As she jogged off Franklin Field on a mild mid-April day, freshman attack Lindsey O’Loughlin was smiling.
Despite moving from the bench to starting role for the Penn women’s lacrosse team, she hasn’t changed one bit in her first year at Penn.
Though she didn’t start immediately, O’Loughlin proved herself over the course of the season and was rewarded. She has started in the last six games.
During that stretch, she’s netted four goals, added an assist and brought a constant positive attitude.
“She’s always smiling,” fellow classmate and defender Leah McBride said.
McBride would know. Both she and O’Loughlin played high-school lacrosse at Oak Knoll School in Union County, N.J., where they became quick friends.
O’Loughlin and McBride co-captained their school’s lacrosse squad their senior year.
O’Loughlin set her sights on Penn and knew just who to call.
Also a field hockey player in high school — and a talented one, being named second-team all-state as a senior — O’Loughlin shared the sideline with then-Penn freshman Christina Benvenuti at Oak Knoll.
“It was great to have Christina there so I could talk to her and text her about anything I needed to know,” O’Loughlin said.
Benvenuti’s presence was among the factors in Penn’s favor. The biggest, however, was the lacrosse program.
As O’Loughlin conducted research on the school, coach Karin Brower Corbett had inside information of her own.
Once a field hockey coach at Oak Knoll, Corbett instructed the school’s current coach, Ali Good.
“She couldn’t tell me much in the way of lacrosse, but … she thought Lindsey was a really great kid and that she works hard,” Corbett said. “When you have someone that you know, you really trust that person’s opinion. They know what you’re looking for.”
It wasn’t until after O’Loughlin had committed to Penn that she learned McBride would join her.
“It was really cool to find out that I’d have someone I knew on the team,” O’Loughlin said.
Comfortable in her new world, O’Loughlin grew socially and academically, as well as athletically.
Though always cautious about expectations for freshman players, Corbett knew she had a strong prospect in O’Loughlin.
“Lindsey has great speed,” Corbett said. “She played great in fall ball, and we were excited for her to get out onto the field.”
Entering the locker room after that mid-April practice, O’Loughlin walked next to McBride, the two laughing and joking together — a smile on her face and a starting spot to go along with it.