrosse. The Red and Blue are 164-97-2 all-time in Ivy League contests.

Follow Along With the Red and Blue
You can keep up with the Quakers all season online via Twitter (@PennWomensLax) and Facebook (Facebook.com/PennWomensLacrosse) and on Instagram atPennWomensLax.