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Senior defender Izzy Rohr carries the ball down the field against Cornell on April 15 at Franklin Field. Credit: Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford

Last weekend at Yale, senior defender Izzy Rohr had a dominant performance, with four ground balls and five caused turnovers. Even in her first season with significant playing time, outings like this are routine for the senior from Malvern, Pa., who knows what it takes to perform at her peak.

“I don’t like speaking things into existence,” she said. “I like to make things happen.”

To hear Rohr tell it, she was competitive. Her father and all three of her brothers played lacrosse, including Sam Rohr, who played for the Quakers between 2013 and 2016. And her high school — where Rohr transitioned from midfield to defense at the urging of her coaches — was consistently ranked among the top lacrosse programs in the nation. 

“I remember scouts coming to practice sometimes,” she said. “To me, that was normal.” 

That competitive environment helped prepare her for continuing lacrosse in college. And for her, the decision of where to play was never a question: she committed to Penn before playing her first high school lacrosse game. 

“I toured Penn with my brother,” Rohr said. “I tried to commit that day, and my mom wouldn’t let me. So I went home and committed [the next day].” 

However, after playing five games in the Red and Blue, Rohr’s freshman season would be cut short due to COVID-19. When the Ivy League cancelled the 2021 season as well, she and four teammates took a semester off and moved to Miami. 

There, Rohr kept up her own training while teaching lacrosse to students at a local school and working as a pool attendant. Lacrosse is less established in Miami compared to the northeast, giving Rohr and the Quakers a chance to build the foundations of a program on “just a patch of grass”, which she said she was really grateful for. 

It seemed like this time off to focus on her training would pay off heading into the 2022 season, but then another roadblock fell into Rohr’s path: a torn ACL.

The pain wasn’t new to Rohr; she had torn her other ACL in high school. In fact, she joked that it was better now that she’s “even”, showing off her scars on both knees. Few people can take such an injury in stride like Rohr, who quipped that it can’t happen again. “Both of these happened on Fridays in September of my junior year,” she said.

This injury gave Rohr a new perspective on the team. She missed being out on the field more than anything, but knew her ability to cheer the team on was important. 

“Last year was a building year for us,” she said. “[Being injured] made me want to fight so much more this year.”

Finally, for her senior season, Rohr is healthy and has been to taking the Ivy League by force. She has started in all 12 games, leads the team in caused turnovers with 17, and is second in ground balls with 25. 

Rohr appreciates how close the senior class has been, having gone through so much together in their time at Penn. Many of them, including Rohr, plan on using their 5th year of eligibility to continue playing for the Quakers.

She attributes both her and the team’s success to their coaches and the belief in the team’s motto of embodying Penn Pride. Her coaches have brought alumni to meet with the team, and emphasized the importance of legacy and “leaving this place better than you found it”, according to Rohr.

This year, the Quakers also decided to not have any team captains; rather, everyone leads together, motivating each other in different ways.

To Rohr, embodying Penn Pride means “being proud of the jersey you have on,” she said. “Everything we do is for the people that came before us and the team we have now.”

The team’s undefeated record in the Ivy League so far this season is a direct result of this mindset shift, according to Rohr. 

“It’s about winning this day, winning this quarter, winning this drill,” she said. “My goal is to get that Ivy Championship ring, but for [right now], it is one game at a time.”