Women's Lacrosse Readies for NCAA First Round

PHILADELPHIA--After wowing the lacrosse world with 2007’s run to the Final Four, Penn returned in 2008 to prove the nay-sayers wrong. The Quakers swept the Ivies for the second straight year for another Ivy title and then exacted revenge on No. 1 Northwestern, shutting them out in the second half. Now in the “second season” Penn will focus on the Patriot League champ, Colgate.

Some notes on the game...

The Quakers drew the second overall seed in the tournament, despite ranking No. 1 in both national polls. It is the highest seeding Penn has ever received. The 2007 team was slotted at four. Old Hat
Last year’s NCAA tournament appearance was new for every member of the team. In fact, not one of the players was even alive the last time Penn had played a postseason game (1984). This season, six freshmen will get their first taste while 22 returning players have three games experience and a bit of unfinished business to bring to the table. All-Ivy Accolades
Three weeks after hoisting the Ivy League trophy, six Quakers were recognized with All-Ivy honors. Seniors Tarah Kirnan, Melissa Lehman, Rachel Manson and Sarah Waxman as well as sophomore Ali DeLuca were first team selections. Junior Hilary Renna garnered second team honors. Not Since 1986 ...
Not since 1986 had a Penn women’s lacrosse player won the Ivy League Player of the Year honor. To be clear, Wendy DiDomenico’s 1986 honor was the only Penn POY on the books until Waxman was named the 2008 recipient. Waxman’s stifling 5.38 goals against average in league play, her two second-half shutouts against Yale and Columbia as well as providing the backbone for the nation’s best defense earned her the honor. No Place Like Home?
Since 2006, the Quakers are 20-3 at Franklin Field. The team’s only losses came to two top-three opponents—No. 1 Northwestern (3/7/06 and 5/25/07) and No. 3 Johns Hopkins (3/29/06). Penn is a perfect 7-0 on its home turf this season. Familiar Faces
Penn has played four of this year’s 16 teams in the NCAA tournament—North Carolina, Princeton, Northwestern, Temple—and beat them all. In fact, Penn is the only team in the field not to have lost to any team in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Familiar Faces - Take Two
Though the Quakers and Raiders haven’t matched-up since 1978, former Penn laxer and current Colgate assistant coach, Karrie Moore C’06 has some experience at Franklin Field. Streaking
Penn has won 12 in a row; a win against Colgate would tie the program’s longest win streak. Colgate has won its last four outings. Making History
Senior Manson’s name already resides in several places in Penn’s record books. Last season she tied the fifth-best record for goals in a season (36) and was in the top-10 for career goals and points. This season she became on of just five women to score 100 goals at Penn and has the potential to finish her career second in career goals, third in career points and fourth in career assists. Looking Ahead ...
Not to count chickens before they are hatched, or games before they are won, but the road to the national championship looks eeriely familiar. If Penn wins and the other higher-seeded teams all win, Penn would face BU, then Maryland and finally Northwestern. Take Colgate out and that is Penn’s 2007 postseason lineup. Only this season, if Penn meets Northwestern, it will be with the title on the line. If you take away a 10-8 loss at Stanford on March 9, the only other team to beat Penn in its last 35 games is three-time defending national champion Northwestern (once during the 2007 regular season, and then in a 2007 NCAA Championship semifinal). Among Penn’s victims during that run? National powers like Syracuse, Maryland, North Carolina, Princeton and finally, Northwestern. Penn’s 30-3 overall record the last two seasons is second-best in the nation at the Division I level, behind only Northwestern (38-2). Third place on that list is Maryland at 33-6, followed by Virginia at 33-7 and Boston University at 30-8. Talk about making history! When Penn beat Princeton at the Tiger’s Class of 1952 Stadium, the Quakers joined Dartmouth as the only two Ivy League women’s lacrosse teams to win there. Making History - Part Two: That win over Princeton was the first for Penn since 1986. Making History - Part Three: Now, the series isn’t as long-standing, but before this year’s meeting, Penn was 0-4 against Northwestern. To be fair, everyone that met the Wildcats in the 36 games prior left dejected. But Penn halted that streak and also halted NU’s insatiable attack, shutting them out in the second half. Although Penn has won 12 straight games, high-scoring domination has not necessarily been the M.O. The Quakers boast the second-best winning percentage at 14-1 but are ninth in scoring margin (+4.40). Penn suffered key losses during the season, losing Becca Edwards to an ACL. Edwards was an honorable mention All-Ivy performer a year ago. Balancing Act - A quick look at the NCAA statistics yields no Penn players in the top 10 of any offensive category, but the Quakers have nine different players who have reached double figures in points and seven who have double-digit goals. Manson scored her 100th career goal at Dartmouth earlier this season, becoming just the fifth player in Penn history to accomplish the feat and the first since Brenda Shaw in 1992. It took Manson 60 games to reach the century mark. Lehman is the only Penn player to have a point in every game this season; in fact, she had at least two points in every game except Dartmouth and Princeton. Both Manson and freshman Giulia Giordano have scored a point in each of Penn’s last six games. Sophomore Ali DeLuca—last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year—is third on the team with 19 goals, while classmate Emma Spiro has 12 goals. DeLuca had scored a point in every game this season before being shut out against Dartmouth and Northwestern. DeLuca also leads Penn with 36 draw controls, more than double any of her teammates (Spiro is second with 16). DeLuca also lead the team in caused turnovers with 21. Spiro has DeLuca, and the rest of the team beat in ground balls with 30. Freshman Giulia Giordano has scored a goal in 11 of Penn’s last 12 games. Senior Tarah Kirnan leads all defenders with 18 caused turnovers and 24 ground balls.