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Owls fall to W. Va. at Franklin Field

(09/29/00 9:00am)

The Village People may have put on an exciting 10-minute set during halftime, but football played seemingly by village idiots stole the show last night on Franklin Field. West Virginia outlasted Temple, 29-24, in one of the most ineptly played games on 33rd Street in years. Interceptions, fumbles, failed fourth-and-one plays and ineffective punts abounded, as the Owls (3-2) fell for the first time in three contests on Franklin Field this fall. "That was a crazy game," West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said. "Our kicking game was just Owhew.' "But we showed a lot of character coming back at the end." Nehlen's warriors from West Virginia (3-1) controlled much of the second half, running out to a 23-10 lead in the third quarter, but had to rely on a length-of-the-field drive in the game's waning moments to pull out the victory. Mountaineers tailback Cooper Rego plunged in from one yard out with 5:22 remaining to cap off an 88-yard, nine-play drive that put West Virginia on top for good, 29-24. The Owls -- who put together two touchdowns within a four-minute span earlier in the final frame -- had one last gasp to pick up another Ohome' victory. But Temple backup quarterback Mike Frost was sacked on a fourth-and-one with 1:42 left, and the Mountaineers ran out the clock. "We ran a play-action with a quick flat-out to the fullback, but the cornerback covered it," Frost said. "I tried to run around and scramble for a bit, but I couldn't." Temple took a 10-0 lead following a career-long 66-yard touchdown run by Tanardo Sharps early in the second quarter. But West Virginia replied by running off 23 consecutive points and silencing the 25,263 partisan Owls fans in attendance. In a 5:32 span in the third frame, Khori Ivy and Tim Frost caught touchdown passes from Brad Lewis, and the Mountaineers blocked a punt out of the end zone, quickly turning a 10-7 deficit into a 23-10 lead. But the Mountaineers seemed determined to give the game away. A four-yard punt in the first half set a benchmark for futility that neither a 24-yard kick or a dropped pass on a fake punt in the fourth quarter could surpass. But when a member of the West Virginia punt coverage team inexplicably touched the ball as it was bouncing to a stop, allowing the Owls to take over inside the 10-yard line -- and subsequently score on the next play -- Temple rolled back to a 24-23 lead. "Last week we were our own worst enemy, and this week we were again," Nehlen said. "We had that pass off the punt that my grandmother could have run in and we dropped it." "Special teams play a big part in a game, but tonight was more their mistakes than things we did right," Temple coach Bobby Wallace added. Frost threw two touchdown passes, completing 6-of-10 overall, after coming off the bench in the fourth quarter. But he was outdone by Brad Lewis of West Virginia, who threw for a career high 242 yards to go with two scores.

Football out for Patriot blood

(09/22/00 9:00am)

Coming off a tough-to-swallow, 17-10 defeat at the hands of Lehigh last Saturday, the Penn football team (0-1) will attempt to reverse its fortunes when it meets Lafayette (1-1) tomorrow at Franklin Field at 12:30 p.m. With dynamic Penn running back Kris Ryan potentially sidelined with a high ankle sprain for the second consecutive week, this matchup will likely play out as a clash of two powerful passers. Quakers quarterback Gavin Hoffman (36-for-52, 356 yards) set Penn records for attempts and completions at Lehigh, and junior wideout Rob Milanese set another school single-game mark to boot, courtesy of his 13 receptions. Leopards freshman Marko Glavic, no slouch himself, entered the game with one minute, 36 seconds remaining in the first half versus Princeton last Saturday and directed the Leopards to a come-from-behind, 24-17 victory. Glavic (18-for-30, 243 yards) was helped, no doubt, by the 11 receptions for 109 yards hauled in by his own dominant wideout, Phil Yarberough. What matters most to the two squads, though, is that Glavic came away with a victory, and Hoffman returned to West Philadelphia with a loss. "We came off of a hard fought and very disappointing loss at a very good Lehigh team," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "We were a bit frustrated coming away from it. We played very hard, but we did not play very smart. "But we had some big-game performances from Gavin Hoffman and wide receiver Rob Milanese, who set school records. We threw the ball very well." On the other side of the ball, a Quakers defense that turned in a strong effort against the then-No. 21 Engineers seven days ago in Bethlehem is looking to put together an even better performance in its home opener. The fact that Penn will be lining up against a freshman quarterback and a Lafayette offensive line that has given up five sacks in two games could make for a long afternoon for the visiting Leopards. "Their quarterback is a freshman, so we're going to go out there play after play, and we're going to rattle him," Penn defensive back Hasani White said. "He doesn't have enough game experience to handle it at this point." First-year Lafayette coach Frank Tavani sees it a bit differently, and he feels that his freshman quarterback has responded well to his trial by fire. "We had hoped that in the first couple of games we'd get [Glavic] in a couple of series and get his feet wet. I just didn't know I was going to throw him into the ocean so quickly," Tavani said. "Having thrown 30 passes already certainly helps. He's a freshman who's going to make his share of mistakes, but he's got some tremendous talent." One factor the Quakers must heed is the breakout ability of Leopards tailback Bill Stocker. The six-foot sophomore rushed for 199 yards in his first two games, and will now challenge a Penn defense that held Lehigh to 3.6 yards per carry. Lafayette's success on the ground is in direct contrast to Penn's futility without Ryan, as the Red and Blue only amassed 30 yards on 16 carries at Lehigh. "We did not have our star running back available, and we struggled to try to establish a running game," Bagnoli said. These two squads last squared off in 1995, with the Quakers emerging victorious, 28-8. There is little doubt Hoffman would like to duplicate the passing effort of Penn's signal-caller in that meeting, when Mark DeRosa threw for three touchdowns. With Milanese blossoming into quite the receiver, and Doug O'Neill, Ben Zagorski and Colin Smith (five receptions apiece at Lehigh) steady as rocks, Hoffman looks to have plenty of opportunities to do damage. "It was certainly an exciting day to get my first career victory... but I came down quickly from the clouds once I saw film on the Penn team," Tavani said. Though Tavani's squad enters this matchup riding a wave of confidence, the disappointment over last week's loss that has resonated through the Penn locker room may be a far more effective motivating factor. "[Lafayette] has some big threat weapons," Quakers defensive coordinator Ray Priore said. "But the kids are coming back from a tough loss, and the kids were very, very disappointed. And they worked real hard this week mentally and on everything else, and they're in the right frame of mind to win."

Big Ben Zagorski rings true for Football

(09/20/00 9:00am)

To say that the starting tight end on Penn's football team has stepped into the limelight in a big way this season might be a bit of an understatement. You see, when you say "big," you just don't get the whole picture when it comes to 6'7" senior Ben Zagorski. Used primarily on passing downs over the past three years, Zagorski is taking on a larger role this fall as the full-time tight end. And though only one game has passed by in the 2000 campaign, with five receptions for 74 yards and the Quakers' only touchdown, this senior appears ripe and ready for his new role. "It's the nature of this offense. We can't put in a tight end just to throw him the ball, or we can't throw in a tight end just to block. To be a tight end in this offense, you need to be versatile," Quakers tight ends coach Mike Santella said. "And I think that versatility is a big-time asset for Ben because of his physical nature. "He's a good run-blocker, and obviously since he's 6'7", he's a tremendous target for the quarterback to hit." Using the combination of size and soft hands, Zagorski broke through as Penn's fourth-leading receiver last fall. The then-junior pulled down 26 passes, good for 243 yards and three touchdowns. At Lehigh four days ago, Zagorski showed no signs of slipping into a senior slump, playing nearly every down and notching three scores -- though two were brought back by penalties. "This year I'm stepping up a bit, playing a lot more snaps, both blocking and passing," Zagorski said. "We can't get down the field if I don't block." But Zagorski, ever the gentle giant, is quick to credit the small people who have helped him get to the position he is at -- namely wide receivers such as 5'10" Rob Milanese and 6'0" Doug O'Neill. "Their quickness on the outside gives me a huge advantage, spreading the field out, and that's where we can take opportunities against certain people I have a size advantage against," Zagorski said. "And then I can help to give [Penn quarterback] Gavin [Hoffman] a bigger target." A play that worked against Lehigh, and which Penn opponents have probably not seen the last of, is sort of like a jump ball in basketball. Early in the fourth-quarter, Zagorski posted-up 5'11" Engineers safety Abdul Byron in the end zone, and then outjumped him to haul in a three-yard strike that was the Quakers' only touchdown. "It's definitely easier and people see it more [when it's a corner route with a ball thrown up for grabs], but every route is important," Zagorski said. "I'm just trying to catch the ball and move the ball downfield for the team." But jump balls should be nothing new for the 6'7" senior, who was a center-power forward on his high school basketball team and, yes, took the jump balls. Some possible roots of Zagorski's athleticism on the field may come as no surprise. A native of South Bend, Ind., the 21-year-old confessed that, "Obviously, when my mom was pregnant, she used to go to Notre Dame games, and I've always been an Irish fan." But physical prowess and ability are not necessarily the most impressive of Zagorski's features. "He's never complacent. He's like a sponge -- he asks me, OWhat can I do? What can I do?'" said Santella, who has previously worked with tight ends at Lehigh and East Stroudsburg. "He has a tremendous work ethic, and he's got a lot of natural tools. He's a very coachable guy. You watch the film and you make an adjustment, and he definitely works on it." As Zagorski prepares for his final campaign in a Quakers uniform, there are a number of things he has been working on. The transition to blocking downs is a big focus of his attentions, though the transition to a senior and a team leader is a more subtle one. "The biggest change is that I'm a senior and I know I've got one year left, so I have to play every game like it's my last," Zagorski said. "It doesn't really seem that different to me with younger teammates looking up to me." With a Management concentration in Wharton, Penn's tight end has been so focused on managing the gridiron that -- like many other seniors -- post-graduate affairs have not risen to the top of his mind just yet. "I need to get on that," Zagorski said, chuckling about plans come May. "I'm in entrepreneurial management, so maybe start my own business. And I'll need a good idea, which is always tough." Through one-tenth of the 2000 season, though, Zagorski has had one and only one idea, which may be equally as daunting. Counting the 1998 Ivy title among his favorite memories, the senior is determined to bring home another. "The championship year was amazing. That team had something special. And that's something that we're trying to get back this year, and hopefully we can," the senior said. "That whole year, it was so exciting. It's just something I yearn to get back."

Carmody slips out backdoor to NWU

(09/07/00 9:00am)

In another blow to an already wounded program, Bill Carmody announced yesterday that he will be leaving his job as head coach of the Princeton men's basketball team to take the top spot at Northwestern in the fall. The Tigers wasted no time and stayed in-house to find a replacement for Carmody, as John Thompson III will be announced as the Tigers' new coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today, according to Princeton athletics spokesman Jerry Price. Thompson, the son of legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson, played college ball for the Tigers and was an assistant coach at Old Nassau for the past six years. Thompson will become the first African-American coach in Tigers' basketball history. Carmody's departure came barely a week after Princeton learned that it would be losing first team All-Ivy center Chris Young for good and forward Ray Robins for the season. The 6'11" Young signed a minor league baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and under Ivy League rules, is now ineligible to compete in any Ivy sport. Robins, a 6'7" junior who started 11 games this past winter, is taking a year off for unspecified reasons. "I am very grateful for the opportunity that Northwestern University has given me," Carmody said in a press conference in Evanston, Ill., yesterday. "To be able to coach at a school with such a tremendous academic standing and in the top conference in Division I basketball was something that I could not turn down. "I want my guys at Northwestern to understand how great of an opportunity it is to play college basketball and that if they work hard at it every day how much can be accomplished when they approach the game in the right way." The new Northwestern coach takes the helm of the struggling Big Ten program from Kevin O'Neill, who left on Friday to become an assistant coach with the New York Knicks. Carmody leaves Princeton after four seasons as head coach, during which he amassed a 92-25 record. The Tigers captured the Ivy title and reached the NCAA Tournament in Carmody's first two campaigns and finished as runner-up to Penn the past two years. Northwestern, on the other hand, has never been to the NCAA Tournament and finished its campaign a year ago with a dismal 5-25 record. Six Wildcats players have transferred in the past 12 months, and only seven scholarship athletes are returning. Nonetheless, Carmody is moving from the non-scholarship Ivy League to the Big Ten, and he has practically nowhere to go at Northwestern but up. "I think it's a great opportunity for Carmody," Columbia coach and former Princeton assistant Armond Hill said. "He's proven that he could coach at this level, and now he has the opportunity to go to a tough conference." One factor that may have led to Carmody's selection was that one of his friends, Northwestern President Henry Bienen -- a former chair of the Political Science Department at Princeton -- was in his corner during the Wildcats' search process. Meanwhile, the late timing of Carmody's departure may have an adverse effect on the Tigers. Though Thompson played college ball at Princeton and has been the junior varsity coach for the Tigers the past four seasons, the loss of Carmody, Young, Robins and assistant Joe Scott -- the new head man at Air Force -- in one summer will be hard to swallow. "The impact will be tremendous," Hill said. "Obviously, losing two great minds with Carmody and Scott is going to be tough." While some Ivy fans may take pleasure in seeing a virtual dismantling of the Princeton program, others closer to the action lament the loss of another dedicated competitor. "It's obviously not the ideal situation," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said of Carmody's departure. "But I think Princeton has some very talented basketball players, and they'll be a good team. "Congratulations to John. We wish him the best of luck. I'm sure [the Princeton games] will be two very competitive games for us." Other names mentioned as possible successors at Princeton during the one-day vacancy included Hill and Scott, who moved to Air Force just this past spring. Contacted before the confirmation of Thompson's promotion yesterday, Hill felt that the Tigers would be on the best path by staying in-house for a successor. "I think J.T. should carry the torch," Hill said. "No one has called me, and I'm not trying to wait for a call. But I think it's natural that since J.T. has been there for five years that he'll move up." This will be Thompson's first head coaching position, but he has built strong bonds with players as an assistant over the past few seasons. "He's well respected," Young told the Associated Press yesterday. "He's a good guy and he knows what he is doing. He's very easy to talk to. I think he'll be a player's coach.

W. Lax hits wall in loss at Temple

(04/28/00 9:00am)

The Red and Blue couldn't push their way past the Owls, who held Off Penn's second-half comeback try. It seems all too familiar. The Penn women's lacrosse team spotted Temple a five-goal second-half lead, then stormed back to within two goals, only to be turned away by the Owls, 15-11. The Quakers (5-8) have now lost six consecutive games, several of which have ended in this fashion. "It's about consistency," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "It's also about confidence. When we score, it's like nothing. But when they score, it's like the end of the world. So we score one goal, and they score three." A major problem for the Quakers yesterday -- as well as in recent losses to Rutgers and Brown -- was maintaining momentum over the entire course of the game. Penn goals by freshmen Christy Bennett, Crissy Book, Kate Murray and Bess Lochocki sparked the Quakers to a 4-1 run that brought the visitors to within 10-8 with 13 minutes left. The Penn bench was alive and screaming, and the team was active up and down the field. But when Owls sophomore Jen Jefferson found the net to raise the Temple lead back to three goals, the Quakers fell silent, and a major let-down could be sensed in the Penn contingent. The Owls (8-7) netted four straight goals, three within a two-minute span, to go up 14-8 and break the Quakers' back. "You get this self-confidence and enthusiasm when you score, but it just fades," Lochocki said. "We're trying to figure it out, it's got to be a mental problem." The Red and Blue came out sluggish on the turf in North Philadelphia, and Owls star Kelly Ruch took full advantage of the situation. Ruch -- whose six goals yesterday gives her 54 for the spring -- scored one goal and assisted on another in the first four minutes, as Temple went up 2-0. Penn's Traci Marabella answered at the 22-minute mark, but then the home squad responded with another pair of tallies. Held scoreless for over a 10-minute stretch, it appeared the Quakers might be in for a repeat of last season's 15-1 defeat at the hands of the Owls. But Penn's Brooke Jenkins netted a pair of goals, and Whitney Horton's strong move to net and low left-handed score brought Penn to within 6-4 with five minutes left in the first frame. "I think it was key that we had the lead at halftime," said Temple coach Kim Ciarrocca, whose Owls extended their lead back to 8-4 at intermission. "We're young, and we're making some dumb mistakes still. So I was happy to see we were up by four or five goals at the half." As happy as Ciarrocca was at her team's two tallies -- both by Ruch -- in the last 68 seconds of the first half, Brower must have been equally as disappointed. Even after a fiery halftime speech, the Quakers remained on the low end of the roller coaster that is momentum, as Ruch scored another goal merely nine seconds after the half's opening draw. From this point, however, Penn's Alaina Harper took charge in the net. Having replaced Christian Stover midway through the first half, Harper dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half. The freshman saved several free position shots by the Owls and was a force in the cage. "Penn's goalie must have had 15 saves today. She did a nice job of shutting us down," Ciarrocca said. "We fell apart for 10 or 15 minutes, and Penn absolutely capitalized on it." The Quakers did capitalize, but, once again, it proved not to be enough. Murray's goal and Lochocki's first of three tallies brought Penn to within two at 10-8 and rattled the Owls into taking a timeout and switching goalies. It appeared that the Quakers were going to make a bid for the lead, but a combination of ill-advised Penn passes led to turnovers. And a strong Temple offense proved to be too much for the Red and Blue. "We were letting their cutters go in from the top and shoot pretty easily," said Book, who played for the second straight game with a heavily taped-up sprained ankle. Jefferson and Ruch combined on three quick goals to devastate the Quakers. The experienced Owls used their dominance in the face-off arena, as well as a a profound size advantage at several positions, to pound out the victory. Lochocki added her second and third scores of the afternoon within a 16-second span, and freshman Lindsay Smith netted her fourth of the spring, but it was too little too late. "My confidence has finally come back to me," Lochocki said. "I finally feel like I'm playing like myself." Penn heads into its final game of the spring at Monmouth tomorrow afternoon in a tailspin. The team shines at times on both ends of the field, but must deal with the volatile gambit that its emotions and momentum seem to run if it is to have a chance at a season-ending victory. "There's one game left, and basically we said to them that we worked eight months for these 14 games, and this is the last one," Brower said. "And they can either go away from this season feeling good, or go away with seven losses in a row. It's definitely a winnable game."

W. Lax squanders late lead

(04/24/00 9:00am)

Brown's six-goal run in the last 12:25 ended Penn's bid for a second Ivy win. It was the one that got away. Despite taking a two-goal lead deep into the second half against Brown on Saturday, the Penn women's lacrosse team could not hang on for the victory, falling 9-5 to the Bears. Six consecutive Brown goals to close out the contest undid the Quakers (5-7, 1-6 Ivy), who stumbled to their fifth straight defeat. "It's very frustrating right now. We're making the same mistakes over and over again," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "This is like Harvard [an 11-9 loss] again -- a team we can beat, and we don't play well. They were not doing what we were asking them to do. They weren't moving the ball quick enough in the midfield." Behind five scores from five different players, Penn took control of the game after falling behind 3-1 and staked itself to a 5-3 lead in the second half. But led by three second-half goals by senior Cristi Gigon, Brown (5-7, 2-4) roared back for six goals in the final 12:25 to deny the Quakers their second Ivy victory. Penn netminder Christian Stover made 18 saves, but she was unable to fully compensate for a series of defensive breakdowns and a rejuvenated Bears attack late in the second frame. "Today we found the determination to win, regardless of what Penn was doing," Brown coach Theresa Ingram said. "Penn came out there very strong in the second half, and I don't think we matched the intensity initially. But we did in the end." Shortly after the yearly awards had been given out to the Quakers' four seniors in a pre-game ceremony, it looked like Penn would be in for a long afternoon. Brown took advantage of a player left alone behind the net and a free-position shot to ring up two scores just six minutes in. But Brower called a timeout to settle her squad down, and the move worked. Crissy Book scored for the Quakers 60 seconds after the timeout to make it 2-1, and the teams settled in for 10 minutes of scoreless play. The Bears broke the drought on a free-position shot by Elise Roy, but Traci Marabella and Emily Foote -- a Daily Pennsylvanian sports writer -- put home a pair of scores to send the game to the half tied at 3. In the 15 minutes following the break, a stronger Penn team emerged. The Quakers spent a majority of the time in the Brown end as Foote, Marabella, Brooke Jenkins and Jenny Hartman all had strong chances. Hartman was the one to finally beat Bears keeper Niki Caggiano to give Penn its first lead at 4-3. Marabella lobbed a pass from behind the net, which Hartman received above her head and slammed home into the Brown net. After Quakers freshman Whitney Horton hit the post seconds later, Penn extended its lead to 5-3 with 15 minutes left on the first career goal of Bess Lochocki. Normally a defender, Lochocki scored from a free position in front of a crowd that included her high school's team. "I've only played attack a couple of times in a game, but I was bumped up to play both sides because we have some girls that play midfield that are injured," Lochocki said. "The free position was the second one I've had all season, and I was so happy to score on it. I knew my high school would be here, and I was really, really nervous." But for Penn, this first was also a last -- the Quakers did not find the net the rest of the afternoon. Meanwhile, a succession of Penn fouls leading to Brown free-position goals left the home contingent bewildered. "I would say that after we were up by the two goals, there was a wave of enthusiasm that went through the team. And then as soon as they scored again, it was like everyone dropped back down," Lochocki said. Two of Gigon's tallies came from the free position, and the third -- with 8:41 remaining -- was the difference in the game. "I [didn't have] a good first half, so I got a little bit frustrated and upset with myself. And for me, I play better when I get mad," said Gigon, who had a goal waved off late in the first half because she was in the crease. The game stayed at 7-5 in favor of Brown for six tense minutes, as a Jenkins effort went high on a free-position shot, an offensive foul was called in close on Hartman and a diving shot was sent wide right by Book. The Bears added two goals in the final 35 seconds for the final tally. "I think the thing that killed us was we were letting their girls catch it instead of playing up on them from the start," Stover said. "Our defense did really well, but we had a lot of lapses. And I think from the goals I let in, it brought the defense down a little bit." Strong Quakers efforts on defense were turned in again by Christy Bennett and Book. Both Book and Marabella played the full game despite heavily taped sprained ankles. These efforts, however, were overshadowed by a gaggle of Penn miscues, as a game that was eminently winnable slipped away. "We had stupid, stupid fouls. The too many players over the restraining line -- that's not thinking," Brower said. "I don't know what it takes. The next two games are winnable, but not if we play like that."

Brown in town to visit W. Lax

(04/21/00 9:00am)

Penn welcomes the Bears for the final Ivy game of the year - a battle for sixth place. Perhaps it is only fitting that on Easter weekend the Penn women's lacrosse team will try to resurrect its season. In the midst of a four-game skid, the Quakers (5-6, 1-4 Ivy) are hopeful they can right their ship and spring back into the win column when they host Brown (4-7, 1-4) at Franklin Field at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Both teams head into this contest on a downturn. The Bears come in as losers of six of their last seven, while Penn has dropped four consecutive games to Harvard, Rutgers, No. 9 Dartmouth and No. 2 Princeton. But although the Quakers' last two losses have been verifiable blowouts, 18-7 to the Big Green and 19-4 to the Tigers, the home squad still heads in on a high note of sorts. "Going into the stretch with Rutgers, Dartmouth and Princeton, I think we were all kind of intimidated that this was going to be a lot all at once," Penn defender Ella Masson said. "But I think we're going to take all of that sort of seeing-and-learning from them and show Brown what we are. I'm looking forward to it." This kind of attitude has permeated the Quakers locker room of late, as the team looks to win the battle for sixth place in the Ivies against an offensively-challenged Brown squad. "I think these two games didn't hurt us by any means," said Penn coach Karin Brower of the Dartmouth and Princeton losses. "Like I told them, I think we've gotten better since Harvard. We've played the whole game; and we hustled; and we played with heart. "We need to think of Brown as a Princeton and Dartmouth and do whatever it takes to play that hard, and I think we can beat them." A year ago, the Quakers closed out a dismal 1-12 campaign with a disappointing 13-2 loss to the Bears in Providence. Twelve months later, Penn is one win away from amassing its most victories since 1994 and may actually enter this game as a favorite. "We approach a lot of our games the same, but we know that Penn has done a lot better this spring," Brown assistant coach Missy Holmes said. "The way our season has gone this year, we can't take anybody for granted. And we really wouldn't do that for Penn, [after] seeing them play some of their games, and, obviously, with the new coach and some new excitement down there, they're going to be a threat for us on Saturday." Offensively -- at least on paper -- the Quakers seem to have a slight edge on the Bears. As a team, Brown has accumulated only 89 goals through 11 games, compared to 115 for Penn. Sophomore attacker Traci Marabella leads Penn with 27 goals, and is followed by senior tri-captain Brooke Jenkins, who has 22. Four freshmen --Crissy Book, Jayme Munnelly, Kate Murray and Whitney Horton -- have also reached double-digits in points for the Quakers this spring. By contrast, the Bears are led by senior Cristi Gigon's 21 tallies and six assists, as well as by senior Keely McDonald (18 goals in 1999). "Christi is just a really threatening attacker. She has the ability to go left and right, and she's a good feeder. She just has a lot of weapons and is good to have down there," Holmes said. "But we're a fairly young team -- we have seven seniors, but beyond that, a lot of the team is sophomores and freshmen, so we're still in the learning phase." Charged with stopping Gigon and the Brown front-line will be Quakers goalie Christian Stover, and Penn's defensive line of Masson, Lee Ann Sechovicz, Amy Weinstein and Christy Bennett. Stover made 22 saves at Princeton on Wednesday, but also faced an astoundingly high total of 41 shots. The Quakers defense has allowed an average of 16 goals in the last four games, but this has been against competition where Penn's backline had been forced to work serious overtime. Against the Bears -- who fell to Yale, 12-3, and Cornell, 11-6, in its past two appearances -- the Quakers will look to reverse that trend. "And I think if we can build on these last two games, it's a good way for us to go into Brown," said Brower after the Princeton loss. "I was proud of my team, especially defensively and of Christian in the cage." Tomorrow's contest is the Quakers final home match of the 2000 campaign and the final game at Franklin Field for seniors Jenkins, Sechovicz, Melissa Rantz and Bethany Stafford. The usual pre-game ceremonies are already scheduled, but what may be more important to the Quakers is that a postgame -- and post-win -- celebration take place as well. "This will be the end of my eighth season at Franklin Field," said Jenkins, who has also labored in the fall with the Penn field hockey team for the past four years. "I've never had a season off since I was seven -- I don't know what I'll do."

No. 2 Tigers rout W. Lax at Old Nassau

(04/20/00 9:00am)

The Quakers looked good early, but a ong scoring drought gave Princeton the 19-4 victory. PRINCETON, N.J. -- Taken at face value, the Penn women's lacrosse team's fourth consecutive loss might seem to signal a death knell to the squad's season. But while the Quakers fell hard, 19-4, the loss was at the hands of No. 2 Princeton and could not be taken entirely as negative. "Bottom line, they're a better team. They're the No. 2 team in the country, and even though you don't want to go into a game thinking that you're going to lose, they're that good. And I'd like to see them take the national championship," said Penn coach Karin Brower, a former assistant at Princeton. "Honestly, I think this was one of the best games we've played, despite the score. We were more aggressive than we've ever been. "They never gave up, and they played with a lot of heart. And that was what I asked of them today." The Quakers (5-6, 1-5 Ivy League) knew they would be in for their toughest game at Old Nassau. The Tigers (12-1, 5-0) have defeated nine ranked opponents, and they own a defense that has allowed fewer than seven goals per contest. And while Penn knew it would be the underdog of underdogs on the grass of Palmer Field, it still headed in believing it could be a spoiler. Princeton had other plans, though, and three different Tigers netted the first three scores over the first nine minutes. The Quakers stayed in the game, however, with an early goal by Whitney Horton and two goals just a minute apart from Traci Marabella and Brooke Jenkins which made the score 7-3 midway through the first half. "I thought Penn did a good job moving the ball early against our defense. We were back on our heels, and we weren't alert," Princeton coach Chris Sailer said. "They had a couple of really good scoring opportunities and even hit the post. But then we were able to sort it out." Princeton was definitely able to sort it out, as from that point on, the game was all Orange and Black. Using an aggressive defense and multi-faceted offense, the Tigers rolled off 10 consecutive goals and held Penn scoreless for over 34 minutes. "I think that this was one of those games where I was really concentrating on seeing the ball and making sure I knew what shot was being taken," Princeton goalie Laura Field said. The Quakers took 17 shots, but were unable to convert even a quarter of them against Field and the Tigers D. "Princeton has the best defense we've come across," Brower said. "I was trying to get them to shoot early, and we told them to shoot low. But they just were telegraphing -- they just weren't taking the smart shots. We shot a lot of no-angle shots." When Jenkins finally found the net again for Penn with four minutes remaining, it was 17-4 and the home squad was rolling to its seventh straight win over the Quakers. "Princeton just took control of the game," Jenkins said. "They have a good defense -- that's what they're known for. We lost the ball a lot going into the midfield and the attack. And we knew we needed to shoot low but we didn't." While a quick glance at the scoreboard might indicate complete annihilation, there were some bright spots for the Red and Blue. Christian Stover made 22 saves for Penn and held the Tigers to one goal on seven free-position chances. And Christy Bennett, Amy Weinstein and the Quakers' collective defense put forth a solid showing against their intimidating, top-flight opponent. "We lost 19-4, but we played our hearts out and that showed defensively," Penn defender Ella Masson said. "I think we just all get fired up and take all the risks that we can in these games because we are the underdog. There's nothing to lose out, so we just go out and do what we can." Penn's active defense stymied the Tigers at times but committed 16 fouls to the Tigers' eight. The Quakers did, however, win the battle for ground balls, 37-to-33. "I was proud of my team, especially defensively and especially of Christian in the cage," Brower said. "I told them not to be upset about this, and [Princeton] is better and should beat us. But I don't think the score is really indicative of how we played them. "And I think if we can build on these last two games, it's a good way for us to go into Brown."

W. Lax loses third straight game

(04/17/00 9:00am)

Despite a fast start, the Quakers fell on the road to No. 9 Dartmouth. Going into its game with No. 9 Dartmouth on Saturday, the Penn women's lacrosse team knew it would be in for a long afternoon. But after a quarter of the game had been played, the Quakers (5-5, 1-4 Ivy League) found themselves very much even with the Big Green (8-1, 5-0). Two early goals by sophomore Traci Marabella and a tally by freshman Christy Bennett kept Penn close at 4-3 with 14 minutes left in the first half. The Quakers, however, ultimately could not keep up with the defending Ivy champs, and the home squad pulled away to a 10-4 lead at the break and to an 18-7 victory. All-Americans Jacque Weitzel and Kate Graw combined for five of the Big Green's goals in a 6-1 run late in the first half that broke the game open. "They're just a better team, and they should have beaten us. But I don't think they should have beaten us that badly. I would say they should have beaten us maybe by five or six goals, but I don't think it should have been 11 goals," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "Midfield transition, they doubled real hard and were really aggressive. And then their attackers are just stronger and more physical and go to goal harder than anyone we've seen." Still, the margin was a far cry from last year's blowout at Franklin Field, when the Big Green blitzed Penn by a 20-2 count. Marabella, the Red and Blue's leading scorer did her best to match the Big Green on the scoreboard, tallying four goals, but it was not enough to keep the Quakers hopes alive. The sophomore took a blow to the head early in the first half that required stitches after the game, but stayed on the field after sustaining the injury. "I thought Traci had her best game of the season. She was much better this game, and she had five shots on goal and scored four. She hustled much more in the midfield and came up with the turnovers," Brower said. Penn also received a first-half goal from Crissy Book and a late score from Kate Murray. But Dartmouth goalie Sarah Hughes was able to save 13 shots, and the Big Green offense rolled along, scoring five of the first six goals of the second frame. The Quakers, however, were unable to generate a consistent attack, constantly stymied by not having possession of the ball. "The thing that bothered me was that we didn't have possession that much. Dartmouth would bring the ball down and pass it around for a while and then move it into the middle for a shot," said Penn senior Brooke Jenkins, who noted that the Quakers were unable to follow this same pattern when they brought the ball up. "We forced some turnovers, but they're solid with the ball." With the loss, the Quakers have fallen in three consecutive games, dropping to just 1-4 in Ivy play. And while Penn knew that Dartmouth would be one of its tougher opponents, it was looking to possibly surprise the Big Green powerhouse. But once again, the Quakers defense struggled at times. Though Penn received strong defensive play from Bennett -- who held Weitzel in check for most of the game -- and Whitney Horton, the Quakers were hampered by the need to go with a goalie by committee system. In Wednesday's 15-11 loss at Rutgers, freshman Alaina Harper started in net for Penn and was replaced by junior Christian Stover at the break. Against Dartmouth, the opposite took place, with Stover recording six first-half saves against 10 goals allowed and Harper notching four second-half saves against eight goals. "We had some defensive errors and just didn't communicate too well on defense, and we didn't save a lot of balls," Brower said. "Christian had six saves and 10 goals against, and you can't stay in with that. Both Christian and Alaina have been playing about the same. If one of them goes in and plays great, they'll stay in. "But right now we seem to have to change because we need to try something else. We just need to come up with more saves -- that's the biggest thing." The road doesn't get any easier for the Quakers from here, as the team travels to the other preseason favorite in the Ivies -- No. 2 Princeton -- for a game on Wednesday afternoon. Penn is still optimistic about its chances in that game, but it is an optimism tempered by the Red and Blue's play in Hanover, N.H., over the weekend. "For our team, it's a learning experience," Brower said. "We played better than we've been playing. [But] if we want to get to be at that level of Princeton and Dartmouth, there are definitely individual things that we need to do."

Late W. Lax rally comes up just short

(04/13/00 9:00am)

Despite six consecutive goals in the closing minutes, Penn lost its second straight to Rutgers, 15-11. NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- For the second consecutive game, the Penn women's lacrosse team used a late comeback to bring it to the brink of victory, only to not get the final push to put it over the top. On the strength of six goals from captain Liz Chambers, Rutgers (5-6) jumped out to a 9-3 halftime lead and held off a furious Penn (5-4) rally in the closing minutes to defeat the Quakers, 15-11. "I'm really happy with the first half. We did what we were supposed to do -- aggressive defense and attacking the goal cage," Scarlet Knights coach Anna Marie Vesco said. "And then in the second half, Penn just wanted it more." Penn senior Brooke Jenkins netted three goals while Jenny Hartman, Traci Marabella and Kate Murray each added a pair, but Rutgers goalie Lauren Gulotta made 12 saves to ensure the victory. "Defensively, everyone didn't do a good job of denying the ball. Our biggest thing was turning the ball over in the midfield and letting them come in on fast breaks," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "We had a great comeback for the last 10 minutes, but you can't get in a hole that big and expect to come back and win against a team of this caliber." Down 13-5 with 13 minutes remaining, Alison Polk-Williams found the net for the Quakers, spurring Penn on to another late comeback. On Sunday, the Quakers scored five straight late goals in an 11-9 loss to Harvard. Yesterday, behind Murray's two goals, a pair from Jenkins and a score from Marabella, Penn brought the Rutgers lead down to 13-11 with three minutes left. That was as close as the Quakers would get. "It's so frustrating. We know we have the potential to score all the time and to play that way, but it just doesn't hit us until the second half," Hartman said. Two goals by Chambers in the final minutes sealed the Quakers' fate. "I'm just glad we won," Chambers said. The start of the game, much like the final 10 minutes, looked promising for the Red and Blue. Jenkins started the scoring two minutes in off a pass from Jayme Munnelly, and Penn had several early opportunities deep in the Scarlet Knights zone. Rutgers tied it on a free-position shot by Andrea Boeheim, but Hartman responded 20 seconds later. The sophomore fired a shot off of Gulotta's mask, got the rebound and put it home to give Penn a 2-1 lead. "I was definitely pumped to score a goal and get ahead early, but then it kind of fell apart," said Hartman, ecstatic at having scored on Gulotta, a former high school teammate. "I think we have a tendency to score some early goals and then sort of relax." The entire night, the host Scarlet Knights proved to be difficult to handle on attack. A quick team, Rutgers constantly found themselves getting behind the Penn defense on fast breaks and on set plays. While Chambers was the focal point of the home squad's attack, the Scarlet Knights had four players score more than once. Quakers goalie Alaina Harper, in her first collegiate start, was peppered with shot after shot in the first half. The freshman made a number of saves, but nine Rutgers blasts found their way past her. "Of course I was nervous, but I knew the coaches and my teammates had faith in me, so that was comforting," Harper said. "As a team we decided to step it up -- we decided that 9-3 was not the team that we were." Penn junior Christian Stover, who started the Quakers' first eight games, took over in net for the second half. Stover fared slightly better against the slippery Rutgers attack, allowing six goals in the final 30 minutes. The keeper was helped immensely as freshman Christy Bennett and the Penn defense clamped down and forced a plethora of second-half turnovers. In a messy game with a number of turnovers on each side, the Quakers were also plagued by a spate of fouls. Nearly every call in the first 30 minutes seemed to give Rutgers the ball, and the home team scored three free-position goals on the afternoon.

W. Lax and keeper are in a zone

(04/07/00 9:00am)

Hosting Harvard, Penn and goalie Christian Stover aim for their fourth consecutive win. At the midpoint of its season, the Penn women's lacrosse team heads into Sunday's 1 p.m. Franklin Field match against Harvard with a three-game winning streak and a burgeoning sense of confidence. Goal production and team morale are both up considerably for the Quakers from this point a year ago, but it may just be the one thing that is on a downswing that is most responsible for Penn's (5-2, 1-2) success -- the number of goals allowed. Junior goaltender Christian Stover is the last line of defense for the Quakers, and the three-year starter has done an admirable job this spring. After posting a 13.52 goals-against-average in 1999, Stover has worked this figure down to an 8.71 average through seven games. "There's been a huge change defensively. I think Christian has done a great job, and I think Carey Sebastian, our goalie coach, has done a tremendous job with her," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "Christian understands now how to come out for the ball, and is always moving forward, which you need to do as a goalie. "She has improved so much -- not only since the fall, but since we started in February." Not one to take sole credit for her improved goal average, Stover mentioned a more coordinated, more aggressive team defense and an intense fall practice slate as reasons for her higher level of success in the cage. "I would say the entire defense is responsible for the change," Stover said. "I still think that my goals-against-average should go down, and that is because of my mistakes. But I think the reason why it has gone down so much is because of how we're playing as a unit more and helping each other out. When a girl comes in, we close on her so she can't get a shot off." Hard work and long hours are nothing new to the junior from Rowayton, Conn., who can be found spending her time in the fourth-floor studios of Meyerson Hall, feverishly working on projects for her Design of the Environment class. It is not unusual for Stover to spend upwards of five hours a day in the confines of Meyerson, leaving only for other classes, lacrosse practice and the occasional bout with sleep. But as the old adage says, that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. "I think it's a toss-up between lacrosse and DOE for which takes up the most time," Stover said. "When I leave my house, everyone is always like, 'Where are you going, are you going to practice?' And I'm like, 'No, not today, it's our day off'; and they say, 'Oh, so studio then?'. "It's always one or the other, it's never anything else." A potential conflict for the Penn netminder may arise in three weeks when the two most important interests in her life collide head-on. Stover's final critique for her Architecture class gets underway just 90 minutes before the Quakers' game at Temple -- possibly leading her to arrive just minutes before gametime. Stover stepped into the limelight at Penn midway through her freshman year against this same Owls squad. The Quakers lost to No. 6 Temple, 13-4, in that game, but Stover rebounded to post two wins that season. "I think definitely my first game against Temple, when they were top-10 in the nation at that point, was one of the most exciting games. I just went in there and played, and had a blast," Stover said, also mentioning games against high school teammates now on Notre Dame and Dartmouth as collegiate highlights. Whether it's late nights in the studio, running in the snow in the winter or practicing with the other Quakers goalies, Stover is always hard at work. And easily scared, too. "The goalies play racquetball for hand-eye coordination, and a couple of days ago we were playing and I hit one off the wall and it skimmed right by her head," Penn senior goalie Melissa Rantz recounted. "She started screaming the highest high-pitch squeal you have ever heard. And she freaked out and was shaking the rest of the day and couldn't do anything. "But that doesn't happen on the field. It's the helmet thing -- it's like our guard, so when she's got her helmet on, she's fine." This spring, despite dividing her energies between class projects and dodging shots whizzing by her head, Stover has shown great focus. The junior's save percentage stands at 61 percent, up from 48 percent last spring. Against Harvard, Stover will be coming up against a familiar face -- Crimson keeper Keltie Donelan, a former high school teammate. "Keltie and I split time freshman year, and she definitely helped me out a lot when I was starting out," Stover said. "Last year she played in the game against us, and I really wanted to beat Harvard and to play better than she did. It's always fun when you have someone that you know on the other side -- you just kind of want to show them what you can do." Harvard fell, 12-2, to No. 11 Boston University on Wednesday, allowing 11 consecutive goals to end the game. Donelan saw 20 minutes of action to close the game, allowing four goals. This could be a fortuitous sign for Penn's leading scorers Traci Marabella (17 goals), Brooke Jenkins (15 goals) and Crissy Book (11 goals). The Crimson will be countering on offense with juniors Alli Harper and Lauren Corkery. Corkery scored two goals in the Crimson's 11-5 victory over Penn last year. "[Harper and Corkery] both have the ability to get in to get the shot off, and they're just tough competitors," Harvard coach Carole Kleinfelder said. "I think you're looking at a very different Penn team from last year, so I expect the game to be much tighter."

W. Lax wins third in a row with flair

(04/05/00 9:00am)

The Quakers cruised past visiting La Salle last night at Franklin Field. This one was over almost as soon as it began. The Penn women's lacrosse team scored on its first two shots and put home 12 first-half goals en route to a 18-6 thrashing of La Salle (1-7) last night at Franklin Field. The victory was the Quakers' (5-2) third straight and gave the team an extra measure of self-assuredness heading into a tougher Ivy League slate in the upcoming weeks. "It was very good for our confidence to score that easily on our fast break, and it was real nice that everybody played tonight," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "That was kind of the goal -- we knew that we could beat La Salle, and I was hoping we could do it relatively easily. "All of the games from now on are a lot tougher, so it's nice to have this win now. It helps with our confidence and with team camaraderie." Quakers freshman attacker Kate Murray opened the scoring 90 seconds in with a fast-break goal courtesy of a pass from junior Annie Henderson. One minute later, the duo hooked up again to make it 2-0, and Henderson followed shortly thereafter with a goal of her own to give the home team a quick three-goal lead. "Those first goals were just off of fast breaks, which really worked well tonight," Henderson said. "Towards the end, Karin really wanted us to settle down and set up our plays, but in the beginning most of the goals were just coming in from the top." La Salle coach Jenn Harpel called a timeout after Penn's third goal to settle her team, and the move paid immediate dividends. Following a defensive sequence that saw the Quakers pick up three fouls and a yellow card, Explorers midfielder Mary Quinlan found the net to cut the Penn lead to 3-1. "Going in, we knew that Penn had good speed, and we tried to adjust to that. But our kids just got planted a little bit too soon on defense and couldn't make the adjustment," Harpel said. "But the thing that hurt us was that 10-minute period where they pretty much had a goal run." Seconds after the La Salle goal, the floodgates opened. Traci Marabella netted two scores, Brooke Jenkins chipped in a pair, and Murray, Henderson, Jayme Munnelly and Alison Polk-Williams all found the net as Penn tallied eight goals in an 11-minute span. When the barrage finally subsided, the score was 11-2, the Explorers were on their second goaltender, the Quakers were on their second string and the outcome was all but decided. La Salle, in its third season as a varsity program, got four goals from sophomore Jami Wilus, who was the focal point of its attack. But the Explorers struggled to match the speed and the aggressive defense of Penn. "We definitely have a lot of speed, especially with the freshmen. And with their speed, and the settling abilities of Brooke [Jenkins] and -- I like to think -- myself, we're able to strike up a good balance," Henderson said. "This was the game where we really wanted to come out and explode offensively early on, and I think we were taking advantage of what we had." With the considerable halftime lead, Brower used this opportunity to give all of her players game experience. Penn's freshmen responded, as Lindsay Smith and Abigail Franchot each recorded their first collegiate goals. Smith tallied a hat trick, including a field hockey-esque slapshot for her first collegiate score. "The first one, at first I thought it was a trashy goal, but I guess it was a good one," Smith said. "It was very satisfying to be able to get into the game and to help the team out. This is the second game I've gotten in, and it shows me and proves to me why I play lacrosse and why I actually go to all practices and work." Freshman Dalton Cox contributed a goal and three assists, and Emily Foote, a Daily Pennsylvanian sports reporter, finished off the Quakers scoring. Penn goalie Christian Stover made six saves in a half of work, and Alaina Harper and Melissa Rantz held La Salle to three second-half goals. Knowing the tough Ivy slate that awaits the Quakers, Brower scheduled this game in an attempt to help her squad bolster its confidence and to "learn how to win." With a 30-to-21 edge in ground balls and a 28-to-17 edge in shots, Penn can consider those goals achieved. "It was a great win because it was a complete team effort," Smith said. "I think everything was really in control. We were doing the fundamentals really well."

Dynamic freshman duo spurs on W. Lax as it hosts LaSalle

(04/04/00 9:00am)

After struggling through a 1-12 season last spring, the Penn women's lacrosse team brought in a new coach, a new attitude and a number of new faces. And these newest Quakers have made immediate impacts. As Penn (4-2) prepares to face La Salle (1-5) at Franklin Field at 7 p.m. tonight, they will be led by two freshmen who have already distinguished themselves. Coatesville High School (Pa.) teammates Christy Bennett and Crissy Book have enjoyed considerable success as rookie starters. Book is Penn's third-leading scorer, with 10 goals and five assists; Bennett is one of the squads strongest defenders, with a team-high 12 ground balls. "I'm very happy with what they've done and I'm excited for the future," Quakers coach Karin Brower said. "They push each other more than any other two in practice. They attack each other all over the field, and they make each other better players." The duo has known each other since second grade, and a one-year hiatus when Book moved to Florida notwithstanding, have played alongside each other year-in and year-out. "I've always played midfield, and Christy was an attack wing in high school," Book said. "But there was never a rivalry. In high school Christy was always the top dog. We've always been competitive." Initially, Book was recruited to play for Penn by former coach Anne Sage and was unsure if Bennett would choose to join her. But after fluctuating between several college choices, Bennett decided to come to West Philadelphia -- and to spend another four years playing alongside Book. "We always had a good connection in high school and we knew where on the field each of us was for the passes kind of instinctively," Bennett said. "Now we're not necessarily looking for each other on the field, but when we practice against each other, we go a little bit harder." In high school, the duo formed quite the potent offensive threat, with both picking up All-Chester County honors. Bennett was also named an honorable mention All-American. At Penn, in the more competitive college game, however, things began to change. Despite initial reluctance, Bennett moved from her natural attacking slot to the unfamiliar position of defense. But in only five games, Bennett has proven to be one of the Quakers' most intimidating defenders. Brower, for one, is impressed by the play of her physical freshman. "She's very vocal, and she's a big leader out there as a freshman," the first-year coach said. "I couldn't really ask any more of her." But, admittedly, Bennett still likes to try for the odd goal or two. "I'm not minding it too bad," said Bennett, who has two goals and two assists. "I still like to get over the line when I can and try for a goal. But I'd rather play defense than sit and wait for an attack spot to open up." Book, on the other hand, plays the same role she did at Coatesville -- the speedster who is all over the field. Book exploded into Penn's offense with a four-goal outburst at Villanova. "Crissy has just great speed and is gifted naturally," Brower said. "And where her speed helps us the most is on defensive transition, when they're bringing the ball on a fast break. She is so quick she can get down there and stop a fast break a lot of times." Now on opposite sides of the ball, the two are destined to find themselves matched up in practice. While this has produced some fierce competition, they find a way to work through their differences to remain friends off the field. Well, almost. "We live in the same neighborhood at home, but if we'd lived in the same room this year, we'd kill each other," said Book, who confessed that the pair will nonetheless share an apartment with a third friend next year. "We didn't live together this year, because we figured if we were in the same room we'd kill each other," Bennett echoed. "She's a little less neat that I am, and I'm spastic about that." Against La Salle, while Bennett and Book are just sharing a field, and not a room, they'll still have to worry about being neat, as Penn looks to pick up a third straight win. The Quakers have struggled to remain consistent and to execute from game to game, fluctuating from nine-goal victories to 10-goal defeats. But if prior games are any indication, La Salle may not be the most difficult opponent. The Explorers fell by nine goals to a Villanova squad that Penn handled 14-7. "Obviously, La Salle got beaten pretty handily by Villanova. I definitely think we should win this game if we stay to our game plan," Brower said. "But we're kind of yo-yoing -- we're not playing consistently."

W. Lax tops Lions for first Ivy victory

(04/03/00 9:00am)

The third time is always the charm. After dropping its first two Ivy contests, the Penn women's lacrosse team came up victorious in its third Ivy League game, downing Columbia, 11-7, at Franklin Field on Saturday afternoon. The Lions (3-3, 0-3 Ivy) grabbed an early 2-1 lead, but the Quakers (4-2, 1-2) responded with five unanswered goals to close out the first half up 6-2, and the Red and Blue were never seriously threatened in the final 30 minutes of play. With the win, the Quakers are on their first two-game winning streak in over two years. Columbia, meanwhile, remains winless in Ivy play in three seasons of varsity competition. "I think that going into it, all of us knew that we would win, but we knew also that Columbia was going to be really psyched up. They thought we were the closest ones for them to beat in the Ivy League," Penn goalie Christian Stover said. "I don't know if it was just because we were overconfident, or because of the weather, or what, but we just weren't playing up to our level. "I think that we should have won by a lot more." Penn was once again led on offense by sophomore Traci Marabella, who found the net three times. Marabella, who leads the Quakers with 15 goals, beat the Columbia netminder just 89 seconds in, off a pass from freshman Jayme Munnelly, to put Penn up 1-0. Columbia quickly retaliated with early goals from senior captain Sara Brubaker and junior midfielder Devin Fitzpatrick to take an unexpected 2-1 lead. But after those tallies, the Lions were unable to find the net again before the break. Much like in Penn's 11-8 win over Lafayette on Tuesday, the Quakers recovered from a slow start to take a 6-2 lead into the break. "I think we came out a little too confident," Penn defender Christy Bennett said. "We just weren't really playing, weren't really running like we should have been. When they were up, it just gave us that quick scare that we needed to realize that we really had to play and that we weren't going to roll over for them." While Munnelly and fellow freshman Crissy Book joined Marabella as multiple-goal scorers for Penn, no Lions player scored more than once or could establish herself as a consistent threat. Both Munnelly and Book added an assist, as the Quakers attack moved the ball up the field well. "We weren't as aggressive as in other games," Penn senior captain Brooke Jenkins said. "But our midfield transition was very good. We were fine in the middle of the field." Lions goalie Gina Kline posted 21 saves, but it was not nearly enough, as the Quakers peppered her with more shots than she could handle. In the other cage, Stover came up big with 18 saves, upping her save percentage to over 60 percent. The Quakers success in stopping Columbia's attack, however, lay not just in Stover, but in strong play from the entire defensive corps. "Christy Bennett played awesome. She always does, and she always steps it up," Stover said. "All around, she's just aggressive and makes herself known. She's very prominent on the field -- even as a freshman." Bennett attributed Columbia's low offensive output to preparation and good execution on Penn's part, but was quick to credit her teammates in the victory. "We don't really change our game much for anybody. We just try to do the same strong things over and over -- the passes and the collapsing on the ball," Bennett said. Jenkins, junior Annie Henderson, sophomore Jenny Hartman and freshman Whitney Horton finished off the Quakers' scoring. "I think this is giving us more confidence, but we have to be careful that we don't end up with too much, like we've done before," Bennett said. "We'd like to get a streak going, but we still need to be careful."

W. Lax looks to keep hard-up Lions at bay

(03/31/00 10:00am)

Penn tries for two wins in a row as Columbia pays a visit tomorrow. The Columbia women's lacrosse team is mired in an unenviable streak. After falling by a combined score of 33-1 to Princeton and Dartmouth in the past 10 days, the Lions visit Franklin Field tomorrow to take on Penn, still in search of their first-ever Ivy victory in the three-year history of their program. The Quakers (3-2, 0-2 Ivy League) are coming off an 11-8 win over Lafayette on Tuesday and will try to start a two-game winning streak when the Lions (3-2, 0-2) limp into town for tomorrow's 1 p.m. game. Still, Penn is not taking this game lightly by any means. "We're going to prepare for it the same that we've prepared for all our other games -- and we need an Ivy League win," Quakers senior Brooke Jenkins said. "Columbia has been improving each year, so we need to prepare for anything, because every year they've gotten better. And we had a close game with them last year." Penn's only Ivy win last spring came against the Lions, 10-8. In two-plus years, Columbia is 0-16 in Ivy play, which lends confidence to the Quakers but makes the Lions an even more dangerous team to face. "That's motivation for them, to try to get there first Ivy win. I'm sure that's spurring them on," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "Coach [Celine] Cunningham has done a good job in bringing in some talented new players. But they're definitely a team we can beat." The Lions have struggled mightily to put goals on the board this season and were shut out by No. 2 Princeton, 18-0. Meanwhile, the Quakers have found the net 55 times in five games, including eight tallies at No. 14 Yale. Lions junior Devin Fitzpatrick and sophomore Alissa McCadden are Columbia's offensive leaders -- each has tallied a hat trick once this year. Also on the prowl for the Lions is junior attacker Caroline Samponaro, who netted 21 goals last spring. The Quakers counter with sophomore Traci Marabella (12 goals) and Jenkins (12 goals), who have combined to pull off hat tricks five times through five games. Junior goalie Christian Stover, sporting a 9.75 goals against average, will be charged with stopping the Columbia attack. Penn has followed its first two non-league wins with Ivy losses this season, a trend the team will try to break out of with a win tomorrow. Quakers junior Amy Weinstein, who netted three goals in Penn's win over Columbia last April, has faith that the home team will come away with another victory. "Yeah, we definitely can break out of that streak. We're hungry for an Ivy League win," Weinstein said. "I think it'll be a good matchup. It'll be a good chance for us to really execute the things that we know how to do well and show ourselves and everyone else the type of team we really are." A key to this matchup will be which squad is more aggressive, forces turnovers and gets to the ground balls. On the season, Penn has won 89 ground balls to just 45 for the opposition, but has committed over twice as many fouls in the process. "I thought we hustled and were a lot more aggressive against Lafayette," Jenkins said. "We doubled well in the midfield and got the ball back when we lost it. And we passed more instead of running so much, which was good." The Quakers bring a slight advantage in this game. Jenkins went to high school with Lions sophomore goalie Gina Kline, and Weinstein faced the duo while playing for a rival school. Kline, who has faced a plethora of shots through five games, including 32 versus Princeton, may encounter a few tougher ones from two friendly faces. "Brooke and I both know their goalie real well," Weinstein said. "So I know they've got a really good goalie -- she's strong." Familiarity may not breed contempt in this case, but it may breed goals just the same.

W. Lax to open at home with Lafayette

(03/28/00 10:00am)

Taking to its home turf for the first time in this 2000 season, the Penn women's lacrosse team (2-2) hopes that a big victory is in the cards when it faces Lafayette (1-2) at Franklin Field at 7 p.m. tonight. The Quakers, who have defeated American and Villanova this spring by a combined 16 goals, are hoping to rebound from a lethargic showing in a 15-5 loss at Cornell on Saturday. And the team knows what it can improve upon from that defeat. "Intensity -- in general, as a whole team -- is what we're working on," Penn senior Lee Ann Sechovicz said. The Quakers were held to their lowest goal output this spring in Ithaca, N.Y., taking only 18 shots. The Big Red, by contrast, fired off 42 shots. This discrepancy can be traced to Penn's struggles with ground balls and moving through the midfield against the double-team. "It's not that we have to change a whole lot. We just have to stick to our game and do the things that we do well," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "And you have to win the ground balls, and that's all about heart. "I know this team can do it if they want it badly enough and they do what they're supposed to do." Last season, despite two goals apiece from Brooke Jenkins and Amy Weinstein, Penn fell to the Leopards, 14-7. Jenkins, who is second on the Red and Blue with nine goals this spring, will be called upon to lead the Quakers attack. Joining her are sophomore Traci Marabella (11 goals) and freshmen Crissy Book (eight goals) and Kate Murray (four goals). Although Penn sports a half-dozen frosh in the starting lineup, the youngsters have executed well in their four outings. Freshmen have combined to net 23 of Penn's 44 goals. "I think the freshmen are doing a great job," Sechovicz said. "They're doing exactly what they need to do." The day after the Penn loss to Cornell, Brower -- who has shown great confidence in her first-year players -- traveled to Easton, Pa., to watch Lafayette take on Monmouth. The Leopards picked up their first win, 13-11. "Lafayette is just real aggressive. They really want the ball," Brower said. "Monmouth stepped up the pressure in the second half, and Lafayette kind of fell apart a little bit, but they never lost the lead." One reason why the Leopards did not fall apart was the offensive leadership of sophomore Heather McLelland and senior Olivia Long. McLelland, the 1999 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, netted five goals against Monmouth and has nine on the season. Long, a second team All-Patriot selection last year, has added nine goals of her own. According to Brower, the Leopards offense utilizes speed in much the same way as Cornell did. And while Brower also describes her own squad as "very fast," containing opposing speedsters is something Penn needs to be concerned with. The last time the Quakers defeated the Leopards was at Franklin Field in 1997, by a score of 16-11. Only three current Penn players, senior tri-captains Jenkins, Sechovicz and Bethany Stafford, remain from that squad. But Sechovicz is confident Penn can do it once again on its home turf. "There's something about playing on Franklin Field," Sechovicz said. "And we only have five home games, so we're psyched -- hopefully we'll have a good crowd. "All I know is that we can beat them, and we are going to beat them."

W. Lax looks to start Ivy climb at Cornell

(03/24/00 10:00am)

The Quakers will try to reach 3-1 by beating the explosive Big Red. When the Penn women's lacrosse team travels north to Ithaca to face No. 16 Cornell tomorrow at 1 p.m., it will be bringing one thing along that has been missing for some time -- the confidence that the Quakers can win an Ivy League game. The Quakers (2-1, 0-1 Ivy) struggled to a 1-6 mark in League play a year ago, and going into its Ivy opener this spring at No. 10 Yale, they were unsure of how they would hold up. But a close 9-8 loss to the Elis, followed by a 14-7 Quakers victory over Villanova on Tuesday, has the team confident it can play with anyone. "I think because the team did play Yale tight, that they definitely feel that they can win the game," Penn coach Karin Brower said. "This is a huge game for us, and they're getting to understand that. I think they are getting really excited to play Cornell and to hopefully beat them." To have success tomorrow, though, Penn will need to turn in a strong defensive performance. Cornell (4-0, 0-0 Ivy) brings a high-powered offense into this meeting -- the same offense that raced out to a 7-0 lead on the Quakers last spring and a 9-0 advantage two seasons ago. And though Penn has played well in the second half all season, they once again fell behind early at Yale, 3-0, and Villanova, 3-2, in the past week. "I think we still are getting out kind of slow, but we are definitely picking it up a lot faster than we were last year," Penn goalie Christian Stover said. "Hopefully for Cornell, we can go out there and get an early lead." A young team, the Big Red are led by a quartet of sophomores. Attackers Ginny Miles and Lori Wohschlegel, midfielder Jaimee Reynolds and goalie Carrie Giancola are the heart and soul of a Cornell team that has surprised many by racing out to four straight wins. Miles, who holds the Philadelphia area high school record for career goals with 281, is the Big Red's most potent weapon. A first team All-Ivy selection as a freshman after tallying 38 goals, Miles is off to another torrid start with 13 goals in four games. Penn will likely match the Cornell star up with junior Amy Weinstein, who was honored by the league this week for her performance at Yale. "Amy Weinstein, I think, is going to play on Ginny Miles," Brower said. "She did a nice job against [Yale first team All-Ivy selection] Heather Bentley. I think if Amy is physical on Miles, that she'll do fine against her. We've seen Ginny play, and she's a good player, but I think Amy can do a nice job on her." Weinstein, who spent her first two seasons with Penn lacrosse as an attacker before moving to defense this spring, is excelling in this transition. "I'm really enjoying myself and learning a lot," Weinstein said. "I hope that I get matched up on the top players from now on." The junior, however, was quick to credit the team aspect of the defense. "Whenever anyone scores or anything happens, everyone basically marks up on everyone," she added. "A lot of times the best defensive plays aren't one person doing something, it's the team recognizing that someone's in, and everyone crossing in on them." To this end, the Quakers know they must win the battle of ground balls and double-team well on the Cornell attackers if they are to win. The Big Red are coming off a 14-3 win over California in which Miles netted four goals and Wohschlegel added three of her own. On the other side of the ball, Penn has an attacker who has been blowing up in the early season. Sophomore Traci Marabella leads the Quakers with 10 goals, and combined with senior Brooke Jenkins and freshman Crissy Book, Penn has a potent offense of its own. But in order to find the back of the net, Penn's front-liners will have to beat Cornell's Giancola. The sophomore has excelled this spring, with a save percentage of .632. Quakers goalie Christian Stover also comes into tomorrow's game on a hot streak. The junior did not allow a goal for a 25-minute stretch in Tuesday's 14-7 Penn win at Villanova. Stover, however, is quick to credit her entire defense -- including Weinstein, Lee Ann Sechovicz, Christy Bennett and several other members of Penn's back line -- for the team's strong defensive play. "The defense is very aggressive, and I love that," Stover said. Tomorrow's match is the Quakers' fourth consecutive road game, and playing a league opponent on their home turf is never an easy task. But Penn feels good nonetheless. "What we really need to do is come out right from the start and be as intense as we have been in our second halves," Weinstein said. "And I think we've got a good shot at beating Cornell and really working our way up the Ivy ladder."

Two wins for W. Lax after triumph on Main Line

(03/22/00 10:00am)

Penn exceeded last season's win total in a 14-7 rout of Villanova yesterday afternoon. VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Amid a deluge of rain at Villanova Stadium yesterday afternoon, the Penn women's lacrosse team unleashed a flood of its own. On the strength of five unanswered goals to close out the first half, the Quakers recovered from an early deficit and downed the Wildcats, 14-7. Penn (2-1) was led by sophomore Traci Marabella and freshman Crissy Book, who each netted four goals. The pair combined to score three times in a critical two-minute stretch in the first half, as the Quakers came out of a timeout and quickly turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead. Penn never relinquished that advantage. "I told them that they had to do the easy things," Penn coach Karin Brower said of that timely timeout. "The passing and the catching. We've got to have the ground balls, and we've got to want the ground balls. And it shouldn't be a 3-2 game at that point -- that's basically what I said." Villanova (2-5), whose leading scorer, Cecily Pierce, was out with a pulled hamstring, was unable to generate any consistent offense. Wildcats freshman Meghan Carolan scored three goals, and senior Molly O'Conor added a pair, but the rest of the home squad could not break free of Penn's double-teaming on defense and put the ball in the net. "I think we got off to a very good start, but we let them come back on us," Villanova coach Joanie Milhous said. "There were a lot of turnovers in the midfield. And then I think we started playing very soft." With a sloppy game on both sides due to wet field conditions of near-biblical proportions, the speedy Quakers were able to come up with the majority of ground balls and turn them into attacking opportunities. Marabella and freshman Christy Bennett were two Penn players who excelled in this capacity. "The biggest thing with Traci that I liked is that today she really came back defensively, and so she came up with a lot of turnovers," Brower said. "And Christy Bennett had a great game. She pretty much dominated the turnovers. We got so many good turnovers because of her -- she came up with drops, double-teams, checks, interceptions." Marabella, who leads Penn with 10 goals on the season, almost did not make yesterday's game, showing up late for the team van due to a doctor's appointment. But Brower refused to leave West Philadelphia without the sophomore attacker -- a move that paid dividends early and often. Marabella scored 2:02 into the contest to put Penn up, 1-0, the first of her three first-half tallies. "For some reason, today was the first game that I wasn't nervous," Marabella said. With the temperature hovering around 40 degrees and wind-driven rain blowing in the players' faces, the conditions were less than ideal. "The weather sucked, but for some reason I like playing in the rain," Marabella said. "I don't know why, but I feel like I play better in the rain. Most people think of it as a disadvantage when it's raining and the conditions are horrible, but for some reason I like it." The Wildcats -- fresh off a 19-10 thrashing of La Salle on Sunday -- also came out hustling, scoring a pair of early goals to go up, 2-1. But Villanova struggled to clear the ball out of its end all day, and goalie Kelly O'Leary's 13 saves simply were not enough. Goalkeeper Christian Stover made nine big saves for the Quakers, none more important than one that came with 11 minutes left in the first half. With Penn up 5-3, a Wildcats attacker came in alone following a Penn turnover in their own end. But her shot was turned away by Stover, who held 'Nova scoreless for a 25-minute period. "Penn started to double-team us, and we just didn't respond to the double-team," Milhous said. "We didn't get it together in the midfield, and our attack didn't really go hard to goal." The Quakers' freshmen were a major part of the team's success. Midfielder Alison Polk-Williams notched one goal, attacker Kate Murray netted two and Bennett added another. Attacker Brooke Jenkins and midfielder Emily Foote, a DP sportswriter, also got into the scoring for the Quakers. Penn has now doubled its win total from a year ago with two victories.

M. Hoops ready to go Dancing next weekend

(03/10/00 10:00am)

Penn will bring two first team All-Ivy selections to the NCAA Tournament. The temperature may have been hovering above 75 degrees outside for the past two days, but the weather is definitely not the hottest thing in West Philadelphia. That distinction goes to the Penn men's basketball team. Undefeated in league play and winners of 16 consecutive games, the Quakers (21-7, 14-0 Ivy League) have been gathering considerable steam heading into the NCAA Tournament. The team's confidence was no doubt bolstered yesterday when four Penn players were named to the 1999-2000 All-Ivy teams. Penn senior guard Michael Jordan (16.3 points per game, 4.9 assists per game) was named the Ivy League Player of the Year and earned first team All-Ivy honors for the third consecutive season. Jordan was joined on the first team by classmate Matt Langel, while center Geoff Owens and forward Ugonna Onyekwe both earned second team status. Onyekwe was also named the Ivy Rookie of the Year. "It feels good to get that honor bestowed upon you, because so many other great players have achieved that honor," Jordan said. "But I'm more happy with the fact that we went 14-0 and are going back to the Tournament. That's all I'm worried about right now." And with the Tournament set to begin next week, the Quakers are excited about their situation. "We're in a pretty similar situation to last year -- I think we were on a pretty good streak then as well," said Penn center Geoff Owens, comparing last season's 21-6 squad to this season's 21-7 team. "I think we have a good shot. I was excited going into last year, but obviously it didn't turn out like we wanted it to." Penn lost, 75-61, to Florida in the first round of last year's tournament. "But having been there and having lost a game, we have that experience under our belt, and I think it's going to help us this year," Owens said. "Hopefully, we'll be more prepared for what to expect." Quakers coach Fran Dunphy, who has coached eight different first team selections in his 11 seasons at Penn, spoke highly of his talented squad. "Well, I'm happy for all those guys," Dunphy said. "Starting with Michael as the MVP, I think it's a great honor and one that is well-deserved. "And Matt Langel, to be the second choice in the league, I thought that spoke a lot of his career, as well as this year." Langel (12.0 ppg) joined Jordan and Princeton center Chris Young as the only unanimous first-team selections. Onyekwe (11.5 ppg, 46 blocks) had a sensational freshman year with Penn, and though he was rewarded with individual honors, he prefers to dwell on his team's success. "It's one of those things where it's good to be recognized and all that, but it wouldn't mean anything if we hadn't won," Onyekwe said. "So with the winning and getting the Ivy title, that's an accomplishment." Unlike last March, Owens (9.0 ppg, 50 blocks) -- the fourth of Penn's honorees -- enters the postseason injury-free. The Quakers big man suffered a broken jaw at Dartmouth last February and played his final four games -- including the loss to Florida -- with his jaw wired shut. This March, with a healthy Owens alongside Onyekwe, Penn will look to bring it inside with greater success. Individual league honorees aside, the emphasis at yesterday's practice was clearly on team execution. "We're just going to try to make sure we're crisp offensively, and we can always get better defensively," Jordan said. "Our offense has been a little stagnant lately, so we're trying to work on that." The Quakers will gather as a team at 6 p.m. on Sunday to watch the NCAA Selection Show to see where they will be heading next week. Last March, Penn was placed in the West region and played in Seattle against the Gators. That game was only the third time in the Quakers' 17 Tournament appearances that the team had been sent out of the East region, so the squad is understandably hoping for a game closer to home this season. The first-round sites for the East Region are Buffalo, N.Y., and Winston-Salem, N.C. But Jordan, ever the competitor, was more concerned with getting back on the court than with the site. "I would like to be someplace closer where we can probably get some more fans," Jordan said. "But Seattle was great, and I really don't have a preference -- I just want to get out there and play." The Quakers won't know who they'll face for two more days, but current tournament projections have Penn pegged at a 13 or 14 seed and facing a major conference team such as No. 19 St. John's or No. 13 Texas. "I have no feeling, no sense about who we'll play -- you can go prognosticate as much as you want," Dunphy said. "I'd say a 12 or 13 would be the likely guess that we would be, which would mean that we'd play a four or a five. You can look at who is prognosticated as a four or five -- let's say it might be Texas. Then, we better be ready to play Texas. "As soon as Sunday night comes, we'll get film and see what happens." Despite yesterday's uplifting award announcements, now is the time for Penn to look ahead, not back. And sometime next weekend, the Quakers will try to make a name for themselves in the NCAA Tournament. "Hopefully we can get everyone focused for our second season," Owens said. "Obviously, we're happy we won the Ivies, but we're not satisfied with our season right now -- far from it."