The journey of Penn women's lacrosse's ‘Go-Go Gadget Arms’
Senior Meredith Cain overcame relative anonymity from Pittsburgh roots
February 25, 2013, 9:19 pm·
Christina Wu | DP
For Penn fans, Meredith Cain is the kind of player that is impossible not to root for.
Between her tremendous skills on the field and infectious personality and constant smile off of it, Cain is a coach’s dream and an opponent’s worst nightmare.
Yet, she wasn’t sure if she would play lacrosse in college.
The 2012 Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection hails from Pittsburgh — far from a hotbed of lacrosse talent.
“From Pittsburgh, you don’t hear about many people getting recruited,” Cain said.
So when Cain dazzled coaches at Triple Threat Lacrosse Camp, her future coach was shocked when she looked at her roster sheet and saw where Cain was from.
“Once in a while you see stickwork like Meredith’s, but that’s girls from Maryland, not Pittsburgh” coach Karin Brower Corbett recalled on her initial assessment.
But luckily for Corbett, former assistant coach Gloria Lozano, a fellow Pittsburgh native, could get Penn in Cain’s ear. The two bonded over their hometown and love of the game, and Lozano eventually got Cain to visit the school for Junior Day.
“We both had a special place in our heart to recruit her,” Corbett said.
Eventually, Cain made the decision to continue her lacrosse career, “jumping at the opportunity to play at Penn,” and neither side could be any happier.
In her first three years, Cain has racked up an incredible 64 goals, with 32 in 2012 alone. Yet despite her impressive numbers, Cain would sometimes be overshadowed by All-Americans Erin Brennan and Maddie Poplawski, who received much of the media’s attention.
However, with Brennan’s graduation, a much greater responsibility falls on Cain this year to lead the Red and Blue to their seventh straight Ivy League championship. But Corbett isn’t worried.
“It’s obviously big shoes to fill, but we know [Meredith] can do it,” Corbett said.
If the team’s scrimmage against Wales earlier this year was any indication of Cain’s ability to replace Brennan as Penn’s elite offensive threat, then the Quakers have a lot to be excited about.
Playing in sub-freezing temperatures, the girl often referred to as “Go-Go Gadget Arms” lit up Wales for four goals, dominating her foreign opponents with both speed and stick work.
Yet what makes Cain a special player isn’t just limited to how many goals she scores.
Though she is not the most vocal player on the team, Cain is highly regarded by Corbett for her ability to “lead by her actions.”
Even more rewarding to Cain is the relationships she has built while at Penn. The attacker still lives with other girls from her same freshman recruiting class to this day.
“I love them, and we got even closer once we started living together,” Cain said. “I don’t know where I would be without them. They’re my best friends.”
Teammate and fellow senior Kelly McCallion has lived with Cain for three years, and the two have been close since day one.
“[Meredith]’s a great girl and lacrosse player that can do anything on the field,” McCallion said. “She’s always there for everyone and has what it takes to lead us to another Ivy League championship.”
Cain is both nervous and excited by the pressure of being a leader for a program with such an impressive streak of success over the past decade, but believes that the future is bright in Philadelphia.
“We want to win Ivies of course, but the ultimate dream is definitely a national championship,” Cain said.
If Cain can continue to thrive like she has in the past three years, there’s no reason to believe this dream can’t become a reality.