The college process is a turbulent one. During the difficult decision period, many have heard “you’ll end up at the school that’s right for you.” For senior Britt Brown of Penn women’s lacrosse, this could not ring more true.
Honorable Mention All-Ivy. 23 wins. 232 saves. 1,757 minutes played. So far, that is the legacy that the goalkeeper will leave behind from her two seasons with the Quakers. Despite this remarkable impact, though, there was a good chance that Brown’s career at Penn might never have happened.
Coming out of high school, Brown was highly sought after — and for good reason. Her accolades included being named an All-American twice, the 2011 New York state championship at Riverdale Country School, and the 2012 New England Class B championship at the Berkshire School.
In addition to Penn, the University of Virginia was one of her many suitors. Ultimately, despite coach Karin Corbett’s best efforts, Brown went for the Cavaliers.
“We had recruited Brittany, and we had really wanted her. She chose Virginia, and I felt that it was a better fit here for her in a lot of ways, but they were able to put the squeeze on her in August when I couldn’t do that at that time,” Corbett said. “I needed some more academic information, so we had a conversation, and I said, ‘You need to make the best decision for your future, I can’t tell you what’s gonna happen at Penn at this point.’”
In discussing the various factors of this difficult decision, Brown explained the cultural appeal of UVA.
“Unfortunately with the recruiting process, some people get rushed here and there. Overall when I was looking, I had wanted to get a different experience,” Brown said. “I had gone to a prep school in NYC then boarding school for two years in Massachusetts, and I wanted something new. Going down south was that something new for me, so that sort of drove me there.”
Charlottesville remained her home for the next two years, but she only played lacrosse for one of those. During her freshman year, Brown appeared in three games for the Cavaliers, while also staying busy with a multitude of clubs and organizations on the side. Corbett noticed that her former recruit wasn’t taking the field much and picked up the phone.
“I knew her club coach very well and asked, ‘Does Brittany miss lacrosse?’ Her club coach called her and we started the process, though she had not played for a year. She came on a visit and decided [on Penn],” she said. “It wasn’t an easy decision — she had a great life at Virginia with a lot of clubs and friends, but there was something missing for her about lacrosse and the kind of goalie she knew she could be.”
With things not shaping up as plan through sophomore year, Brown recognized this opportunity as a fresh start, and ran with it.
“I wanted to play lacrosse again, and also the financial aid package I received from Penn was amazing,” she said. “So that drove me here, and I’m lucky enough to get to play lacrosse every day and afford this institution. So the best of both worlds came together.”
Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Brown has made every minute count. Both she and her coach emphasized the welcoming and cohesive nature of the squad, which helped to ease the transition for the then-junior. Still, after a year off from the game, Brown had to dedicate herself to returning to top form.
“I had to get my eyes readjusted and get my hand-eye [coordination] back. This year I’ve been able to really see the ball, and that’s been really special for me,” she said.
Her hard work has certainly paid off, as Brown received playing time in every game of her inaugural season as a Quaker. During that period, she helped the team hold opponents to a mere 7.86 goals per game en route to a 15-5 season and an NCAA tournament run.
Now in her second season, Brown is looking to lead the Red and Blue to new heights, as they currently sit at 10-2 and 3-1 in the conference. It is notable that so far, all victories have seen the opponents kept to under ten goals. Despite her enormous role in that department, the ever-modest Brown shares the credit with her team.
“I definitely have to credit my defense here — I think we’re in the top ten for goals against average. It’s not about the goalie, because the defense in front of me gives me the shots that I can save,” she said.
Remarking on Brown’s improvement, Corbett feels that her goalie is among the nation’s elite.
“She really believed in what we could do, and that was a huge turning point for her, and she gained more confidence as last season went on,” Corbett said. “This season, she’s been stellar, and I think she’s one of the best goalies in the country. She’s gonna keep doing what she does best, and people will see it.”
As this season wraps up shortly, Brown will only have a few more chances to take the cage. With three more Ivy matches leading into the postseason, the star senior has the perfect opportunity to make up for lost time and to capture some well-deserved hardware.