No. 3 Maryland Downs No. 8 Penn Despite Leitner's Big Day

PHILADELPHIA Shorthanded entering its game against No. 3 Maryland, eighth-ranked Penn needed its two senior leaders to carry the team if it had a shot at knocking off the Terrapins. The veteran duo did just that, keeping the Quakers in the game against the Terps well into the second half, before the speed and depth of Maryland won out, 14-6.

Goalkeeper Emily Leitner had the game of her life; there is no other way to describe it. While she may argue that the final score is all that matters, there is no denying that she set career highs in saves (16), ground balls (6) and caused turnovers (4). Leitner rendered the Terrapins 2 for 8 on free position shots and was constantly venturing out of the cage to pick off Maryland passes and try to disrupt the Terps' offense.

Leitner's fellow co-captain led all Penn players in scoring as Brennan had three goals and an assist. She now sits alone in fifth-place all-time by a Quake in goals with 110. Brennan's assist came on Lindsey O'Loughlin's first career goal with 24:22 to play in the second half, a goal which closed the gap for the Quakers to 8-5. The Terps scored six in a row from that point to pull away and secure the win.

The Red and Blue entered the game with a third starting midfielder from the preseason depth chart on the sidelines as Maddie Poplawski (concussion) joined Tory Bensen (lower body injury) and Lindsey Smith (lower body injury) on the injured list. Poplawski entered the game leading Penn in goals and the Ivy League in draw controls while playing a key role on defense for the Quakers, but her teammates did a good job of picking up the slack from the start to stay with the high-powered Maryland attack.

After the Terps scored twice in 34 seconds to open a 2-0 lead at the 2:37 mark, the Quakers countered right away to tie the game at 2-2 just over seven minutes into the game. Meredith Cain scored first for Penn at 5:28, finishing a Shannon Mangini pass on the fly for her 15th goal of the season.

Brennan followed with her first of the game 42 seconds later, wrapping around the left side of the cage untouched and unassisted. The Terps countered with the first of their two big runs, netting five consecutive goals to break the tie and take a 7-2 lead with 4:15 left in the first half. Alex Aust was the catalyst, tallying four assists in that span, part of a six-assist night for the Terp.

Before the first half could finish, however, Penn got back on the board via Brennan's second goal of the game, again unassisted. Penn had a chance to add another before the end of the half after a Lydia Miller caused turnover and ground ball, but Maryland stifled Penn's last-second chance before it truly had time to develop.

In the second half, Leitner made the first of her nine second-half saves right off the bat, allowing Penn to transition down the field which ultimately led to a Caroline Bunting goal. The Terps countered with a free position goal by Kelly McPartland just 21 seconds later, regaining a four-goal lead. McPartland was denied on another free position by Leitner at the 34:05 mark and Leitner then initiated transition for Penn with a caused turnover and ground ball which led to a clear and O'Loughlin's first career goal at 35:38.

That goal was the last Penn scored for almost 23 minutes of game play as the Terps rattled off six in a row to pull away for the win. Aust had three of the goals, finishing with nine points on the night. The run could have featured more goals if not for the work of Leitner who had four saves and three caused turnovers in between Penn's fifth and sixth goals.

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2012-03-30



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