SYRACUSE, N.Y. No. 2 Penn erased a five-goal deficit in the second half to come back and defeat No. 7 Syracuse, 10-8, in an entertaining women’s lacrosse showdown Sunday at the Carrier Dome.
Penn scored six unanswered goals to end the game. Freshman Ali DeLuca scored the gamewinner with 5:19 left, while sophomore Becca Edwards led Penn scorers with a hat trick, including the game-tying goal.
The battle of conference champions did not disappoint as Penn (14-1, 7-0 Ivy) scored six unanswered goals to end the game. Syracuse (12-5, 4-1 BIG EAST) had led by a 7-2 margin early in the second half.
The Quakers will now carry their program-record 11-game win streak into the NCAA tournament, potentially as one of the competition’s top seeds. Their opponent will be unveiled during the selection show Monday evening at 8 p.m., webcast live at www.ncaasports.com.
“It’s been a special year for us,” said Head Coach Karin Brower. “But I can’t say I wasn’t a little nervous when it was 7-2 Syracuse. In the first half we had 10 turnovers with only three caused by Syracuse, so we knew that had to change.”
Penn’s comeback was keyed by a pair of risky long clearances by goalkeeper Sarah Waxman, both of which resulted in goals by Edwards. Penn’s defense also did its part, holding Syracuse to 19 shots overall and just seven in the second half-- far below the Orange’s 36.4 shots per game average.
Penn had several early chances, pressing on offense and scoring first when DeLuca converted an unassisted runner 4:05 into the game. The Orange quickly responded with Bridget Looney’s tally, followed by Hally Quillinan’s goal to take a 2-1 lead.
The Quakers’ offense was sloppy in the half, squandering several opportunities with poor passing. An uncaused Quaker turnover led to a breakaway goal by Christina Dove, and then Quillinan capitalized on another turnover to make it 4-1. The Orange kept the run up with Kristen Brady’s goal off a free position feed with 10:18 remaining.
Penn got the final goal of the half thanks to Edwards, but the Orange picked up where they left off to start the second when Katie Rowan hit a pair of goals within a one-minute span to put Syracuse up 7-2.
Despite the hot start by Syracuse, the momentum quickly turned in Penn’s favor. Rachel Manson stopped the two-goal spurt with a goal from Muller 10 minutes into the half, and Allison Ambrozy added another goal on a free-position opportunity.
Rowan answered with her third goal on an odd-man breakaway play midway through the half to put Syracuse up 8-4, but Muller came right back off the draw to score an unassisted bouncer and begin Penn’s final scoring run. DeLuca set up Ambrozy to put the Quakers within two goals with 14:04 to go.
Waxman got into the action for Penn’s third-straight goal, heaving an ambitious 50-yard clearance that resulted in Manson setting up Edwards’ finish. The junior ’keeper did it again with a long clearance to Emma Spiro that resulted in Edwards’ game-tying goal with 6:51 to go.
DeLuca’s running shot with 5:19 left in the game put Penn in the lead, and Kocis added an insurance goal off Lehman’s feed three minutes later as the Quakers held on for their 11th-straight victory.
Penn will take part in the first round of the NCAA Tournament next Sunday, May 13 at a time to be determined.
Game Notes Penn finishes the regular-season with a program-record 14 wins ... Penn’s 188 goals also sets a regular-season record, surpassing the 2006 team’s mark of 167 goals set in 16 games ... Syracuse was the seventh ranked team Penn faced this year, with the Quakers going 6-1 against teams in the top 20 ... Junior Rachel Manson now has 98 career points after her one-goal, one-assist performance ... Penn head coach Karin Brower and Syracuse head coach Lisa Miller are both William & Mary graduates and Hall of Fame members. Miller is a 1987 graduate, while Brower graduated in 1992 ... Penn’s upcoming NCAA game will be its first since 1984 and its first postseason competition since losing to Johns Hopkins in the ECAC Championship in 2001 ... With 31 goals this season, DeLuca has tied the freshman record of 31 set by all-time leading scorer Sherry Marcantonio in 1980 ... Chrissy Muller’s 22 assists this season are a career high and the fourth-most in a season at Penn.