Penn women's lacrosse midfield Maddie Poplawski writes her own story
In standing up to her mother’s accomplishments, Poplawski holds her own
March 27, 2012, 12:25 am · Updated March 27, 2012, 11:10 pm·
Andrew Dierkes | DP
There’s pedigree, and then there’s Maddie Poplawski.
As a young girl, Penn’s junior midfielder would go out to her backyard in Springfield, Pa., and have quite an accomplished training partner.
Christina Poplawski, Maddie’s mother, played goalie at Temple before winning a gold medal with the U.S. squad at the Lacrosse World Cup in 1989.
“My mom got me into the sport,” Maddie said. “It was all around me growing up.”
Christina now works as the goalie coach for the girls’ lacrosse team at Springfield High School, where Maddie attended. She served as motivation for her daughter, despite the two not seeing much of each other during practices.
“Just seeing everything that she accomplished,” Maddie said, “it just made me want to push myself that much further.”
When it came time to choose a college, Maddie chose Penn because it would allow her to do just that.
That’s not to say that Springfield didn’t provide Maddie with plenty of challenges as well.
At the end of her freshman year, nine of the graduating seniors went on to play lacrosse for Division I programs.
“Our coaches did a great job preparing us,” Maddie said. “When I graduated, I definitely knew I was in a good position to succeed.”
She and her teammates won four straight Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District I championships during her time at Springfield, where she captained the team as a senior.
Thus, once she arrived at Penn, Maddie’s challenge was to reach her immense potential — to live up to expectations.
In her first season, she scored 21 goals, but she took a step back in her sophomore campaign, netting just 11.
This season, however, Maddie has embraced her role as an upperclassman and a leader. Through just seven games, she’s scored 15 goals, while taking most draws for the Quakers.
“We need a lot out of her, and she’s really stepped up,” Penn coach Karin Brower Corbett said. “She’s been taking it to the net more, has taken advantage of her length on defense and [has] been doing great on draws.”
The aspect of Maddie’s game that has pleased her coach most is her more aggressive approach on offense.
“Maddie has always had it in her,” Corbett said. “She just needed to become more confident.”
Wednesday against Georgetown, as her own personal cheering section of Springfield lacrosse girls looked on, Maddie strode down the field on a fast break, blew past the defense and netted a seemingly effortless goal.
Once the girl who looked on in awe of her mother’s accomplishments, Maddie has now become a role model herself.