Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/16/09
If the Penn women’s lacrosse team wants to return for its third consecutive NCAA final four appearance, it will have to beat Duke today in the rematch of the 2008 NCAA semifinal game.
The teams will meet at Drexel’s Vidas Field at 1 p.m. in the NCAA women’s lacrosse quarterfinal.
Rewind to a year ago when Duke (15-5) and Penn (15-3) met in Towson, Md. for the NCAA semifinal. Though not technically the underdogs, the Quakers had plenty to prove and battled back from a three-goal deficit before heading into overtime where Giulia Giordano connected with Rachel Manson for the game-winner.
Needless to say, the Blue Devils will be looking not for a win to advance, but to get a little payback for last year’s heartbreaker. The hits keep coming for the Devils though who lost Carolyn Davis to injury last week. Davis punished Penn in last season’s meeting scoring five goals.
Not to worry, Duke will bring plenty of other firepower to Vidas Field, namely Caroline Cryer and Lindsay Gilbride who have 44 and 55 goals, respectively. Cryer leads the team with 78 points and Gilbride comes in close behind with 71. All told, the Blue Devils boast five players with 20+ goals and six with 30+ points.
On defense, Kim Imbesi was named the womenslacrosse.com defensive player of the week for her game against Virginia. She holds a 9.67 goals-against average, and .464 save percentage. Sarah Bullard and Emma Hamm (Baldwin School) have also helped the Duke defense by contributing a team leading 20 and 22 caused turnovers this season.
Hamm had a strong game last week for Duke in a 15-13 overtime win over Virginia by collecting two goals, an assist and seven draw controls.
Matching up against Duke, the 2009 edition of Penn women’s lacrosse will look for a repeat of last season, maybe with no overtime drama this time.
At Penn defense is the name of the game with veterans Hilary Renna, Katie Mazer and Kaileigh Wright holding the back line and junior Emily Szelest as the last line with her nation-leading 5.53 goals-against average. Helping out are defensive-minded midfielders like Emma Spiro, captain Kaitlyn Lombardo and Ali DeLuca. Spiro leads the team in ground balls and draw controls, while DeLuca not only leads the team scoring but also has caused a team-best 17 turnovers.
Also ranking in the top five of Penn’s scoring, attackers Courtney Lubbe (Council Rock North), Becca Edwards (Springfield-Montco) and Ivy League Rookie of the Year Erin Brennan. Lubbe has had a breakout season and has already cracked Penn’s top 10 list for assists in a single season (16). Also moving up the charts are DeLuca (career points, goals and assists) and Becca Edwards who is just five points away from the century mark.