No. 16 Penn cruises past Dartmouth to win third Ivy League championship
PHILADELPHIA -- History did not repeat itself.
Much like it did last year, No. 16 Penn opened up an early lead on Dartmouth in the Ivy League championship game. Unlike 2012, Penn did not allow the Big Green to come back in the game, putting the clamps on Dartmouth’s secondary scoring in a 10-7 win to claim the school’s second Ivy League title and earn an automatic bid to Penn’s seventh consecutive NCAA tournament.
Caroline Bunting had four goals, tying her career high and leading all Penn players in the game. She was 2-for-2 on free positions, part of a dominant day on the line for the Quakers. Fellow seniors Maddie Poplawski and Meredith Cain combined to score three goals for the Quakers.
Penn was aggressive in the attack zone, drawing 29 fouls from the Big Green and earning six free-position attempts. Penn was good on 5 of 6 eight-meter attempts, including 3-for-4 in the first half.
Poplawski was the first to score on a free position, drawing one 55 seconds into the game and popping in Penn’s first goal of the game. Just under the five-minute mark, Hana Bowers tied the game for the Big Green, picking up a bounce for the Big Green from Liz Calby’s failed ground-ball scoop and going high with the score. That was the last time the game was be tied – and the last time Dartmouth scored for 29:36 of game play. Ferguson would make four saves and the Penn defense caused three Dartmouth turnovers over that span.
At the same time the defense was blanking the Big Green, the offense was scoring five goals to build a 6-1 lead. Bunting started the run with a free position at 7:48, before Courtney Tomchik added a free position goal at 11:43. With just under 10 minutes to play in the half, Iris Williamson made two quick moves and dodged to goal, firing to give Penn a 4-1 lead. Bunting made it 5-1 just before the break, striking with 11 seconds left in the opening period.
At the break, it would have been easy to recall the 2012 championship game where Penn held a halftime lead and was unable to hold on. This year, instead of a slight 3-1 lead, Penn had a more comfortable 5-1 advantage. Instead of going cold for 43:48 of game play, Penn acted quickly in the second period to continue building its lead. Just as she did in the first half, Poplawski began the half scoring on a free position for the Quakers just 1:59 into the second period.
The Big Green broke its own long scoring drought with a pair of goals three minutes apart. It was Calby first and then Bowers – just as it was all afternoon for the Big Green. The two combined for all seven goals and 9 of 10 points for the Big Green.
After Bowers scored to make it a 6-3 game with 22:22 to play, Penn stymied the rally with the next three goals of the game.
Nina Corcoran struck for just her second goal of the season 33 seconds after Bowers scored, taking a quick pass off a Dartmouth turnover and bursting down field to score. Bunting added the next two for the Quakers, her fourth goal of the game coming off a feed from Cain with 17:23 to play.
Calby did her part to give Dartmouth a chance, scoring three more times down the stretch. Her final score was Dartmouth’s only eight-meter goal of the game and came with 5:02 to play. The Quakers won the ensuing draw, but Kristen Giovanello made a save for the Big Green to give her team possession.
Before the Big Green could clear their own defensive end, Caroline Bunting picked off Dartmouth’s clearing pass to allow Penn to run more time off the clock. Dartmouth forced one more turnover and Frances Bird took a shot with 2:17 remaining, but it was denied by Ferguson for her eighth save of the day and 20th of the tournament to set a new Ivy League tournament record for saves through two games.
In the final seconds, Dartmouth pulled its goalie and looked to find a miracle. It appeared the Big Green would have another chance with 34 seconds remaining after a Penn foul, but the Big Green were offside. A throw resulted, and Meg Markham picked up the ground ball to run out the clock and secure Penn's win.
The Quakers are the first team to win multiple Ivy League championships (2010, 2013) and improved to 2-1 all-time in tournament finals. Penn’s five wins in ILT play are most among any Ivy program.