No one wants to be the new kid.
Joining a new team as a freshman is never easy, especially when that team is ranked No. 10 in the country. But Penn women's lacrosse freshmen Taylyn Stadler, Michaela McMahon, and Robin Panzarella aren't afraid of competing on the college level and have big plans for the future.
Coming from high school competition to college is definitely an adjustment, and it didn’t take long for Stadler and McMahon to notice a disparity in the level of competition between the two.
“When I first came in, I felt like I literally didn’t know how to play lacrosse, and I’ve been playing lacrosse since I was nine years old,” Stadler said. “Even though it’s the same game, it’s much different.”
“I would say the speed of the game and the physicality,” McMahon added regarding the differences.
While the learning curve can be steep, having teammates that have been in the same position before has helped the new members get acclimated faster.
“One of the reasons why our transitioning from high school to here wasn’t too bad was because of our teammates,” McMahon said. “There are girls who reach out to you individually to personally help you with what they know you need to work on.”
“Also, coming into campus, you already had automatically thirty friends, so we didn’t have that awkward transition process,” Panzarella added.
On Feb. 16, the Quakers traveled to Delaware to face the Blue Hens in their season opener.
While upperclassmen were able to help the freshman catch up to the speed of collegiate lacrosse, they couldn’t do anything about the first game jitters that everyone gets.
“When I first went into the game, I was so nervous,” Stadler said. “We played 'playdays' in the fall, but it's completely different from wearing the jersey and walking into a big stadium.”
If there were nerves in the beginning, they didn’t last very long. The Quakers got contributions from the freshmen right away as Stadler and McMahon both scored, and Stadler also added an assist. These key contributions fueled the Quakers to an impressive 15-4 victory.
Even with one dominating win under their belt, the freshmen are still not satisfied.
“There [have] been a lot of people saying that since we're a young team, we might not be as good as we have been in the past,” Panzarella said. “A goal for our team is to let people know that is not the truth.”
“Well, our number one goal is to win a national championship, of course,” added McMahon.
With motivated and talented rookies ready to show the team what they're made of, the future definitely looks bright for the Red and Blue.