PHILADELPHIA – No. 11 Penn came up short in an Ivy League showdown with No. 13 Princeton at Franklin Field, failing to hold on to a halftime lead in a 9-7 loss to the Tigers.
It was the first time all season that the Quakers loss when leading after 30 minutes, dropping to 10-1 when up at the half. The loss was also Penn’s first at home this season, snapping a seven-game home winning streak which was the sixth-longest in the nation.
The first half was everything one would expect from a Penn-Princeton game. There were three lead changes and three ties in the opening period, Penn only holding a slight 5-4 edge at the break following an Emily Rogers-Healion goal with 12 seconds to play in the opening period.
The Quakers did not have a shot in the first 10:28 of play – but connected on the first offering as Tory Bensen sent in her 39th goal of the season to halt a 2-0 Princeton run to start the game. Penn’s defense had held nicely despite the early deficit, keeping the Tigers at bay for during long possessions before Princeton would ultimately find seams in the Quaker defensive unit for Erin Slifer and Abby Finkelstein goals.
Bensen’s goal sparked a three-goal Quaker rally, the trio of scores coming in 2:02 as DeSimone followed Bensen 48 seconds later and Nina Corcoran gave Penn its first lead of the game with 16:38 to play in the first half.
Almost seven minutes later, the Tigers tied the game with Slifer’s second of the night. Again it was a sustained possession which paid off for the Tigers, Slifer finishing an almost four-minute offensive set with a spinning shot from just inside the eight-meter arc. Almost three minutes after her goal, Slifer found a cutting Olivia Hompe to put Princeton back ahead, 4-3.
The Red and Blue had the final two goals of the half, Lindsey Smith answering Hompe’s goal 26 seconds later. She took a pass after a Princeton foul on the draw, and ran 35 yards to goal to knot the game at 4-4 with 6:22 remaining in the first half. With under two minutes to play in the half, Megan Kelly caused a turnover and picked up the ground ball to send Penn down for one last offensive look. Nina Corcoran created space for herself behind the goal, and found Rogers-Healion who put together a nice catch-and-shoot motion to send Penn to halftime up by one.
The second half started similar to the first, Princeton scoring twice in the first five minutes to retake the lead. Both goals were from Hompe, the second a free position. Lely DeSimone tied the game at 6-6 with 21:18 remaining, but that was the last time Penn would score for almost 15 minutes.
Erin McMunn scored with 18:11 to play, finishing a Stephanie Paloscio pass to give Princeton the lead for good. Just over six minutes later, Paloscio fluttered in a McMunn pass to give the Tigers a two-goal lead at 9-7. An Anya Gersoff goal with 7:37 7o play put the Tigers ahead, 9-6.
Tory Bensen gave Penn some life with her 40th goal of the season, scoring with 6:48 to play. The Quakers had to kill off a yellow card to Megan Kelly with 5:22 to play, and Meg Markham caused a turnover with 40 seconds remaining to provide Penn a chance to attempt a comeback. Bensen had a look with 20 seconds to play, but her shot was blocked and time ran out on the Quakers.
Penn drops to 4-1 inside the Ivy League with two Ancient Eight games to play. The Tigers are now in sole possession of first place at 5-0.
The Quakers are back in action at Franklin Field on Saturday, hosting Yale at 3 p.m.