Penn Flips the Script on Towson in 7-4 Win
With 4:12 left in the first half, Penn's offense was stagnant. Towson's Samantha Brookhart had just scored, making it 4-0 in favor of the host Tigers.
Penn hadn't won a draw control and were being outshot 7-4 — a indicator that Towson had control throughout the half. Coach Karin Corbett said her team's trouble with Towson's zone defense contributed to the slow start.
"I felt that our attack was playing tentative and hesitant," Corbett said. "I said to our coaching staff 'If anyone was watching this, they'd think Penn didn't even know they were playing a zone.' I was like 'Now you guys have felt it out, how about we go and attack this zone?'"
The Quakers listened and became a different team. They began moving the ball more quickly, cutting more aggressively and grabbing more 50-50 balls.
Alex Condon scored before half, the first of seven consecutive goals that lifted No. 17 Penn to a 7-4, come-from-behind victory over No. 15 Towson on a snowy Saturday afternoon. It's the fifth straight win and third straight road victory for Corbett and her team, but it took some adjustments to get there.
"We needed to play with a little more grit than we played in the first half," Corbett said of her team. "I was really happy. We definitely won the ground balls and our attack started to move a little more, find the open kid and finish the shots."
Towson controlled possession throughout the first half — as evidence by the 5-1 draw control advantage. Breanna Hamm, Samantha Brookhart and Kaitlyn Montalbano all helped the Tigers keep the ball for much of the first half.
Towson's zone defense worked against the Penn offense early. Senior attacker Nina Corcoran, who led the team with 27 points coming into Saturday, was held to just one shot, while committing two turnovers in the half.
"We were losing the draw controls, so we didn't have the ball much on the attack," Corcoran said. "And then we when were on attack, we weren't really attacking. ... We needed to fight more to get ground balls and draw controls. That was our goal going into the second half."
It all changed in the second half. Penn won the draw control battle 4-3, outshot the Tigers 15-2 and forced 12 turnovers. That allowed the Quakers offense to keep the pressure on the Tigers and keep them on their heels.
As a result, Towson finished 3-for-9 on clear attempts in the second half. Coach Sonia LaMonica said the turnovers and failed clears added more responsibility for her defense.
"It's pretty deflating when you play a good round of defense, you get the ball, you throw it away and then come back in and then you get scored on," LaMonica said. "It wears on you defensively and unfortunately, our defense could only bail out our offense so many times."
The extra possessions gave Penn a chance to run its offense and tire Towson out on the defense front. The Quakers drew 26 penalties in the second half, compared to just nine in the first half.
Corcoran got going, as well, tallying three assists and adding what would be the final Penn goal with 1:37 remaining in the game. She got the assist on goals from Condon, Sarah Barcia and Catherine Dickson — who finished with two goals.
"Nina is just a tremendous player," Dickinson said. "We look to her all over the field. Just to have her feeds matching up with players and her driving everywhere just gives us all the confidence in the world."
The road doesn't get easier for Penn, which will host No. 1 Maryland on Wednesday. Towson will look to snap a two-game losing streak in its first conference game against Delaware on Saturday.
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