Penn wins 6th straight Ivy Title

Here is video from the Penn women's lacrosse team's historic 13-8 win over Princeton on Wednesday that ensured the team's sixth straight Ivy title.

Meaningless Capital One Cup results

CapitalOneCup_Color_LogoI was alerted this morning by a breaking press release that Penn's own women's athletics program finished No. 51 (out of 62) in the Capital One Cup!

The Penn women finished with 4 points overall (winner Standford had 121), which according the release "was [the] result of [a] top 10 finish in lacrosse this spring season." The Quakers tied for 51st (full standings here) with the Michigan State Spartans and the Stony Brook Seawolves, which, as always, begs the question: what is a seawolf?

A little digging around on Stony Brook's website reveals that: "The Seawolf is a mythical sea creature of the Tlingit tribe, said to bring good luck to all those fortunate enough to see it." Okay.

Anyway back to the important stuff: Brown was the top Ivy finisher in the women's standings, finishing with 20 points at No. 27. (For those who don't follow NCAA women's rowing, Brown won it all this year, propelling them into the upper echelon half of this competition).  Princeton followed with 18 points in 31st place. While men's sports are still dragging on, Cornell is currently in 30th, Yale in 61st and Brown in 71st. Last time I checked, none of those programs is going to win the College World Series, so their stock can only fall at this point...

TrophyImageIf you, like me, are wondering how this competition works, Capital One awards points to programs for Top 10 finishes in NCAA championships and final coaches polls. According to the Cup's website, "Sports are grouped based on fan interest, school participation and other factors."

The winning programs receive a swanky trophy and $200,000 toward graduate-level scholarships for student-athletes. In case you hadn't heard, "the Capital One Cup is college athletics' new premier award." Don't tell the Heisman, BCS Championship trophy, Naismith Award or basketball championship trophies.


W. Lax knocked out of Ivy Tournament in overtime

Due to some technical difficulties over at thedp.com, here's Senior Staff Writer Jennifer Scuteri's recap of tonight's Penn loss to Princeton at Franklin Field. At the end are the post game press conferences:

It took an entire season, a full 60-minute tournament game, and two three-minute overtime periods to determine who would advance to the finals of Ivy League Tournament.

But eventually the fourth seeded Princeton women’s lacrosse team emerged victorious, 10-8, over the top seed and Ivy League co-champion, Penn (11-5, 6-2 Ivy).

“I’m just so proud and thrilled for our kids to get this win today,” Princeton coach Chris Sailer said. “It wasn’t always our best game, things didn’t always go our way, we struggled in certain areas but we persevered and we came through and we kept fighting. ”

The will to battle back certainly wasn’t lacking between the two Ivy League foes. The lead traded back and forth seven times over the course of the game. After losing to the Tigers (10-6, 6-2), at the end of April, the Quakers were certainly looking to redeem themselves in the Ancient Eight — but to no avail.

With 2:24 left in regulation, sophomore Meredith Cain netted her third goal of the night to tie the game at eight apiece. The Quakers won the following draw control and had the chance to notch the win, but couldn’t get a shot off as time expired.

Princeton was simply dominant in the two extra three-minute periods. With just 36 seconds remaining in the first overtime, sophomore Jaci Gassaway was left wide open to put the Tigers ahead. Just 30 seconds later, Gassaway struck again and netted her fourth goal to put her team ahead by two and ultimately ice the victory.

“It’s been a long four years since we’ve beaten Penn and so now to beat Penn twice in one year is really something special,” Sailer said.

Despite stellar offensive performances from Cain, Caroline Bunting, who registered two goals and an assist, and junior co-captain Erin Brennan, who notched four points for the night, the Quakers were haunted by the careless mistakes that have plagued them all season. Penn had 15 turnovers, many of which were a result of unforced errors and a sub-par passing game.

“It was a little frustrating,” Penn coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “We needed to finish better and we needed to take care of the ball better and I think that’s been a problem for us this year. To be a championship team, you have to play cleaner than this and we’re really struggling with that right now.”

The Ivy Tournament, which is now in its second year, has eliminated both Penn and Ivy co-champion, Dartmouth, from receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at the end of May. Now, Princeton will go on to face Harvard in championship Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on Franklin Field.

Sunday will prove to be a big day for the Quakers as well, as the selection committee will determine whether or not they will receive an at large bid to the big dance.

“I think that we should get in, but who knows,” Corbett said. Despite two losses to Princeton and one to Johns Hopkins, Penn posted upsets of ranked North Carolina and Duke this season. “With the two big wins that we pulled off and the strength of our schedule, I think that we have a good shot.”

Liveblog: W. Lax Ivy tournament – Penn vs. Princeton

It's tournament time at Franklin Field — the Quakers take on Princeton in the first round of the Ivy Championship, and they are out for revenge. Two weeks ago, the Tigers came into Philadelphia and stole an upset from Penn on senior night, ending the Quakers' 34-game Ivy winning streak. After closing out the regular season with a win (and then an upset over No. 4 Duke) Penn clinched the No. 1 seed in the Ivy tournament and home field advantage. If the Quakers can figure out Princeton this time around, they'll advance to the final game Sunday afternoon. Follow along below:

Postseason Lax Notes

We're just a day out from the second annual Ivy League lacrosse tournaments, and things are getting exciting for Penn.

The women, for the second year, are the No. 1 seed and host the tourney at Franklin Field. They will play in the nightcap Friday; gametime is at 7 p.m. against Princeton. The winner plays in the final on Sunday afternoon. Since this is the Ivy League tournament, unfortunately ticket will not be free for students. Friday's game will be $6, Sunday will be $4, or for you frugal Quakers out there, if you buy tickets to both games, it's only $8.

The ladies are up to No. 7 in the IWLCA poll after defeating Duke last weekend (and pushing Duke down a spot to No. 5). Penn was ranked No. 4 for most of March, and this is the Quakers' best ranking since.

Lastly, the Ivy League coaches voted on All-Ivy teams this weekend and the results are in. Six Quakers were named to the squads:

Junior Erin Brennan was Penn's lone first-team selection, though a unanimous one, as she led Penn in scoring this season, and is also a Tewaaraton Award nominee. This is her second-straight first-team honor. Senior Giulia Giordano, junior Goalie Emily Leitner and freshman Lydia Miller were second-team picks, and Maddie Polawski and Bridget Waclawik were both honorable mentions.

On the men's side, the Quakers are heading into their first Ivy League tournament after tourning around a 1-6 record last season to finish 4-2, and lock up the second seed.

After an 11-2 drubbing from Virginia to close out the season, the Quakers will head to Cornell for the Ivy tournament to face Harvard, who they beat, 7-6, in triple OT this year. If the Quakers were to win the championship, they would get the Ivy's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Currently ranked No. 14, Penn also has a good look at an at-large bid, especially if it can advance to the finals this weekend. The Washington Times (which once again has a Sports section!) put out a mock bracket  today that has Penn up against No. 6 Maryland in the quarterfinal. The Times also says Penn could go to Duke. It would be their first NCAA appearance since 2006.

The men's All-Ivy teams were also announced and five made the rosters for Penn: Holding down Penn's solid defense this season was Senior Brett Hughes who was a first-team selection. On second team were Seniors Al Kohart and Corey Winkoff, Junior Will Koshansky and freshman Maxx Meyer.

W. Lax Ivy League tourney coming back to Philly

It doesn't get much better than this:

Homefield advantage? check.
No. 1 seed? check.
Shot at redemption? check.

After earning a share of the Ivy Title today with a win over Brown, Penn women's lacrosse also secured their bid to host the Ivy tournament for the second-straight year.

And with the seeding mostly determined, Penn will play Princeton on Franklin Field, Friday May 6. Not only will the Quakers be playing for a shot at the Ivy championship, but they'll get a revenge match against the Princeton team that ended their 34-game Ivy win streak last weekend.

Harvard and Dartmouth will duke it out next weekend for the other share of the Ivy title — the winner gets the 2-seed for the tourney, the loser gets the 3-seed. Then the two will lather, rinse and repeat the week after here in Philly at the tournament.

GUEST BLOG: Like all good things

It had to end at some point.

The women's lacrosse team had not lost a conference game since its oldest players were juniors in high school, its youngest in middle school. “The Streak” spanned 34-games over six seasons and affected the careers of over 55 players.

But all that came to a screeching halt Wednesday, when the Quakers lost 11-7 to Princeton at Franklin Field.

I wasn’t at the game (though I heard most of it via the Princeton radio feed on the internet). So read Ari’s recap of the game for the “play-by-play.” I also won’t wax rhapsodic over the impressiveness of the streak. Penn athletics’ recap has that for you. But I do want to give some context on “The Streak” and its end yesterday.

Ironically, during my four years on the women's lax beat, I never once referred to the accomplishment as “The Streak.” The simple reason is that the Quakers only started threatening Harvard’s all-time Ivy streak of 36 this year. So before this year the streak wasn’t “an all-timer.” But on a deeper level, I personally felt the run of Ivy wins was more about each year’s team going 7-0 to win that year’s Ivy League title than about multiple years of dominance. Put another way, I got so accustomed to Ivy wins, that “The Streak” was almost like a given, a piece of background information.

(Apparently, the Quakers share my sentiments. According to this weekend’s preview: “[Penn coach Karin Brower] Corbett said the team never talked or thought about the streak as a group in preparing for games.”)

This season, however, “The Streak” has been the story of the year. Or at least that’s what the DP’s coverage reflects. Searching thedp.com’s archives, the first reference to the team’s streak (albeit with lowercase letters) was a column from Cal in September predicting the 2010-2011 sports year. To his credit he predicted:

The women’s lacrosse team’s undefeated Ivy streak will come to an end.

Good news first: the women’s lacrosse team will remain atop the Ivy League. But its four-year undefeated conference streak will end this year. It’s no coincidence that the streak was concurrent with a phenomenal class of athletes.

Penn got a taste of competition from Dartmouth in last year’s Ivy Championship game, though the Quakers eventually won 9-8 in the final minutes. And this year, Dartmouth has a large contingent of rising seniors and juniors returning.

After that there were references to “The Streak” in this headline, this preview and this column, which accurately said that “…if you have to bet on an Ivy upset, Princeton has the best chance to upend Penn’s streak.”

To be honest, I saw the streak ending too. The Quakers lost to an unranked foe for the first time since March of 2006 when they fall 8-5 to Johns Hopkins last month. And watching them in person I could tell that this year’s squad was not as dominant as the past four ones.

Though I've moved on from Philadelphia to Washington DC, I've been to two games this year. The first was the season opener against Drexel and the second was the shelling at No. 1 Maryland. The Drexel game was a sloppy affair, and the Quakers didn’t put the game away until a late 5-1 run. In the Maryland game, Penn got outplayed more than it had in any game I’ve seen since the 12-2 loss versus Northwestern in the 2007 NCAA Final Four. Anytime Maryland got the ball it would sprint down the field and fire off a shot immediately. It was the fastest and most efficient offense I’ve seen. And this year’s Penn team had no chance of stopping it.

Honestly, this year’s team just hasn’t looked as good as the team during the streak, especially without last year’s senior class. That does not mean this year’s senior class led by midfield Giulia Giordano isn’t a good one. But you can tell by watching the team that the departure of Ali DeLuca, Emma Spiro, Emily Szelest, Barb Seaman and the rest of the Class of 2010 left a huge hole that has not been completely filled.

So where does the loss leave the team for now? For one, if there was any slim chance before the loss that Penn might finally break through and win the national championship this year, I think that hope was mauled by the Tigers.

But what about the Ivy League title? Having your biggest rival end the most impressive accomplishment in program history is painful. But ironically, the Quakers should be happy the streak ended against Princeton instead of one of the other top-flight Ivy squads. The Tigers already lost to Harvard and play Dartmouth this upcoming Saturday. In fact, Penn is still in first place at 5-1 in the conference, with the Crimson, Big Green and Tigers all tied in second at 4-1. With tiebreakers over Dartmouth and Harvard – who still have to play each other – Penn will clinch at least a share of their fifth straight Ivy League title with a win Saturday at Brown (1-4).

Such a win would be fitting. Penn would join Harvard as the only Ivy teams to win five-straight Ivy League championships. And they would start another Ivy win streak against the Brown, original victim number one of The Streak.

It’s tailgate season again

One of the best initiatives of the Athletic Department and the Red and Blue Crew last fall was their trying to seed a tailgate culture before football games outside of Franklin Field. As April showers turn to May flowers, Penn is restarting the tailgates this week as the women's lacrosse team hosts Princeton on Wednesday for senior night.

From the look of things, Penn Athletics is going out with a bang with this tailgate: Catered BBQ and comfort food, "DJ Bruce" spinning old school hip-hop, what could be better on a Wednesday night?

And best of all, they are targeting you, frat-bros of Penn, with a free shuttle to take you to the game. The bus will head up Walnut stopping by TEP and AEPi, then loop back down Spruce to grab the ZBTs on the way to the Frank. (schedule below)

Free food, free music, free buses and a free W. Lax game against rival Princeton — there's really no reason not to go. Except finals.

Shuttle Schedule:
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4:30 - 38th and Walnut (outside TEP)
4:35 - 41st and Walnut (across from Alpha Phi and AEPi)
4:40 - 41st and Spruce
4:45 - 39th and Spruce (outside Beta, across from ZBT)
Franklin Field
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5:00 - 38th and Walnut (outside TEP)
5:05 - 41st and Walnut (across from Alpha Phi and AEPi)
5:10 - 41st and Spruce
5:15 - 39th and Spruce (outside Beta, across from ZBT)
Franklin Field
-----
5:30 - 38th and Walnut (outside TEP)
5:35 - 41st and Walnut (across from Alpha Phi and AEPi)
5:40 - 41st and Spruce
5:45 - 39th and Spruce (outside Beta, across from ZBT)
Franklin Field
-----
6:00 - 38th and Walnut (outside TEP)
6:05 - 41st and Walnut (across from Alpha Phi and AEPi)
6:10 - 41st and Spruce
6:15 - 39th and Spruce (outside Beta, across from ZBT)
Franklin Field

Erin Brennan gets Tewaaraton nomination

After releasing an original "watch list" of over 100 names, the Tewaaraton Award nominees — 25 men and 24 women — have been announced. While the original list had three Quakers, just one remains.

Junior attack Erin Brennan was named a Tewaaraton Nominee today, as seniors Giulia Giordano and Brett Hughes fell from the list of players considered for the Tewaaraton Award, annually given to the top collegiate lacrosse players in the country. Brennan leads the Quakers with 34 points — 24 goals and 10 assists — on 54 shot attempts.

Last year, then-senior Ali Deluca was named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, which went to Maryland Caitlyn McFadden.

Liveblog: W. Lax Penn vs. YAle

Penn women's lacrosse looks to extend their Ivy winning streak to 31 games against Yale this afternoon. Alyssa Kress will give the play by play from Franklin Field. Follow along below:

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