PHILADELPHIA – Before Sunday’s game, the University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team honored its 10 seniors. By the time the game had ended, that group had once again made its mark. Tory Bensen’s third goal of the game with 2:46 to play broke a 9-9 tie and sent the Quakers to a 10-9 win over Cornell.
The Class of 2015 was no doubt the focal point of Sunday’s final game of the regular season. Each member started the game – including Grace Newfrock who stepped onto the field for game action for the first time in her career after having it cut short before it ever got started with three knee injuries.
Seniors scored Penn’s last three goals of the game, two from Bensen and one from Lindsey Smith.
Defensively, the senior-laden unit came up big when needed. Of Penn’s 11 caused turnovers, seven came from a member of the Class of 2015. Meg Markham had three caused turnovers, combining with Taylor Foussadier for one final caused turnover with 1:26 to play which was followed by a ground ball by fellow senior Lindsey Smith which allowed Penn to run out the clock. The backbone of the group, Lucy Ferguson, had eight saves in the game, including a monumental stop with 1:36 to play when she caught a piece of a Catherine Ellis shot which then hit the pipe.
The Quakers needed to rally in the game after Cornell came out flying. The Big Red scored just nine seconds into the game, Kristy Gilbert taking an Amie Dickson pass and giving Cornell an early lead.
Cornell’s lead was 3-1 before Catherine Dickinson scored the first of her four goals in the game with just under 10 minutes played in the game. That goal settled the Red and Blue down and ignited a four-goal Quaker run which put Penn in front, 5-3, with 12:38 to play in the first half. Dickinson had two goals in that run, including a goal off an Iris Williamson assist which gave the Quakers their first lead of the game with 18:27 to play in the opening period. The Red and Blue would not trail the rest of the way.
Despite never trailing, Penn was unable to cruise to the end of the regular season. Cornell turned Penn’s three-goal lead into a 6-6 tie with two quick goals before the end of the first half and then a Dickson goal 9:23 into the second half.
Dickinson regained the lead for Penn with 18:07 to play, finishing a Nina Corcoran pass after Tory Bensen forced a turnover just outside Penn’s restraining line with a solid backchecking effort. Less than a minute after Dickinson scored, Bensen would connect to give Penn a two-goal lead, the goal again coming off a Corcoran pass.
A flurry of goals midway through the second half – including two from Cornell’s Dickson – saw Penn enter then final 10 minutes of the game ahead by just one. The lead was lost briefly when Sarah Hefner finished a Dickson pass with 6:10 to play, knotting the game at 9-9.
Bensen would again deliver for the Quakers, scoring out of a timeout on a patented Bensen spin move following a drive from behind the net. She scored with 2:46 to play, finishing a Penn attacking sequence started with a caused turnover by Markham and a ground ball by Brooke Kiley.
The Big Red would win the ensuing draw control, but the final save from Ferguson and defensive stop from Markham and Foussadier allowed Penn to cap the Class of 2015’s home careers with one more win and rendition of “The Red and Blue” in front of the home fans.
Penn will move on to the postseason, playing in its sixth consecutive Ivy League Tournament starting on May 1 at Princeton. The Quakers will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament, and will play No. 3 seed Cornell at 4 p.m. Penn is the only Ivy program to have qualified for all six Ivy League Tournaments. The defending champions, Penn has won three Ivy League Tournament titles (2010, 2013, 2014). Every game of the Ivy League Tournament will be broadcast on the American Sports Network and simulcast online via the Ivy League Digital Network.
Notes: Tory Bensen moved into a tie for sixth place all-time at Penn with 149 career points … Her 129 career goals are tied for second-most all-time by a Quaker … Her 46 goals this season are a new career high and are third-most in a single season by a Penn player … Her 50 points this season are tied for 10th-most in a single season … Nina Corcoran is now tied for 16th all-time in career points by a Quakers with 104 … Her 58 career assists are sixth all-time at Penn … Corcoran’s 29 assists this season are second-most in a single season … Her 46 points are 15th on Penn’s single-season scoring chart ... Penn's Class of 2015 featured six players who completed four-year careers and four (Tory Bensen, Shannon Mangini, Lydia Miller, and Lindsey Smith) who received a medical waiver for a fifth year ... Penn's four fifth-years finished their home Ivy League careers with a 16-2 (.889) record ... The six four-year players were 13-1 (.929) in home Ivy League games.