April 29, 2011

Don't Forget Penn: Quakers Upset No. 4 Duke

from press release

PHILADELPHIA - It took 22:41 of playing time and nearly a dozen goals before either team could take control of Friday night's game between No. 10 Penn and No. 4 Duke, but with Lindsey Smith's second goal of the game, Penn took a 7-5 lead and never looked back for a 13-10 win at Drexel's Vidas Field.

Every player needs a breakout game, one where their presence is felt all over the field and for sophomore Meredith Cain, her output against the Blue Devils may be just that performance. Cain finished with three goals and an assist for her second career hat trick and second career four-point game. Perhaps just as important was her determined effort in the midfield portion of the game where Cain caused a game-high five draw controls.

Senior Giulia Giordano made her final regular season game one that showed her growth as a player over her four seasons. While she recorded just one assist, Giordano was never truly called upon to contribute on the attack, instead being a key component to a feisty Penn defense. Giordano caused four of Duke's 15 turnovers, adding four ground balls to her night.

The offense was balanced for Penn, with Bridget Waclawik and Caroline Bunting joining Cain with three goals in the game. Freshman Lindsey Smith added two goals while Tory Bensen and Maddie Poplawski each had a goal. Erin Brennan was a great source of help in the game with three assists.

In goal, Emily Leitner recorded six saves, with five coming in the final 30 minutes. Two of her saves were in the final eight minutes of the game and she added a caused turnover/ground ball move with six minutes left to ice any chance of a Duke comeback.

The two teams traded the first 11 goals of the game with Penn striking first on a Waclawik unassisted goal 1:38 into the game. Emma Hamm countered 3:07 into the game with a free position score, one of five during the 11-goal run where neither team seemed inclined to take control. For Hamm, her goal was one of four on the night, giving her 45 this season.

After Hamm's third goal tied the game at 5-5, Cain scored her first of the contest just 40 seconds later to give Penn another one-goal lead. Smith then struck for her second of the game off a Waclawik pass to give Penn the first two-goal advantage for any club with 5:32 left in the first half.

That mini-offensive explosion would actually play out into a larger sustained run for Penn as the Red and Blue scored eight goals to Duke's three over a span of 17:35 to take a 12-7 lead.

Waclawik was vital to the extension of the lead, scoring twice in a span of 49 seconds early in the second half. Both goals were unassisted and on the run, finishing off a three-goal spurt by the Quakers to begin the second half and to turn a 9-7 halftime lead into an insurmountable 12-7 lead.

The Quakers, who finish the regular season with an 11-4 record, went 6-1 in the Ivy League and finished as co-champions with Dartmouth. The title is the fifth in a row for the Red and Blue, and Penn's win over the Big Green in the regular season will allow the Quakers to defend their 2010 Ivy League Tournament crown on home turf. The semifinals are on May 6 with top-seeded Penn hosting Princeton at 7 p.m. following a 4 p.m. tilt between Dartmouth and Harvard. The championship game is May 8 between the two semifinal winners at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on CBS Sports.


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