Sports

Women’s lacrosse heads into conference play in tilt with No. 13 Penn

Hunt ’17, Toy ’16 headline Brown’s potent attack ahead of matchup with Quakers

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, March 6, 2015

The women’s lacrosse team will open Ivy League play this weekend in a faceoff against a perennially dominant Penn squad. The No. 13 Quakers have consistently outperformed their Ivy opponents, capturing eight consecutive conference titles. For a program that has not broken the top four conference rankings in recent memory, defeating the Quakers will be a tall order.

Penn has “been really strong in the past,” said Kerianne Hunt ’17. “So we expect them to come out really hard and for it to be a complete battle the whole time. But I think we’re capable of battling with them.”

When the two teams played last year, Penn (3-0) walked away with a 12-6 win, mostly due to the players’ ability to apply overwhelming offensive pressure. The only current Bears (3-0) who scored in that game are Hunt and Lauren Toy ’16, who each notched one goal apiece against the Quakers.

This year, Penn boasts an intimidating 15 returning letter-winners on its roster. Though the team has a lot of experience playing together, the high number of returning players means the Quakers will likely play a similar style, allowing the Bears study their opponent extensively.

“We’ve been watching a lot of film on Penn,” Hunt said. “They haven’t really changed up any of their systems.” The Bears have been using what they have learned in the film sessions to guide their practices, Hunt added.

“They’re a fast team, so we just want to slow them down and focus on some key threats,” said Alyssa DiBona ’15.

But Bruno will not alter its plan of attack too much. “We’re going to go with what we’ve been doing, just with more of a focus on some of their personnel,” DiBona said.

The Quakers have already garnered accolades early in the season, with two players honored as Ivy League Player of the Week. Midfielder Nina Corcoran was named Offensive Player of the Week after notching a career-high six points last Sunday, while Megan Kelly earned Defensive Player of the Week two weeks ago, when she caused three turnovers in a game.

The Quakers have already notched victories over Delaware, Vanderbilt and Rutgers this season. They are slated to face a series of nationally ranked teams in addition to their Ivy opponents, and they expect to rise to the challenge of heated competition.

“The caliber of play is going to be so much higher than it has been for our first three games,” Hunt said.

But the Bears are coming off of three decisive wins against nonconference opponents. Bruno has gained valuable experience and come out on top by relatively large margins. Even early in the season, the depth of the team is evident. Twelve different players have contributed to Bruno’s 38-goal total.

Penn relies “more on the individual, while we have really been stressing how important every person is to our team,” Hunt said.

Offensively, Toy and Janie Gion ’15 have been clear standouts for Bruno with eight and six goals, respectively. Rookie Yuna Hur ’18 has already scored seven goals this season, setting a precedent for younger players to make significant contributions to Bruno’s offense.

“We have a lot of energy, a lot of depth,” DiBona said. “We have a ton of threats on offense, which is huge.”

On the other side of the field, Kelly Roddy’s ’15 save percentage ranks her second among Ancient Eight goalies. Roddy will anchor a defense that will need to play its best to fend off Penn’s highly skilled attack.

The Bears will have a few days to rest before taking on Holy Cross (0-5) Tuesday. Bruno bested the Crusaders 9-6 last year. Though the Bears will approach the game with the same mentality as in their league contests, nonconference foes like Holy Cross pose less of a challenge than teams like Penn.

This year’s slate of Ivy games is more or less a flip of last year’s schedule. The Bears scorched through the front half of their season last year before losing five consecutive conference contests to drop out of the running for the Ivy Tournament. A win this weekend would put some wind in Bruno’s sails and set the team on course for a top-four finish.