Sports

Women’s lacrosse stages comeback, falls short against Penn

Bears fall behind in first half, unable to make up difference despite strong second-half performance

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 9, 2015

No one expected the women’s lacrosse team to have an easy game against No. 13 Penn, the defending league champion, which boasts an explosive and intimidating offense.

The Quakers (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) downed the Bears (3-1, 0-1) by a six-goal margin last year, and after the first half of Saturday’s Ivy opener, it looked like history would repeat itself when Penn led 6-1. But an impressive second half surge brought the Bears within two goals of the Quakers for a close 9-7 loss.

During its second-half comeback, Bruno outscored its opponent 6-3. Three of those second-half goals came from first-years Yuna Hur ’18 and Marissa Hudgins ’18, and first-years contributed four of Bruno’s seven goals on the afternoon.

“Everyone has to be contributing and stepping up,” said Bri Irons ’18. “It’s really exciting, especially being an underclassman.”

Hur was the only Bear to score in the first half. She collected a rebound off of a free position shot by Abby Bunting ’15 and fired the ball into the back of the net just 38 seconds into the game. But Bruno would not find the back of the net again for the rest of the half.

Instead, Penn scored six times to take a decisive lead. Quakers Nina Corcoran and Tory Bensen showcased their speed and power to combine for four of the six goals in the first half.

In the first half, the Quakers outshot Bruno by four, though Kelly Roddy ’15 recorded five saves. Roddy has 31 saves on the season, which ranks second in the Ivy League. The Bears also committed three more turnovers than Penn but dominated in the draw control, outpacing Penn by four.

“We got really nervous first off,” Irons said. “Penn obviously has really strong defenders, and we just rushed and watched each other drive.”

Entering the second half, the Bears would not let the disappointing score spell defeat. It took Hudgins two minutes to add a point to Bruno’s total, narrowing Penn’s margin to four. Richael Walsh ’16 quickly followed with another goal to inch the Bears to within three of the Quakers.

Penn responded by scoring two goals of its own to widen the margin back to five. But for the latter part of the second half, the Bears played like the better team, outscoring the Quakers 4-1.

“We were trusting our systems more” during the second half, Irons said. “Our transition just picked up so much. We had so much more confidence running the ball down the field.”

Once Hur scored again to narrow the margin to 8-4, the momentum shifted toward the rallying Brown squad. Janie Gion ’15 followed Hur to capitalize off of a free position shot for her first of two goals on the day.

Bensen countered with another Penn goal to extend the Quakers’ lead back to four. But Hudgins and Gion each added a goal apiece before the end of play to come within two goals of their opponents.

For the Bears, the game was bittersweet. They battled one of their toughest opponents and came tantalizingly close to a win.

“It was a heartbreaker,” Irons said. “But I think it lit a fire for us going into the rest of our Ivy games.”

The team that played in the second half was a different squad than the one from the first half, performing like serious Ivy contenders as opposed to the cellar dwellers they have been in the past.

In the second half, Bruno once again dominated the draw control, outpacing Penn by eight draws overall. The Bears recorded seven more fouls and cleared the ball about 20 percent less of the time than the Quakers in the entire match. Brown won more ground balls, and the two teams were well-matched in shots taken, as the Bears outshot Penn 14-11 in the second half.

“First-half momentum was not with us,” Irons said. “At halftime, we reset. We came out unbelievably hard. If we come out that hard from the beginning to the end for the rest of our games … I am so excited to see the team that we can be.”

The Bears will face off in a nonconference tilt Tuesday against Holy Cross and will battle Yale Saturday for their second Ivy game of the season.