March 12, 2011

No. 4 Penn Staves Off Harvard for 30th Straight Ivy League Victory

from press release

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - No. 4 Penn entered Saturday's Ivy League opener at Harvard with a 29-game win streak inside the Ancient Eight, and it is safe to say that the effort the Quakers needed to extend that run to 30 was the most taxing of this five-plus year run.

The Red and Blue rallied from a 6-3 halftime deficit to take an 8-7 lead with 2:57 remaining , but needed a Bridget Waclawik goal with 17 seconds left to seal a 9-8 win. The victory improved Penn's 2011 record to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Ivy League. Harvard falls to 1-2 and 1-1 in the Ivies.

Waclawik's strike was her second of the game, capping a 6-2 run by the Red and Blue in the second half as Penn was able to find the goal at a more frequent clip while counting on Emily Leitner to make the big save in goal. Leitner finished with seven saves overall in the game, but five of those came in the second half including one free position save and three big saves on Crimson attempts while the game was tied 7-7.

The first half was all Harvard, as the home-standing Crimson scored six times on nine total shots. It was 3-0 in favor of Harvard after just 8:24 of play with two goals from Micaela Cyr and one from Jennifer VanderMeulen.

Alison Tatios finally got Penn on the board at the 10:41 mark with her first of the year on a free position shot, but again Harvard countered with two more goals to take a 5-1 lead.

After Waclawik scored her first of the game with 8:43 left in the half, Jess Halpern struck for the Crimson with 3:39 left to make the lead four late in the period.

That goal forced a Penn timeout and after Giulia Giordano forced a turnover by VanderMeulen with 2:32 to play, Erin Brennan picked up the ground ball and finished off the sequence with her fifth goal of the season just 13 seconds before the break.

In the second half, Caroline Bunting scored for Penn 4:42 into the period while Harvard's Lauren Tomkinson was serving a yellow card to cut the deficit momentarily to a pair of goals. Harvard, however, scored just under three minutes later on a free position score by Cyr to retake the three-goal lead.

That sequence seemed to light a fire under Penn as the Quakers scored four in a row to take their first lead of the afternoon at 8-7 with 2:57 to play.

Meredith Cain started the run with a goal with 20:55 to play. Off the ensuing draw, Harvard had a scoring chance, but Leitner stoned Jenn Leffew, and Maddie Poplawski scooped up the ground ball to send Penn in transition. 47 seconds later, Tory Bensen scored her fourth of the season and Penn was down by just one.
Cain scored again with 15:21 to play to tie the game as Penn again benefitted from a big Leitner save. This time, she denied Danielle Tetreault on a free position attempt and Lindsey Smith found the ground ball to transition Penn to the offensive run which produced Cain's goal on an assist from Brennan.

The next 13 minutes of play featured no goals, but eight turnovers, seven shots and five saves combined between the teams as both sides increased the pressure. The Quakers finally got the best of the helter-skelter play when Giulia Giordano caused a turnover by Leffew who then earned a yellow card when trying to regain possession with 4:00 to play. At the 2:57 mark, Cyr fouled Giordano and gave up a free position shot, which Giordano deposited in the back of the cage for Penn's first lead of the day.

That lead was short-lived as Jess Halpern tied the game with 1:56 to play on a free position of her own after a Penn foul close to goal.

Off the tying goal, Smith corralled the draw control for Penn and the Quakers worked the clock for a final shot. That attempt connected with 17 seconds left when Waclawik took a Bunting feed and beat Kerry Clark for her second of the day. Maddie Poplawski won the draw to herself and Penn held the ball for the win, extending the Ivy League winning streak to 30 games.

That streak is the second-longest in Ivy history, behind the 36-game run Harvard put together from 3/28/87-3/27/93.

Seven different players had goals for Penn in the win with Bunting and Brennan leading the way with a goal and two assists apiece. Poplawski had two draw controls and three ground balls while Smith had three ground balls, a draw control and a caused turnover. Cyr finished with three draw controls to go with her hat trick.

The Quakers are back on the road Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Rutgers in New Jersey.


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