Quakers beat back Bulldogs, capture Ivy tourney title

The women’s lacrosse team defeated Yale 15-14 in overtime on Sunday at Penn Park to win their first conference tournament championship since 2016.

upenn women's lacrosse 2023 champs posed with President Liz Magill
President Liz Magill, left, celebrates with women’s lacrosse team after their defeat of Yale in the championship game of the Ivy League Tournament.

The women’s lacrosse team completed a perfect Ivy League season on Sunday by beating Yale 15-14 in overtime at Penn Park to win the Ivy League Tournament and advance to the NCAA Championship tournament.

Penn won the regular-season matchup against Yale with ease, but this one was a dogfight. The Bulldogs led 3-2 after the first quarter, but the Red & Blue outscored Yale 4-2 in the second quarter and were up 6-5 at halftime.

Third-year midfielder Maria Themelis and fourth-year attacker Niki Miles each scored three unassisted goals in the first half.

Themelis scored her fourth goal of the game at the 12:52 mark of the third quarter, which gave Penn a 7-5 lead. Yale scored two straight goals to tie the game up at 7-7, but second-year midfielder Gracie Smith found the net, on an assist from third-year attacker Julia Chai, at the 10:12 mark to give the Quakers a 8-7 advantage.

Yale evened the game at 8-8 with 3:37 left in the third. Second-year attacker Erika Chung scored a goal with 1:19 left in the period, on an assist from Miles, to give Penn a 9-8 a lead, but the Bulldogs scored two goals in the final 36 seconds and led 10-9 after three quarters.

Third-year midfielder Maria Themelis scored six goals and was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Themelis added another goal early in the fourth quarter, and sophomore midfielder Anna Brandt added a goal of her own less than a minute later. With 12:11 left in the game, the Quakers were ahead 11-10. However, Yale responded with three consecutive goals over the next four minutes, which gave them a 13-11 lead.

Second-year midfielder Bella Kehoe scored a goal at the 5:56 mark of the fourth quarter to make it a 13-12 game, and then scored another goal 15 seconds later, on an assist from Miles, to tie the game up at 13-13.

The Bulldogs scored a goal with 3:31 in the game to take a 14-13 lead. With time of the essence, Themelis scored her sixth goal at the 2:14 mark, on an assist from Chung, to tie the game at 14 all.

In the extra period, Brandt scored the game-winning goal with 3:11 on the clock, on an assist by Chung.

Themelis finished with six goals—the second-highest single-game total in Ivy tourney history—six points, seven shots on goal, and four draw controls. For her performance, she was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

The Quakers won their first Ivy League Tournament since 2016 and will make their first NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Miles had three goals, two assists, five points, four shots on goal, and three draw controls. Brandt had two goals, two points, four shots on goal, and four draw controls. Goalkeeper Kelly Van Hoesen had five saves. Themelis, Miles, Brandt, Van Hoesen, and fourth-year defender Izzy Rohr, who caused two turnovers, were selected for the All-Tournament Team.

The conference tournament championship is Penn’s fourth in program history and first since 2016. The Quakers entered the tournament as the top seed after winning the regular-season championship with an unblemished 7-0 record. They defeated fourth-seeded Harvard 16-8 in the opening round on Friday followed by the victory on Sunday over second-seeded Yale.

The victory propels the Quakers to their 16th NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, where they will be one of 29 teams vying for a national title.

On Friday, May 12, Penn will take on UConn at 1 p.m. at Boston College. The winner will face third-seeded Boston College.