The coaching fraternity in the sports world is a relatively small one -- a fact evident today when the Penn women's lacrosse team takes a short road trip north to face Lafayette. When these two squads face off on Metzgar Field in Easton, Pa., at 4 p.m. this afternoon, it will be a reunion of former colleagues -- and now rival head coaches -- Karin Brower and Rebecca Joseph. The pair's paths have crossed a number of times, starting with the 1996 season, when each was an assistant coach at Princeton. Today, however, Brower -- the Quakers' (2-4) second-year coach -- will look to deliver a harsh introduction to the ranks of head-coaching to Joseph, who is in her first campaign as coach of the Leopards (3-3). "This will be the first time that we'll meet on opposite sides, and it'll be interesting," Joseph said. "We're very good friends. I have such a respect and admiration for Karin Brower. She's one person who has been like a mentor to me." This meeting between the pair comes not long after the last, as they talked Friday evening on the sidelines of Franklin Field following Penn's 10-5 loss to Cornell. But even that meeting was a combination of business and pleasure -- Joseph was in town to scout Penn's team. And the parting comment of the new Lafayette coach? A joking jab at Brower: "Monday night, we stop talking." That, however, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. "Rebecca was the second assistant to Princeton when I was there," Brower said. "So we know each other well; we're really good friends." But when asked if this friendship ends on the field, Brower just laughed and said, "Right." When Brower was one of the directors of the Princeton Tigers camp in 1997, Joseph was there on the coaching staff. Ditto for the Princeton Elite and Lawrenceville Girls camps in the same year. And now that Joseph has a team to call her own, she is always observing what her colleague and friend is doing. "I speak to my team about her and what she's done with Penn," Joseph said. "I hope to be able to do the same with my program." On the actual playing field tomorrow, the Quakers and the Leopards seem to have as much in common as their coaches. Both squads have their ranks dominated by underclassmen. Both have defeated Villanova. Both are coming of losses in their last game. And both are rebuilding programs that look to be on the rise in the near future. Although the Quakers topped the Leopards a year ago, 11-8, behind a pair of goals from then-freshmen Whitney Horton and Jayme Munnelly, they know that results means little when they meet tomorrow. "This year, they lost a lot of starters from last year. They have a new coach, and its a whole different team," Brower said. "They're young, and they're going through a lot of stuff that we're going through. We're in the same boat." Both squads are in search of a victory -- Penn is coming off a 10-5 loss to No. 13 Cornell on Friday, while Lafayette fell, 11-6, to Stanford on Sunday. Lafayette remains dangerous at all times, though, thanks to Heather McClelland. The junior attacker has netted 22 goals -- Quakers leader Jenny Hartman has 10 scores -- and could put a kink in Penn's victory plans. "We'll take the intensity and the hustle from [the Cornell game] and try to play just like that," Penn sophomore Christy Bennett said. "We can't go into the next two games [Lafayette and Columbia] thinking that we beat them last year." "We're a lot better than we were last year, but they going to be a lot better too -- that's what happens when you have rebuilding programs. You have nowhere to go but up."Comments powered by Disqus
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