As the end of the school year approaches, most Penn Athletics spring squads are approaching crunch time in their respective seasons, with almost all of them having entered the thick of Ivy League play.
With women’s lacrosse ranked in the top 10 nationally, track and field seeing school records fall left and right, baseball having won ten of its last 11 games and more, the season has seen some supreme successes already — but only one athlete can stand out as the best. Our sports editors take to the roundtable to debate: Who is the Penn Athletics spring season MVP so far?
Cole Jacobson, Sports Editor:
In sports, “value” doesn’t just refer to one’s talent — it refers to his or her team’s thorough reliance on that player in all facets of the game. And there’s nobody who does more for his or her squad right now than Penn softball do-it-all senior Alexis Sargent.
To start with her contributions on the mound — she is listed as a pitcher, after all — Sargent, in terms of both quality and quantity, has been as dominant as ever. Entering Tuesday evening’s showdown with Villanova, the senior has already tossed 72.1 innings, meaning she single-handedly accounts for a ridiculous 49 percent of the team’s total innings thus far. Clearly, fatigue does not exist in Sargent’s dictionary, with the reigning first team All-Ivy selection having appeared in 12 of the Quakers’ 21 contests — seven of those 12 going for complete games.
And it’s not like the historically heavy workload is making her perform any worse. As a matter of fact, the senior leads the Ivy League with seven wins (out of the team’s 11), 66 strikeouts and a stellar 2.26 ERA, putting in her position to make history and pull off the coveted Triple Crown.
The knock on pitchers in baseball and softball when it comes to MVP conversations is often that they don’t contribute every day, but Sargent puts that myth to bed. Even when she doesn’t sport the mound for Penn — a pretty rare occasion — she decides to dominate on the other side of the ball for good measure, sporting a fine .306 batting average and ranking fourth on the team in hits. Overall, her dominance on both offense and defense is unmatched by anyone else across Penn Athletics, making her the spring MVP.
Tommy Rothman, Sports Editor:
Britt Brown is the Spring MVP up to this point. The women’s lacrosse goalie has been absolutely dominant. She has spent every minute of every game this season in the net for the Quakers, and hasn’t made many mistakes in that time. The senior is second in the league and third in the entire nation with a save percentage of 57.5.
By allowing just 7.4 goals per game, she gives the Red and Blue an excellent chance to win every night, and they haven’t squandered many of those chances. Penn would never be 8-2 without Brown’s excellence in the net.
That being said, Brown isn’t doing this all by herself, even if she is the only Quaker having shots fired at (but rarely past) her. Much of the credit for Penn’s stingy goals-against total must go to the team’s defense, which limits the amount of grade-A chances Brown must face. But that’s a two-way street. The defense can play much more confidently— and the offense can take more risks — knowing Brown is there as a very, very formidable final line of defense should everything else go astray.
Jacob Snyder, Associate Sports Editor:
The most impactful Penn athlete this season so far has definitely been baseball’s Matt McGeagh. After a solid but unspectacular rookie year, McGeagh has exploded on the scene, becoming one of Penn’s most dynamic hitters this campaign. Consider this — in 124 at-bats last season, McGeagh notched two home runs. So far this season, in just 65 at-bats, he already has smacked three, half of the team’s total output of six. Somewhat surprisingly (considering some of the other power bats the Quakers have), McGeagh has become the most prolific power hitter in the lineup, posting an ungodly slugging percentage of .615, over 150 points better than the next highest on the team and pointedly above .366, the team average. But McGeagh’s bat is as reliable as it is powerful. Going into this weekend’s road trip, the sophomore has hit safely in nine consecutive games, with the Quakers winning eight of nine games over that stretch. With the help of McGeagh’s breakout season, the heart of the Penn batting order looks as menacing as ever; Chris Adams, Tim Graul, Sean Phelan, and McGeagh routinely terrorize opposing pitchers and provide clutch offense for the Quakers.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.