Women's Lacrosse Opens 2014 NCAA Tourney Friday

Follow @PennWomensLax

Bracket | Live Stats | Live Video

PHILADELPHIA – It was has become an annual rite of spring, Penn is set to compete in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament as the Quakers open their eighth consecutive NCAA run with a First Round game against Canisius. First draw is set for 4 p.m. at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at the University of Maryland on May 9. A Penn win sets up a showdown with the No. 1 seeded Terrapins on Sunday at noon.

Penn (12-4, 6-1 Ivy) will be playing its first-ever game against Canisius (12-6, 6-2 MAAC) when the two teams take the field on Friday. The Quakers are 1-0 all-time against MAAC teams in the NCAA Tournament, having defeated Fairfield, 10-8, in the 2009 First Round.

How the Quakers Got Here
Penn has earned its sixth automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the last eight years, 2011 and 2012 the only two times Penn has needed an at-large bid to reach NCAAs. The Quakers earned the automatic bid with a 9-6 win over Princeton in the championship game of the Ivy League Tournament in Princeton on May 4. The Quakers are 5-2 in NCAA Tournament First Round games when entering the NCAAs via an automatic bid.

How the Golden Griffins Got Here
For the fourth consecutive season, Canisius procured the MAAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a title at the MAAC Tournament. The Golden Griffins are 0-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Penn All-Time in the NCAA Tournament
The Quakers are 9-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament over nine all-time appearances. Only 13 programs in the country have more NCAA Tournament wins than the Quakers. Penn’s all-time winning percentage (.500) is 10th-best of any NCAA program. Penn’s first NCAA Tournament appearance came in 1983 where the Quakers advanced to the second round. Penn’s most recent appearance was 2013, a 12-6 loss to Virginia. Head coach Karin Corbett is 8-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Canisius All-Time in the NCAA Tournament
For three years in a row, Canisius has been knocked off in a First Round game in the NCAA Tournament, the last two losses each by just one goal. Last year, the Golden Griffins were edged by No. 7 seed Penn State, 14-13, and in 2012 Canisius was beaten by Massachusetts , 13-12.

Streaking Into the National Tournament
The Quakers have won five games in a row to enter the NCAA Tournament, the most consecutive games won heading into a national tournament since the 2010 team also had a five-game win streak. The 2008 team had a 12-game winning streak heading into NCAAs, a run which reached 15 before a loss in the national title game. In 2007, the Quakers were on an 11-game winning streak when the NCAA Tournament began – a run which reached 13 before a loss in the national semifinals.

A New Era For Penn’s Attack
While Penn’s roster at first glance may appear to be a veteran-laden group, it is not necessarily the case when it comes to the attack and NCAA games. The leading scorer among active Penn players in the NCAA Tournament is Nina Corcoran (four points) who had two goals and an assist last year against Virginia as a freshman. That number ranks just 15th all-time by a Penn player in NCAA Tournament games. All total, only four players on Penn’s current roster have scored a goal in the NCAA Tournament. Lindsey Smith, Tory Bensen and Courtney Tomchik are the other players to find the back of the net, each doing so once. In fact, they are the only players on Penn’s roster to have a point in NCAA Tournament action.

Unity in Defensive Unit
On the defensive side of the ball, Penn does return plenty of experience as all seven defensive players and goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson have at least one NCAA Tournament start under their belts. Ivy League Defender of the Year Meg Markham has two NCAA starts to her credit, and enters the weekend with five draw controls, five ground balls and four caused turnovers in NCAA play. Second-team All-Ivy selection Taylor Foussadier has four ground balls in her two NCAA appearances. Lydia Miller has missed the last two NCAA games for the Quakers with injury, but had two caused turnovers and three ground balls in her one NCAA game in 2011.

Quakers Always Building For the Future
Of Penn’s 32 players on its 2014 roster, only five are set to graduate next weekend. Four members of the senior class – Tory Bensen, Shannon Mangini, Lydia Miller and Lindsey Smith – have a medical redshirt year which they have elected to use in 2015. It is expected that of the 16 players to see action in 10 or more games this season, a total of 14 will return – including 11 of 12 starters.

Penn Leads Ancient Eight With Seven All-Ivy Selections
The Quakers picked up seven All-Ivy selections in the Ivy League’s end of the year voting, most of the eight schools. Meg Markham was named Ivy League Defender of the Year and unanimous first-team All-Ivy, joined on the first team by Nina Corcoran and Lucy Ferguson. Second-team All-Ivy selections for the Quakers were Tory Bensen, Taylor Foussadier and Lindsey Smith. Lely DeSimone was named honorable mention All-Ivy to round out the group.

Pair of Tewaaraton Award Nominees Leads Defense.
On April 25, the Tewaaraton Award Foundation announced the 25 nominees for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award as college lacrosse’s top player. Penn had two of its players on that list in Meg Markham and Lucy Ferguson. Markham, the Ivy League leader in caused turnovers with 38, is eighth nationally in caused turnovers-per-game at 2.38.) She is also second in the Ivy League in ground balls (41) while leading the Quakers in draw controls (39.) Ferguson is the Ivy leader in GAA (7.56) which ranks sixth in the country. Her save percentage (.462) is second-best in the Ivy League and 14th in the nation.

Penn’s Team Defense Eighth in the Nation
Penn’s staunch defense ranks No. 8 in the nation, allowing 7.69 goals-per-game in 2014. Over 16 games this season, Penn has allowed 10 or more goals just three times. No team has reached double figures on the Quakers since Vanderbilt scored 10 on March 23 – a span of nine games. Penn has allowed seven or fewer goals in 50% of its games this season.

Can Canisius Crack Penn’s Defense?
If any team is suited to find that 10+ goal mark, it might be the Golden Griffins. Canisius leads the MAAC and ranks 13th in the country in scoring offense, averaging 13.67 goals-per-game. The Golden Griffins have scored 10 or more goals in 13 of 18 games this season, and are 12-1 when doing so. Canisius can pour it on, with 18+ goals scored in seven games this season – including two with 20+.

Golden Griffins Go Fast-Paced
Canisius has no problem letting the scoreboard operators get a workout. In addition to scoring 10+ goals in 13 or more games and 18+ in a total of seven games, the Golden Griffins have allowed 10+ goals in 14 of 18 contests. In eight of Canisius’ games this season, both teams have reached 10+ goals compared to just one for Penn.

Kotas The Go-To for Canisius
Senior Maria Kotas does it all for the Golden Griffins, leading the team in goals (54), assists (25), points (79), ground balls (64), draw controls (76) and caused turnovers (51). She is second in the country in caused turnover-per-game (2.83) and fourth in GBs-per-game (3.61) while also ranking 11th in points-per-game and 12th in goals-per-game. She was named Most Valuable Player at the MAAC Tournament for the second year in a row last week. She is five points away from becoming Canisius’ all-time leading scorer.

Quinn Wins Offensive Honors
Despite her astronomical offensive numbers, Kotas wasn’t named MAAC Offensive Player of the Year – she was Midfielder of the Year. The conference’s top offensive honor went to teammate Tori Quinn. She had 47 goals and 23 assists this season, ranking second on the team in both categories. She has 114 goals and 60 assists for 174 points over her career.

First Half All-Important
Both teams are undefeated this season when leading at the half. Penn is 7-0when ahead at the break, Canisius is 11-0. Penn has a slight edge if facing a halftime deficit, with a 2-3 record in 2014 when trailing at the half. Canisius has yet to win a game when down after 30 minutes, going 0-6 in such situations this season.

Download: 2014 Notes.pdf