“First time I played her was when we were both nine years old,” Reeham Salah recalled. “We both just started getting into squash, so I won that match in three games, but it was tight from the beginning.” That’s a pretty good way of describing the rivalry between Penn’s Salah and Harvard’s Sabrina Sobhy.
When you fight your way to a national quarterfinal game like Penn women's lacrosse did last year, well, it’s no wonder that the best players come from far and wide to don the Red and Blue. And though the roster lost some big names after graduation last May, the arrival of such an impressive class of 2020 seems to be a harbinger of a new era of lacrosse excellence here at Franklin Field.
For the Quakers, there is a good number of championships to be won. As they enter this newest campaign, the Red and Blue have their eyes on three pieces of silverware: an NCAA title, an Ivy League title and an Ivy League Tournament trophy.
But for Penn women’s lacrosse, there are times when a future-minded approach is the only way to go. Accompanied by Penn’s track and field and men’s lacrosse squads, the team is in its third year working with Young Quakers Community Athletics, an after-school sports program that pairs Penn athletes with students from a trio of local middle schools.
When it comes to replacing Corcoran, there is no one-for-one swap. Sophomore Chrissy Corcoran, Nina’s younger sister, has gotten looks behind the goal and will be starting in Saturday’s season opener against Delaware. Junior Emily Rogers-Healion, one of the team’s best on the draw, has also appeared in that lead role behind the net. Finally, freshman midfield Gabby Rosenzweig has worked behind the cage in practice.
Seniors Kevin Gayhardt, Eric Persky, and Kevin McDonough combine to form one of the most formidable defensive units in the country. Gayhardt, the captain, is a vocal leader who matches up well with big attackmen, as evidenced by his even battles with Yale’s Reeves last season. Persky is an active on-ball defender who rarely requires a slide. And McDonough’s agility and foot speed make him a nuisance for opposing ball carriers.
This past summer, four sophomore members of Penn men’s lacrosse – Alex Roesner, Simon Mathias and Tyler Dunn on attack and Noah Lejman on defense – traveled to Coquitlam, British Columbia to compete in the FIL U-19 World Championships, the most prestigious international competition for their age group.
Long a stalwart of Penn wrestling, fifth-year senior and 165-pounder Brooks Martino made his return to the Red and Blue on January 8th after a semester off from the team.