April 3, 2013

Ten Goal Second Half Sparks Penn

from press release

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – What at first glance appeared to potentially be an uneasy night in the Lehigh Valley quickly turned into a convincing win for Penn as the Quakers used a 10-goal second half to blow past Lehigh, 13-4, on Wednesday.

Before the game was more than five minutes old, the Quakers were trailing by two goals, 2-0. From there, the Quakers scored 13 of the game's final 15 goals to cruise to their fifth win in six games.

Meredith Cain tied her career highs in both goals (four) and points (five) to lead the Quakers. She was joined atop the goal-scoring list by Tory Bensen who also netted four – a new career high for the junior. Maddie Poplawski scored one goal, but was dominant on the draw with a season-high six draw controls to help Penn win that battle on the circle, 10-9.

In a game where just four goals were given up, the defense was undoubtedly a start. The Quakers held Lehigh without a goal on five free position attempts – including an 0-for-4 night for Julie McBrien who entered the season with a 10-for-16 record on eight meter shots. Lely DeSimone was all over the field, with four caused turnovers and two ground balls. As a team, Penn caused 14 of Lehigh's 17 turnovers with Shannon Mangini, Allie Martin, Iris Williamson and Courtney Tomchik each adding two.

The Quakers fell behind early, conceding the first two goals of the game just five minutes into the contest. Lehigh got on the board quickly, forcing a Penn turnover off the opening draw and connecting on a Chelsea Retaleato goal 1:07 into the game. Three minutes later, the Quakers again coughed up the ball, this time on a clear which led to a Nicole Isdaner goal at the 5:03 mark.

The Red and Blue won the ensuing draw, making that win count when Courtney Tomchik scored just over one minute after Lehigh's second goal. That strike from Tomchik started a 3-0 Penn run to finish the opening half – a run which was slow to develop.

After Tomchik's goal, it took Penn the better part of 15 minutes to tie the game via a Tory Bensen goal. Over that span, the Mountain Hawks mustered five shots – three denied via big saves from goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson. Two of the denials were on free positions – 42 seconds apart from Lehigh sniper Julie McBrien.

Maddie Poplawski would give the Quakers the lead with 6:50 to play in the first period, scoring Penn's third unassisted goal of the half. Allie Martin started the opportunity with a caused turnover, which was picked up by Catherine Dickinson and brought down field. A Tomchik shot was just high, but off the second chance, Poplawski connected.

After not registering a goal in the first half, Meredith Cain scorer her first 6:29 into the second half to give Penn a 4-2 lead. Just 1:40 later, Bensen scored her second to make it five unanswered goals for the Quakers after the early Lehigh lead.

With 19:49 to play, Lehigh attempted to regain some momentum with a goal from McBrien, but all that goals served to do was once again ignite the Penn attack. Just shy of a minute after McBrien scored, Cain tallied her second of the game to push Penn's lead back to three goals. That score incited an eight-goal Penn run to close the door on the Mountain Hawks.

The four goals allowed are the fewest conceded by a Penn team since allowing just two against Yale on March 19, 2011. After scoring just 18 goals in their first three games of the season, the Quakers have reached double figures in their last six games – averaging 12.5 over the last half dozen games.

The Quakers are back in action on Saturday in New York City against Columbia in an Ivy League battle at 1 p.m.

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