NEW HAVEN – A blossoming connection propelled No. 17 Penn to its fifth consecutive win and a chance to secure the program’s ninth Ivy League championship in the past 10 years as the Quakers edged Yale, 9-8.
Three of Alex Condon’s four goals were assisted by the nation’s premier playmaker Nina Corcoran – part of a five-assist afternoon for the school record holder in helpers – as the Quakers staved off a pair of Bulldog rallies in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Penn improves to 11-3 overall, and 5-1 inside the Ivy League. The Quakers remain in a three-way tie for first place in the Ancient Eight, joined by Princeton and Cornell at 5-1. The Quakers will make the trip to Ithaca next Saturday to take on the Big Red, the winner of that game ensuring at least a share of the Ivy crown.
A Penn win next weekend will bring the Ivy League Tournament back to Franklin Field for the fifth time – and first since 2013. The Red and Blue have locked up their seventh trip to the Ivy Tournament – the only school to appear in all seven installments.
A 5-0 Penn run over the game’s first 7:02 had the Quakers rolling and seemingly en route to putting the game out of reach. The Quakers scored on five of their first six shots, with Condon scoring twice and, Corcoran adding two assists, and Emily Rogers-Healion adding a goal and an assist as Penn put the Bulldogs on the ropes.
Yale would bounce back, though, holding Penn off the scoreboard for the next 24:17 to climb back into the game. Overall, Yale scored six of the next seven goals to tie the game, 6-6, with 16:17 to play. Katie Smith had three of those goals for Yale – giving her just five for the year.
After the Bulldogs knotted the game at a half-dozen goals apiece, the Quakers responded with three of their own to provide enough separation for the victory. Condon broke the tie with her fourth of the game –assisted as expected by Corcoran – with 10:36 to play. Just 1:12 later, Catherine Dickinson called her own number following a Penn missed shot, taking the restart and ducking from behind goal to give Penn a two-goal lead. Sarah Barcia netted the eventual game-winner with 7:40 to play, quick-sticking home a Corcoran pass.
Madeline Gramigna scored a free position with 6:53 to go, bringing Yale again within two. After a Penn turnover with under 5:00 to play, Yale needed over three minutes to net another goal – Emily Granger scoring with 0:46 to play.
Ahead by one, Penn looked to secure the ensuing draw, but did not. Fortunately, the Quakers forced a Yale turnover out of the scrum and were able to run out the clock for the win.
The Quakers were efficient on attack, scoring nine goals on 16 shots – going 9-for-11 on shots on goal. Britt Brown made seven saves for the Quakers in goal, including six in the first half.
Nina Corcoran, who entered the game as the nation’s leader in assists, added to her lead with her five helpers – the eighth time this season she has dished out at least four and fourth time she has assisted on five or more goals. It was the second consecutive game in which she picked up five assists – part of a 12-point week for the Tewaaraton candidate.
She now has 48 assists this season – adding to her own school record for assists in a season and closing in on the Ivy League mark. She is third in a season by Ivy League players, one away from tying for second and four away from breaking the record which has stood since 1986.
Corcoran has 117 career assists – third-most in a career by an Ivy League player and eight away from setting a new Ivy League record.
Alex Condon now has scored 17 goals over her last five games, and has scored at least three in six of her last seven. She added three draw controls for the Quakers.
Penn and Cornell meet at 1 p.m. on April 30.