One of the most dominant teams on campus is back this weekend.
Penn women’s lacrosse will hold their season opener against Delaware this weekend at Franklin Field. The core of last year’s Ivy League Championship team is returning to defend its title this season.
Anchored by Ivy Midfielder of the Year and Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American, Alex Condon, the squad also returns Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-Americans Katy Junior and Emily Rogers-Healion.
While the core of the team will be back, there will be some new faces and changes in the starting lineup. Arguably the most important change is who will be in goal for the Red and Blue.
Following the graduation of stellar goalie Britt Brown, neither of the two goalies left on the roster, Mikaila Cheeseman and Maggie Smith, have much experience. The two have combined for only four games total in their career, and Smith missed the entire 2017 season due to injury.
The competition leading up to the season between both goalies hasn’t produced a winner, so the Red and Blue will go into the season with a little uncertainty.
“I think that is the plan [to play both goalies this weekend],” coach Karin Corbett said. "It’s up to one of them to outright win [the job], or we alternate and see how they handle it.”
While there is uncertainty surrounding the goalie position, there is less uncertainty about who will be playing on the attack.
Freshman attacker Zoe Belodeau and freshman midfielder Abby Bosco will be starting for the Red and Blue this weekend, with freshman attacker Laura Crawford promising to play a large role as well this season, according to Corbett.
Compared to years past, when the team has played with four attackers, this year’s squad will have five; something that Corbett says will give the team a slightly different look. The attack is shaping up to be a strength for the Quakers this year, and Belodeau and Crawford will be a part of that attack all season.
“[Zoe] is a complete catalyst,” Corbett said. “She’s probably one of the best freshman I’ve coached in her vision and her reading of the play. She just gives us a really great option as a lefty behind the net to feed some really good cutters that we have.”
Bosco, on the other hand, will be a part of midfield that has a great deal of depth. Depth at midfield has not been a luxury for the Red and Blue in the past but it will be a necessary component this year due to a few rule changes.
“There’s no stopping on the whistle so it’s a faster paced game,” Corbett explained. “We’ll need depth in order to play that way.”
With so much depth at the midfield, the Quakers have the ability to switch some players to different positions to keep them on the field.
Senior Natalie Stefan, following multiple ACL recoveries, is switching to defense from the midfield. Corbett believes this move will be very helpful for their defense.
“She’s very strong at the crease so we’re excited to have her at defense,” Corbett said.
The Red and Blue go into this matchup against Delaware with a level of unfamiliarity with their opponent.
The Quakers have opened with Delaware the past two years and have won both games. This year, however, they are going into the game blind, since Delaware has not played a game yet this season.
“Always the first couple of games it’s about trying to gel on offense and defense,” Corbett said. “We will have to make some adjustments in game, so it’s about us this weekend.”