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Penn women look to advance to NCAA Final Four again – this time on the road

Saturday, 22nd May 2010

Categories College, Girl's/Women's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/21/10
From Press Releases

With the recent success of the Penn women’s lacrosse team – four Ivy League championships and three Final Four appearances – it is not often a new challenge comes across Penn’s radar.

However, this weekend, the Quakers will attempt to do something they haven’t done during their three previous runs to the national semifinals – win a quarterfinal game on the road. The Red and Blue head to College Park, Md. today to take on national No. 1 seed Maryland at noon at Ludwig Field.

The new challenge hasn’t arose because the Quakers have had difficulty winning on the road in the quarterfinals the last three years, rather Penn has simply entered the tournament seeded no lower than fourth each of the past three seasons and earned the right to host the quarterfinal games.

This year, seeded eighth despite a 14-3 regular season that saw losses only to the teams seeded 1-3 in the NCAA Tournament, Penn will take to the road in search of a fourth-consecutive Final Four berth.

The Quakers advanced to the second round with a 14-9 win over unseeded Boston University last weekend. Penn stormed out to an 11-3 halftime lead to seize control of the contest and held on thanks to the absolutely stellar goaltending of senior Emily Szelest.

The keeper made a career-high 18 saves in the win, coming up with nine stops in each half against a potent B.U. attack. The Terriers entered the game with a dynamic duo of McKinley Curro and Tracy Landi which had 98 goals between them in 2010. At the end of the game, the pair accounted for four of B.U.’s goals despite 24 combined shots sent Szelest’s way.

The Terps had no trouble with Marist in the opening round, advancing with a 20-5 win. The Terps are 19-1 in 2010 and looking to advance to a second straight Final Four.

Earlier in the season, Penn hosted Maryland at Franklin Field with the Terps taking a 12-6 victory back to Maryland. The game was close early as the two teams traded goals to the tune of a 3-3 tie 25 minutes into the game.

However, the Terps seized control with a 4-0 run spanning 10:20 finishing the first half and beginning the second. Draw controls were Penn’s downfall, as the Quakers came up with only one draw out of ten in the middle third of the game, allowing Maryland to work its offense and pull away for a 10-5 lead that the Quakers could not overcome.

Karri Ellen Johnson led the Terps in the win in Philly, scoring four goals and securing five of those all-important draws. Kristy Black added three goals while Caitlyn McFadden and Sarah Mollison each had two goals and an assist.

Johnson is far and away the offensive leader for Maryland with 60 goals and 76 total points. McFadden is more balanced in her offense, scoring 39 goals and dishing out 31 helpers. Mollison is right there as well with 35 scores and 62 total points.

The marquee matchup will be between the two senior midfielders who are up for the nation’s top lacrosse honor – Penn’s Ali DeLuca and Maryland’s McFadden.

The two Tewaaraton Trophy finalists will have a chance to state their case for the award against each other with a spot in the national semifinals on the line. While the two may not mark each other defensively depending on how the coaches divide the matchups, they are the catalysts of each side’s offenses.

DeLuca matches McFadden’s 70 points this season, scoring a team-high 45 goals and adding 25 assists. Two points on Saturday will tie DeLuca for the most in a single-season by any Penn player – a record that has stood since 1981 when Sherry Marcantonio set the bar.

A win will give Penn’s its fourth-consecutive national semifinal appearance – a mark that can only be matched among active teams by Northwestern if the Wildcats advance this week. For Penn’s senior class of 2010, a victory over the Terps will recreate the road they first travelled to the Final Four in 2007 when the Quakers defeated B.U. in the first round before moving past Maryland at Franklin Field in the quarterfinals.

While the location of the game may have changed since ’07, the stakes are the same. For the Quakers, they hope the result is as well.

Game Notes…

* This is the 17th all-time matchup between Penn and Maryland. The Terrapins hold a 14-2 advantage in the series.
* Maryland has the advantage all-time between the two schools, but the bulk of those meetings came before many of today’s players even picked up a stick. Of the 16 total games between Penn and Maryland, 14 came between 1980 and 1993. The Terps dominated that span with a 13-1 record.
* In 2007, Penn downed Maryland, 9-7, in the NCAA quarterfinals at Franklin Field en route to the program’s first Final Four. The Quakers rallied from a 5-3 halftime deficit to advance to the national semifinals. Only two players currently wearing a Penn uniform played in that game – Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro. Two Terps also return to from that game – Caitlyn McFadden and Karissa Taylor.
* While Penn’s overall record against school’s which call the ACC home stands at 7-18, much of that mark comes from games against Maryland. Besides the Terps, Penn is 5-4 against ACC schools BC, Duke and North Carolina.

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