Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
For a team with Centennial Conference playoff aspirations, Saturday’s performance was an utter disappointment.
The women’s lacrosse team (3-2, 0-1 CC) began their Centennial schedule on Saturday when they suffered a 16-9 defeat at the hands of the Ursinus Bears (4-1, 1-0 CC). Annalise Penikis had a five goal performance, making it her third straight game scoring five or more goals, and also added two assists.
Along with Penikis, junior Nicole Vanchieri added two goals. Senior Marie Mutryn and sophomore Corinne Sommi each scored one goal a piece.
The Bears offense was anchored by a five-goal game from senior Alyssa Thren. Freshman Kitty Dawson and junior Elizabeth Chatburn each contributed three goals.
At the end of the day though, the game would ultimately come down to draws controls (Swarthmore had just 10 to Ursinus’ 17) and fouls accrued (22 against Swarthmore, 17 against Ursinus). The latter proved especially costly as the Garnet also suffered four yellow cards.
“Everyone involved in the lacrosse program was disappointed yesterday,” Coach Karen Borbee said. “We had been improving each game and hoped that would continue into the Conference opener but it didn’t happen. My biggest question is what are we going to do about it. I look forward to how the team responds.”
At the beginning of the game, it looked the Garnet and the Bears would be in a close battle. The Bears quickly pulled ahead with goals from Thren and senior Emily Diehl in the second minute.
Then, it seemed as if the Garnet had found its groove thanks to a four goal run that was sparked by a goal from Sommi in the fifth minute of play. Vanchieri followed with a goal in the seventh minute courtesy of an assist from Penikis.
Penikis continued to wrack up the points when she tallied her first two goals of the game in the 10th and 12th minutes, the latter from a free position shot which put the Garnet ahead 4-2.
The Bears promptly struck back, but Penikis answered with her third of the game. Ursinus senior Kim Peifer then cut Swarthmore’s lead to one, making the game 5-4. Thren added two more to answer Penikis’ hat trick, one at the halfway mark and the other in the 18th minute off of a free position shot to make the game 6-4 in favor of Ursinus.
Throughout the game, the Garnet had trouble dealing with free position shots from the Ursinus offense.
“We didn’t finish our free positions and they were getting all of theirs,” senior defender Maddie Williams said. “We weren’t playing as team and we weren’t making our shots.”
Ursinus went on to score three unanswered goals before the end of the half but only ended with a three goal lead (9-6) which left the Garnet with hope.
According to Mutryn, the end of the first half was an indicator of what was to come.
“We started out pretty well, but we eventually lost a lot of momentum,” she said. “We couldn’t win the draw and they were able to consistently score on attack. We could never really force a turnover.”
In the second half, the Garnet was frustrated by fouls and a lack of cohesive play.
“We weren’t winning the draw consistently and we couldn’t get ground balls. We needed more chances to get into a settled attack which was frustrating,” Penikis noted.
Added Williams, “we were getting burned on groundballs. If you look at the stats, we out-shot them, but we needed to take smarter shots. But it’s good to have this loss now than later.”
Borbee is optimistic that the team will adjust.
“Before you play your first Conference game, you don’t know what to expect. You can play all the non-Centennial games that you want but it’s not the same,” she remarked. “[This] will help us prepare for the rest of them.”
“The score doesn’t tell the tale…we didn’t play well and were still in the game and that says a lot. We just have to learn from it and move on,” she added.
The Garnet returns to the field for a non-conference match at Cabrini on Wednesday before returning to the Centennial slate on Saturday at Bryn Mawr.