Penn field hockey may have lost a lot of talent over the summer, but with senior attack Emily Corcoran returning, the Quakers still have hope to compete for an Ivy League championship.
A Pennsylvania native, Corcoran is capable of taking on many important roles, ranging from goal scorer, setup man and midfield presence to serving as a strong-willed leader.
The second-team All-Ivy attack proved she could be an offensive force in 2013 with a breakout campaign that featured 13 goals and nine assists, good for second and first on the Red and Blue, respectively.
Not only did Corcoran score often last season — she scored when it mattered most. Her five game-winning goals led the Ivy League.
The senior boasts a combination of size, strength and finesse that makes her one of the hardest offensive threats to defend in the Ancient Eight.
Although her physique and skill set are difficult to replicate, her hustle and grit can be contagious.
Now a captain, Corcoran has the opportunity to take her lead-by-example style to the next level and help a team full of newcomers reach its full potential.
After expressing how graduated senior Julie Tahan’s leadership would be missed, Corcoran said that it is “important and exciting for [her] to take on more of a leadership role as a captain.”
Being a veteran, Corcoran has seen a paradigm shift in the Quakers’ attitude after last year’s impressive 13–4 campaign.
“I think in the past we’ve kind of considered ourselves the underdog,” she said. “But after such a standout season last year, I think we’re going into this season with a lot more confidence. We definitely think we have a lot of skill and the ability to beat the top teams.”
Coach Colleen Fink is more than happy to have the veteran Corcoran anchor her 2014 squad.
“She’s resilient, she’s a workhorse out on the field and she plays well on both sides of the ball,” Fink said. “Her teammates look to her for energy and passion in competitive situations.”
Fink and Corcoran’s relationship goes back before either was at Penn.
“I’ve known Emily a long time — I coached her when she was in high school,” Fink said. “She definitely hasn’t disappointed.”
It’s early, but according to Corcoran, the same can be said for Penn’s crop of freshmen, with whom the captain has been able to work closely leading up to the season.
“Our freshmen have been amazing so far, so they kind of make it easy [for me as a captain],” she said.
The first-year class includes two attacks, Alexa Hoover and Rachel Huang, who will look to make an impact on the offensive end alongside Corcoran and fellow scoring threats Elise Tilton and Elizabeth Hitti.
“Our team has been working as a cohesive unit in practice,” Corcoran said. “I’m really excited to see the combination of the returning players with the newcomers this season.”
If the rest of the Quakers are indeed able to come together and follow Corcoran’s lead, the Red and Blue will have plenty to be excited about this fall.