Looking back on another spectacular season that ended in heartbreak for the women's lacrosse team, coach Karin Brower still has a lot to be happy about.
Since leading the Quakers to their third-straight NCAA Final Four appearance, Brower has seen her team rack up an abundance of postseason accolades.
First, the undefeated conference champs earned six All-Ivy selections, including four players on the first team (juniors Courtney Lubbe, Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro and senior Hilary Renna), an Ivy co-Player of the Year (Spiro) and Rookie of the Year (Erin Brennan).
And after the Red and Blue fell to eventual national champion Northwestern in double overtime of the national semifinals, 13-12, DeLuca and senior defense Katie Mazer earned recognition on the NCAA All-Tournament team.
When it was all said and done, the Quakers (15-3, 7-0) finished second in both the media poll and the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll, surpassing tournament runner-up North Carolina.
They nabbed two spots on the All-American team (Spiro and DeLuca), and most recently, seniors Becca Edwards and Kaitlyn Lombardo were chosen to compete in the IWLCA/Under Armour North-South Senior All-Star game, which takes place Saturday in Downingtown, Pa.
But all these awards don't completely satisfy Brower, who has led the program to unprecedented success since taking the helm in 2000.
"I wish we had a couple more [All-Americans]," Brower said, "but . I'm really proud of Ali and Emma."
She was not short on compliments for her two All-Americans, noting that DeLuca is "an amazing athlete" and "one of the quickest players that I've ever seen," while Spiro became "a complete midfielder" who dominated not just defense, but also draw controls in addition to "really [stepping] up in her ability to score this year."
Perhaps a potential Coach of the Year award - to be announced in the coming weeks - would please Brower, but she understands that many people besides the head coach factor into team success. She praised assistants Liz Kittleman and Gloria Lozano for being instrumental in developing some players - like Lubbe and senior Samantha Bird - who had seen limited action before 2009.
"[Coach of the Year] is an award that goes to the whole coaching staff and the team," she said. "It would mean a lot in that it would show how hard everybody worked to get us where we were."
Brower ultimately summed up her feelings on the team's postseason merits by saying that "awards are nice" but that "as long as you can walk away and know that you did your best, that's what matters."
So the team's miraculous four-goal comeback to force overtime against the Wildcats in Towson, Md., resonates stronger with Brower than the two All-Americans, Ivy co-Player of the Year or six All-Ivy nods. Still, all that sweet success does not overshadow the bitter taste of another loss to the Wildcats.
If a left-it-all-on-the-field effort in a loss to Northwestern means more than the nation's most prestigious honors, imagine the significance of grabbing that elusive national championship.
"Only one team walks away happy at the end of the year," Brower said.Comments powered by Disqus
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