With the amount of youth present on the Penn women's lacrosse team, one might think that its 2001 season will be a rebuilding year. But despite having only one senior and four juniors on a team of 25, the Quakers are very positive about their team potential this season. "We believe we can beat every team we go up against," said Penn junior midfielder Emily Foote, also a Daily Pennsylvanian reporter. "Last year we just wanted to compete with [our opponents]. We didn't really believe we could win, and this year we do." Foote will be one of five upperclassmen expected to lead this year's team. The Ardmore, Pa., native played in 10 games last season. She scored on 40 percent of her shots and picked up 10 ground balls. "I think leadership has always been a little bit difficult for us, because for some reason our upperclassmen have always been lacking," Foote said. Last year's squad only had four seniors. Junior midfielder Traci Marabella, who was named to the 2001 preseason All-American team, is expected to lead the offense for the Quakers. Scoring 31 goals on 69 shots, Marabella was Penn's primary offensive threat last season. But the Quakers are hoping to spread out the attack out a little more this year. "I think we have more people who can shoot and be scoring threats," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "Last year it was pretty much Traci. This year we have a more well-rounded and versatile attack." The task of balancing that attack will be left up to the team's nine sophomores -- most of whom had significant playing time last year. Four key returning second-year starters for Penn are Crissy Book and Whitney Horton at midfield, Christy Bennett at defense and Kate Murray on the attack. Last year, the four combined to score 48 goals and pick up 118 ground balls. Their experience on the field should also benefit the incoming freshman class of 11 players. "Our sophomore class is so strong," Foote said. "There's so many of them that their presence is felt as if they were upperclassmen." Penn's lone senior, Amy Weinstein, will anchor the defense for the Quakers. Weinstein has started in all but two games during her last three years at Penn. With goalkeeper Christian Stover not returning to the team, Penn's primary presence in the net has yet to be determined. What has been determined, however, is what the team wants out of this upcoming season. "We want to have a good team chemistry, because then everything will come together," Marabella said. "To be ranked in the top 20, to finish at least .500 in the Ivy League -- these are goals that are definitely attainable." With all bases covered on paper, the final step is the Quakers implementing the strategies that have been developed. "They're starting to see what is successful and what is not," Brower said. "They are more intense on the field. I think they see all that, now it's just a matter of executing correctly." If the Quakers maintain the intensity they have developed in the preseason, when they went 2-2 in scrimmages against strong competition, they believe that they will surprise a number of teams and have little problem improving on their 6-8 overall and 1-6 Ivy League marks from last season. "Our attitude and intensity are really strong this year," Weinstein said. "We finally truly believe we're going to be good." The Quakers open their season today against William and Mary at 4 p.m. on Franklin Field.Comments powered by Disqus
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