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Lost weekend in N.C. for M. Hoops

(11/20/00 10:00am)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Penn men's basketball team traveled to the CoSIDA Classic with an opportunity to open its 2000-01 season with a couple of wins against quality competition. Consider that a missed opportunity. The Quakers returned to Philadelphia this weekend owners of an 0-2 record after dropping contests to North Carolina State and Fordham at the season-opening tournament. Although Penn kept each game close, in the end it could not put either opponent away. In the opener, N.C. State ran away from Penn in the closing minutes to win, 77-64. The Quakers had a chance to redeem themselves the following night in the tournament's third-place game, but the Quakers could not take advantage of that chance either. Penn raced out to a 19-9 lead before a sparse crowd of 3,376 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, but foul trouble -- like it did the previous night -- eventually did them in. The Rams were in the bonus with more than 12 minutes remaining in the second half and sunk 30-of-37 from the foul line to emerge with an 81-78 win. Penn will now have until next Tuesday to work out the kinks in its play before heading back to the Tar Heel State to face Davidson. "I think we're getting exactly what we deserved," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said after the Fordham loss. "We didn't play well, and we didn't deserve to win the game. "We're a work in a progress. I don't think we're a great basketball team. We didn't do a good job of keeping people in front of us, and we had a couple of foolish fouls -- little touch fouls -- but that's what the refs were calling so you have to adjust." Penn had trouble adjusting throughout the night against the Rams. Center Geoff Owens and forward Ugonna Onyekwe both fouled out, and the Red and Blue sent Fordham to the line on its final four possessions. With 35.9 seconds left in the game, Fordham guard Bevon Robin sunk two foul shots to give the Rams a 79-75 lead. After a long miss by Lamar Plummer on the ensuing possession, Quakers forward Koko Archibong immediately fouled Rams forward Liberto Tetimadingar. Tetimadingar missed both attempts, and the Quakers still had life. Again, Plummer found the ball in his hands, but this time he connected on a nearly 25-foot three-pointer to pull Penn to within one at 79-78. The Quakers called timeout with 8.8 ticks left on the clock to design one final play. Quakers freshman Jeff Schiffner then quickly fouled Fordham's Arseni Kuchinsky, who connected on both foul shots to extend the Rams' lead to 81-78. With 5.7 seconds left, the Quakers had one final chance to hit a three and send the game to overtime. Once again, point guard David Klatsky got the ball to Plummer. But the shooting guard's long attempt from the left side bounced off the rim and into the hands of Fordham guard Jason Harris, securing the win for the Rams. "It was a pretty good look," Plummer said. "It was a makeable shot; I should have made the shot. It didn't go in, and that just means I have to take more shots every day in practice." Plummer finished with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting. Eleven of his shots were from behind the three-point line. Freshman Adam Chubb led the Quakers with 17 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Klatsky also contributed 15 points in a team-high 37 minutes. But in the first weekend of the post-Michael Jordan and Matt Langel era, solid play from the backcourt was crucial. This was particularly true on Saturday with the Quakers frontcourt struggling mightily throughout the entire contest. Owens was limited to just 20 minutes by foul trouble. He finished with a mere four points and could not really establish an inside presence on offense. "There's been so much double-teaming, it's been hard to get a good feel," Owens said. "It's hard to get a couple easy shots to get you going." Owens' frontcourt mate, Onyekwe, also could not find his groove against the Rams. Onyekwe, who was slowed by an ankle injury for much of last week, failed to get into any kind of rhythm, hitting on just 4-of-13 shots in 32 minutes and missing several close high-percentage shots. "It hurts us a great deal," Dunphy said. "We're going to [Onyekwe]. He's a talented, talented guy, so once he starts finishing inside, that'll mean a lot to us." Penn certainly could have used a strong night from Onyekwe on Saturday, although that was not evident from the start. As the consolation game began before an arena filled with empty seats, it looked as though Penn would redeem itself from the previous night's loss to the Wolfpack. The Quakers raced out to an 19-9 advantage in the game's first six-and-a-half minutes. But then the Rams turned to forward Duke Freeman-McKamey, and the Quakers' interior defense could not do much to stop him. Freeman-McKamey scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half before getting into foul trouble himself, and Penn headed to the locker room with just a 33-32 lead at the break. Although the Quakers kept it close for the entire second stanza, the Rams' ability to get to the line and then knock down their shots once they were there spelled Penn's doom. "We need to do a better job simulating things in practice," Dunphy said. "And we have to get smarter about how we approach things defensively." Defense certainly proved to be a weak point for Penn this weekend, with Friday's loss to N.C. State playing out the same way the next night's game against Fordham would. Like the Fordham game, Penn jumped out to an early lead in the first game of the CoSIDA Classic. Plummer and Archibong each buried shots from three-point range in the opening minutes as Penn took a brief 8-2 lead. The Wolfpack, however, charged back to regain the lead and would never let the Quakers' regain control of the contest. Trailing by 33-28 at halftime, Penn had trouble containing N.C. State's frontcourt in the second half, and the Wolfpack was in the bonus with 9:10 left in the game. N.C. State guard Anthony Grundy also discovered a hot hand in the game's second 20 minutes. After making just one of his first nine shots, Grundy connected on his next six, finishing with a game-high 22 points. While the Quakers remained within striking distance for much of the second half, careless play and fouls let the Wolfpack expand its lead. As the game wound to a close and N.C. State's success from the line widened the gap between the two teams, Dunphy emptied most of his bench. "Overall, I think N.C. State has a real solid basketball team," Dunphy said. "I was pleased with some of the things that we did, but others, we can't make those kinds of mistakes in a place like this and win a game." Onyekwe, who did not start but quickly came off the bench to play 26 minutes, led Penn with 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting.

M. Hoops drops close one to Fordham

(11/18/00 10:00am)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Penn men's basketball team came down to the CoSIDA Classic with hopes of starting the 2000-01 season on the right foot. Instead, the Quakers realized they still have a lot to work on. Penn fell to Fordham Saturday night in the consolation round of the season-opening tournament, 81-78, in Raleigh, N.C. For the second straight night, foul trouble plagued the Quakers. The Rams were in the bonus with more than 12 minutes remaining in the contest and hit 30-of-37 from the line. Penn did not have the same success, hitting only 18-of-32 foul shots. Although Fordham consistently found its way to the foul line in the closing minutes, the Quakers kept it close throughout. Lamar Plummer, who finished with 15 points, hit a three-pointer with 8.8 seconds remaining in the game to pull the Quakers to within one at 79-78. After the ensuing timeout, Penn freshman Jeff Schiffner fouled Fordham's Arseni Kuchinsky to send him to the line with 5.7 seconds left and to give the Red and Blue one final chance. Kuchinsky sunk both free throws to give Fordham a three-point lead. Quakers point guard David Klatsky got the ball back to Plummer as time expired, but Plummer's three-point attempt bounced off the rim, and the Quakers will return to Philadelphia with an 0-2 record. In the first half, however, it looked as though the Quakers were on their way to redeeming themselves after last night's loss to North Carolina State. Penn rushed out to a 19-9 lead in the game's first nine minutes. But Fordham forward Duke Freeman-McKamey scored 15 first-half points to keep the Rams close. Penn led by just 33-32 at the half. On the night, freshman Adam Chubb led Penn with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench. Penn will resume its season on November 28 at Davidson.

M. Hoops falls to N.C. State in opener

(11/17/00 10:00am)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Penn men's basketball team opened its 2000-01season with a loss to North Carolina State in the first round of the CoSida Classic Friday night in Raleigh, N.C. Although the Quakers kept it close throughout most of the contest, the Wolfpack pulled away in the end to win, 77-64. The Quakers will play in the tournament's consolation game this evening at 7 p.m. Penn raced out to an early 8-2 lead behind three-pointers by Koko Archibong and Lamar Plummer, but N.C. State came back to take a 14-13 lead and went into the half with a 33-28 advantage. In the second half, the Quakers came back to take the lead briefy. But in the end, foul trouble did the Quakers in. The Wolfpack were in the bonus with more than ten minutes left in the game. Penn coach Fran Dunphy was also forced to pull Archibong and center Geoff Owens in key situations. Both players ended the game with four fouls. "I think overall N.C. State has a real solid basketball team," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "I was pleased with some of the things we did, but others, we can't make these kind of mistakes in a place like this and win a game." Sophomore Ugonna Onyekwe led the Quakers with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Onyekwe, who had been slowed by an ankle injury in practice for the past few days, did not start but quickly came off the bench to replace Josh Sanger and played 26 minutes. The ankle did not seem to be much of a factor tonight, as Onyekwe threw down several dunks. Dunphy said that Onyekwe's ankle is healthy. Plummer added 12 points behind four three-pointers in his first game back after taking a leave of absence last season. "I think Lamar did a lot of real nice things," Dunphy said. "We're asking him to be an undersized guy, too. He's really kind of a two guard in a one guard's body. A couple of times when we rotated our defense, he got caught on that weak side trying to battle some guys for offensive rebounds. "But he stepped up and made some critical shots for us. For an opener, he played well. I was happy for him." N.C. State's Anthony Grundy was the game's leading scorer with 22 points.

Everything but the ring

(11/15/00 10:00am)

Diana Caramanico doesn't like to talk about herself. She's not shy. Have a conversation with her, and you'll hear many things. She'll tell you how badly she wants the Penn women's basketball team to bring home its first-ever Ivy League title this season. She'll tell you all about how much she loves her teammates, about how she enjoys every moment she spends inside the Palestra and about the incredible passion she has for the game of basketball. But if you didn't know any better, you would come away from that discussion without learning that Diana Caramanico is the best thing to ever happen to the Quakers women's basketball program. The greatest player in Penn history would not have it any other way. "I just think of us as a team, and I'm just part of it," Caramanico said. "I don't know what else to say." Caramanico may not want the spotlight, but with the resume she has compiled at the Palestra over the past three seasons, it's impossible to avoid it. The numbers are simply astounding. Last season, Caramanico ripped the Penn record book apart, stamping her name at the top of nearly every list. One thousand eight hundred and eight career points, 697 career field goals, 694 points in a season, 268 field goals in a season, 334 rebounds in a season and 41 points in a game. Her 24.8 points per game average was second in Division I last season. And with the numbers, of course, came the honors. Associated Press honorable mention All-America, two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, two-time Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year, unanimous first team All-Ivy selection, unanimous first team All-Philadelphia Big 5, District I GTE Academic All-America and District I Kodak/WBCA All-America. Yet Caramanico would trade every one of these distinctions for a single Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. It's something you hear all the time in sports. "The numbers mean nothing without a championship." "Individual accomplishments are nice, but the team is the only thing that matters." "If we won the championship and I didn't score any points, I'd be happy." It's one of the most cliched notions in sports, so established that it has become part of the fabric of sports. Yet somehow, when you hear Caramanico say things like that, it's easier to believe her. She's embarrassed standing alone in the spotlight. She wants her teammates there with her and knows that the best way for that to happen is to bring home Penn's first league championship. "I think she does get embarrassed. A TV crew came last year to do a story on her, and she looked at me as if to say, 'Please send someone else with me so I'm not the only story,'" Quakers coach Kelly Greenberg said. "I think she's gotten more comfortable with it, but I think Di, having all these records and everything, knows that this year all she really wants is the Ivy League title." It's not just that Caramanico wants to keep the focus on the team. Modest almost to a fault, she blushes, appears uncomfortable and tries to change the subject whenever someone tries to heap praise solely on her. "The best way to kid Di, we always say, is that whenever she goes somewhere, we say, 'Hey, there goes an All-American.' And she'll get embarrassed," said Penn men's basketball player Geoff Owens, who has dated Caramanico for the past three years. "It's so refreshing to see someone like that, and it says so much about her as a person. "She has accomplished so much, and I think everyone she's ever been in class with and most of the people she's come in contact with would have no idea of what she's accomplished. I think that's really great." The Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1997-98 and Ivy Player of the Year as a sophomore in 1998-99, Caramanico has just continued to improve throughout her career. Last year's numbers were the most impressive, but there is only one that she really wants to improve upon -- 18. It's the number of wins Penn piled up, the most in the program's history. But it just wasn't enough, as the Red and Blue's 9-5 Ivy League record was only good for second place behind Dartmouth. In her fourth and final season in a Quakers uniform, Caramanico will settle for nothing less than an Ivy League championship. The honors are sure to come, just as they have for the previous three years. But the All-Ivy, All-Big 5, All-America and All-Everything Else accolades simply do not measure up to the importance of an Ivy title in Caramanico's mind. "I know what we're capable of, and I know what we can do," Caramanico said. "Yeah, there is pressure on us to do that, but I think we know what to expect and we're more comfortable with it." That was not always the case. In fact, in the time Caramanico has been at Penn, the program has gone from the depths of the Ivy League basement to twice being picked by the media as the preseason favorite to win the title. Four years ago, when Caramanico was deciding where to attend college, a league championship was not even on the Quakers' radar screen. Penn compiled a 2-14 Ivy League record in 1996-97 -- consistently losing league games by 20 or more points -- and had not had a winning mark since the 1990-91 season. Everything that has happened since that time -- including drawing over 2,200 fans to last year's game against Harvard when no more than 100 would show up in previous seasons -- cannot be solely attributed to Diana Caramanico. But with her arrival in 1997, a new era in Quakers women's hoops began. In as many ways as one player could change the face of a struggling program, she has done so. Despite the program's lack of a winning tradition four years ago, the then-senior at Germantown Academy chose Penn over nearly 70 other colleges that expressed interest. The closeness to her home and the chance to play in the Palestra nearly every single day were two of the deciding factors. "To be honest, with basketball, I was just hoping I could get some playing time," Caramanico said. "I thought that [Penn] was a place where I could compete. I didn't expect to start or play all that much. I just wanted to be able to compete when I actually got into a game, and I felt like I would make it off the bench somehow." She certainly found her way to the floor -- starting all but two games and leading the team with 20.2 points per game in her freshman year. She was well on her way to establishing herself as an offensive force, the likes of which the Ivy League was unaccustomed to. Under coach Julie Soriero, Penn finished with an 8-6 Ivy League record in each of Caramanico's first two seasons. With the arrival of Greenberg and her new fast-paced style, as well as the positive atmosphere she brought to the program, more was expected last year. And Caramanico and senior guard Mandy West helped lead Penn to its best record ever. Now Caramanico has one last shot, and it seems to be the Red and Blue's best shot ever. She has helped shape the Quakers from doormats to contenders and now to favorites. As she enters her final season at Penn, one item is still missing from her list of accomplishments, and she simply does not want to graduate without an Ivy title. Diana Caramanico's story is really just a story about love for the game of basketball. She has played it since she was little; she has dominated her opponents for the past three seasons; and she hopes to keep playing next year -- either in the WNBA or overseas. And this passion for basketball is what drives her to compete. It's the reason she sometimes spends up to 10 hours in the Palestra in a single day -- even doing more homework there than at home or in the library. "She comes to practice every single day with a new excitement for the game of basketball," Greenberg said. "She's never like, 'Oh, we have practice.' She's more like, 'I love it'.... Her excitement is truly remarkable." Caramanico is now in her second season as a captain, and it will be this excitement -- this passion she brings to the floor -- that will help guide Penn this year. And if it can take the Quakers to a title, Diana Caramanico's list of college basketball accomplishments will finally be complete.

W. Soccer's stars earn league honors

(11/09/00 10:00am)

Four members of the Penn women's soccer team were named to the All-Ivy teams yesterday. Senior midfielder Kelli Toland and junior defender Sarah Campbell were named to the second team, while senior midfielder Angela Konstantaras and senior defender Ashley Kjar received honorable mentions. Toland, a senior co-captain who earned first team honors as a freshman and a junior, was slowed by a stress reaction in her right ankle this season. The injury forced her to miss two games and severely limited her playing time in others. Despite this, Toland still led the Quakers with 14 points on four goals and six assists. Konstantaras, who also earned All-Ivy honorable mention in 1998, started all 17 games for the Quakers this season and scored eight points with two goals and four assists. Campbell and Kjar helped to anchor a Quakers defense that allowed just 18 goals this year. Both players started every game, and each finished the regular season with two points. Kjar, a co-captain, earned second team honors last season. The Quakers (8-8-1, 2-5 Ivy League) wrapped up the regular season this year with a 1-0 loss to league co-champion Princeton. Penn will take on Northeastern in Boston on Saturday in the first round of the ECAC Tournament. If Penn wins that game, the Quakers will face either St. John's or Lafayette in Sunday's championship.

W. Soccer invited to ECAC Tournament

(11/07/00 10:00am)

The Penn women's soccer team learned yesterday that its season has been extended by a week. While they did not accomplish their preseason goal of earning a second straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Quakers were awarded the second seed in the four-team ECAC Tournament, which will take place this weekend. Penn (8-8-1) will open the tournament against third seed Northeastern (11-6-1) on Saturday at an as-yet-undetermined site. If the Red and Blue win that contest, they will advance to Sunday's championship game in which they will face the winner of the matchup between top seed St. John's (11-8) and fourth seed Lafayette (11-7). The Quakers have not faced any of these teams this season. Success at this weekend's tournament could put a positive ending on a season that had more than its share of disappointment. The Quakers opened the season with hopes of advancing to a second straight NCAA Tournament, but injuries and an inability to find the back of the net caused them to fall to sixth place in the Ivy League standings. A year after going 6-1 in the Ancient Eight, the Quakers finished with a 2-5 record in the league this year. They wrapped up the regular season on Saturday, falling to league co-champion Princeton, 1-0. Princeton, along with co-champion Dartmouth and fourth-place Harvard, earned bids to the NCAA Tournament. Each of these teams edged out the Quakers by one goal. An ECAC championship would be the second for Penn's five seniors, who helped the Quakers secure the 1997 ECAC title during their freshman season.

Rick Haggerty: Football can't rely on coming back

(11/06/00 10:00am)

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Alright, guys, we get the point. You don't need to remind us every week. The Penn football team can score points. It can score a lot of them, and it can score them quickly. Even as Princeton led 24-6 while the first half was winding down on Saturday, I never really thought the game was in doubt. The Quakers proved what they can do last week when they stormed back from almost certain defeat to shock Brown. And after all, this is the new and spectacular Ivy League -- where the games last longer than World Series contests and the scores are straight out of the NBA Finals. But as exciting as these games have been -- and I'm certainly not complaining about a lack of enjoyment here -- is this really what we should be expecting from Penn? Should the Quakers just assume they are trailing every game by three scores from the start and let Gavin Hoffman run a no-huddle offense straight down the field? Is it the only way they can get the job done? After last week's Brown game, Penn coach Al Bagnoli described this brand of football as a coach's nightmare and a spectator's delight. After Saturday's game, he said the Ivy League was a game of survival. It seems to me that if the Quakers keep playing this way, they might just wake up from a nightmare in which they don't survive someday. Saturday's first half shows exactly why. Before Doug O'Neill's outstretched arm crossed the goal line on one of the most impressive and improbable plays of the season, the Quakers were miserable. Princeton is not a very good team, but for the first 29 minutes and 59 seconds of Saturday's game, the Quakers were letting the Tigers have their way with them. Hoffman admitted it after the game, saying, "That was probably as poor a half as I've played all season." It was, but he was not alone. While Hoffman was trying to force passes that were simply not there -- two of which resulted in interceptions -- his teammates were not doing much to help him. Kris Ryan exploded in the second half, but could not really find his groove before halftime. The same goes for a defensive line that held the Tigers to three yards of total offense in the third quarter, but could not contain Princeton in the first half. The offensive linemen missed blocks and opened few holes for the backs, and defensive players missed tackles and let Tigers receivers get open. On one particularly boneheaded special teams play, return man Kunle Williams stood there and watched Princeton's Taylor Smith fall on the ball before Williams ever touched it -- giving Princeton the ball at Penn's six-yard line. And ironically this play -- which epitomized the way the entire squad operated throughout the first half -- seemed to finally pound the message through to the Quakers. They finally woke up and realized they are a better team than Princeton and it was time to start showing it. It was like it was the fourth quarter of the Brown game all over again. The Quakers defense stuffed the Tigers on three straight plays and forced Princeton to settle for a Taylor Northrop field goal -- the last points they would score on the day. On the ensuing kickoff, Williams made up for his earlier brain freeze by returning the ball to the Penn 40. And then Hoffman threw up the prayer which eventually landed with O'Neill, who juked and swerved and finally lunged his way into the end zone. It was clear that Penn was finally alive. Bagnoli went into the locker room and tore into his players with words he said were not fit to print. Princeton coach Roger Hughes just tried to keep his players focused after the O'Neill touchdown. "We were a little deflated obviously," Hughes said. "The first thing I tried to get across was, 'Hey, that's just one play.'" Unfortunately for his Tigers, though, that play and the ones that immediately preceded it called the real Penn Quakers into action. Penn scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and marched on to an easy win. It's the way they do things, and I'll be the first to admit that it's fun, it's exciting and it's unpredictable. The one thing it's not is safe. And if the Quakers don't start playing focused and fundamentally sound football from the opening kickoff, it could spell disaster. Because one day, that miracle comeback just might not be in them.

Sports Brief:Jordan, Langel sign in Europe

(10/27/00 9:00am)

Jordan, Langel sign in Europe Recent Penn graduates Michael Jordan and Matt Langel will be continuing their basketball careers overseas this year. After four years of thrilling crowds at the Palestra, the two first team All-Ivy honorees both signed contracts with teams in Europe this week. They left to join their respective squads last night. Jordan, who spent part of the NBA preseason with the Boston Celtics, will play in France. Langel will play for SFP Chene Basket in Geneva, Switzerland, where he will be reunited with former teammate Oggie Kapetanovic. Kapetanovic, a 6'10" forward who gave up his final year of eligibility to play professionally, has been in Switzerland for about a month. No further details on Jordan's and Langel's deals were known at press time. The two guards are the latest Quakers to head overseas. Forward Paul Romanczuk, a 1999 Penn graduate, and swingman Frank Brown, who graduated in May, both signed to play in Spain in recent months. -- Rick Haggerty

Road woes continue for Football in loss to Yale

(10/21/00 9:00am)

The Penn football team's troubles away from Franklin Field continued and Yale University successfully kicked off the celebration of its 300th birthday this afternoon, as the Elis topped the Quakers, 27-24, in New Haven, Conn. The loss dropped the Red and Blue to 3-3 on the season (2-1 Ivy League). Although it has won every game at home by a sizable margin, Penn is still winless on the road this year. With the loss, the Quakers now find themselves in a five-way tie atop the Ivy standings with Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. Although the Quakers took an early 3-0 lead on a 24-yard Jason Feinberg field goal, Yale struck back with two first-quarter touchdowns to take a 14-3 lead. Penn came back in the second quarter, as Gavin Hoffman hit Rob Milanese for a 41-yard touchdown pass and then found the endzone himself on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Penn led at the half, 17-14. The second half, however, was not as kind to the Red and Blue. Elis quarterback Peter Lee hit senior wideout Eric Johnson for his second touchdown of the day with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Yale kicker Mike Murawczyk added two field goals to cap the scoring for the Elis. Hoffman did find tight end Ben Zagorski for a touchdown, as time expired on both the game and the Quakers' chance for a comeback.

W. Soccer tops Columbia in comeback win

(10/17/00 9:00am)

Darren Ambrose didn't see any reason to worry at halftime. Even with his team trailing 1-0 and his star midfielder hobbled with an ankle injury, the Penn women's soccer coach knew his Quakers (7-3-1, 2-2-0 Ivy League) would come back. And they did exactly that, notching two second-half goals to down the visiting Columbia Lions (3-7-2, 0-4-0), 2-1, on a sun-splashed Rhodes Field early Saturday afternoon. "This was a gut-check game," Ambrose said. "This was a character game. In the second half, we came out so fast and so fired up, [Columbia] didn't know what hit them. "I think we deserved the game. I think we're the better team, and we really came out to play." As they have been for the past several games, the Quakers offensively dominated the contest from the opening whistle, out-shooting the Lions, 16-4. It's just that for the first 45 minutes, Columbia midfielder Erica Woda was the only player on the field to score, knocking the ball off Penn goalie Katherine Hunt's hands and into the net in the 29th minute. In the second half, however, Quakers midfielder Angela Konstantaras and forward Heather Taylor each sent shots past Columbia goalie Janine Ierardi to secure the victory for Penn. "We had a slow start, but we definitely responded and came back really hard and played together as a team," Konstantaras said. "We had great defense, and we're starting to put away more of our opportunities." In addition to trailing at the half, however, the Quakers were also faced with the difficult situation of going on with a less-than-full-strength Kelli Toland. A first team All-Ivy midfielder and the Quakers' leading scorer, Toland left the game with 18 minutes and six seconds remaining in the first half. Toland, who has been suffering from a stress reaction in her right ankle, re-entered the game at the start of the second half but limped off to the sideline less than three minutes later. Ambrose said that he will try to get Toland as many minutes as possible in upcoming games, but noted that she has been playing through an incredible amount of pain recently. "She definitely makes a big impact every time she steps on the field, but at this point, we have great people that come off the bench," Konstantaras said. "They took the responsibility for themselves, and they definitely played a great game." In fact, throughout the entire game on Saturday, the Quakers put pressure on the Columbia goal, and they finally broke through when Konstantaras took a pass from Ashley Kjar, sped through the Lions defense and sent a rocket past Ierardi with 36:01 left in the half. Taylor then put the Quakers up when she deposited a cross from Aidan Viggiano into the net in the 79th minute. After Viggiano passed the ball, a scramble resulted before the net and Taylor nailed it home when Ierardi dropped the ball. "I kinda pushed her actually," Taylor said. "I pushed her and she dropped the ball, so I knocked it in." While the Quakers did emerge victorious on Saturday, they know they must still work on finishing off their scoring chances. Although Penn is 3-0-1 in its last four games and has outshot each of its opponents by wide margins, the Red and Blue have scored just four goals. In order to combat this problem before the Columbia game, Ambrose had his players concentrate on shooting in practice on both Thursday and Friday. Still, it is something on which the Quakers know they must improve. "It's something we're going to have to work on," Konstantaras said. "It's not going to come back all in one game. But I'll tell you what, it's improving every game and every practice. Hopefully by the time the next game comes, we'll get more." The Quakers will have the chance to increase their output this afternoon when they travel to Baltimore to take on Loyola (11-4).

W. Soccer plays Navy to a draw

(10/10/00 9:00am)

They stepped onto the field Sunday at 7 p.m. with the scoreboard displaying zeroes for each team. And when the Penn women's soccer team got on the bus to return to Philadelphia from Annapolis, Md., after 120 minutes of hard-fought soccer, the scoreboard hadn't changed. Penn left Navy with a 0-0 non-league tie under its belt late Sunday night, but despite the outcome of the game, the Quakers couldn't be happier with their performance. "I think we really came together as a team," senior co-captain Kelli Toland said. "We created a lot of good scoring opportunities; we just couldn't capitalize." In fact, while the final score may not indicate it, the Quakers (5-3-1) dominated the Midshipmen in nearly every facet of the game. The Red and Blue put 23 shots on goal, while the Mids (5-8-1) could only muster eight. And while Penn totaled eight corner kicks, Navy had just three. The scoring opportunities certainly existed. It's just that the Quakers could not get any of those chances past Navy goalkeeper Kristen Hansen. "It's always hard to know you played so hard and so well but didn't come away with a win," Toland said. But the 120 minutes of soccer were about more than coming away with a OW' for these Quakers. Penn has been away from Rhodes Field since suffering a 2-1 loss to Harvard on September 16. That five-game stretch away from campus came to an end in Annapolis, as the Quakers are set to host American tomorrow. The time away from home, however, allowed the Quakers the chance to work on various aspects of their game, and Toland said that she was pleased with the way several of these improvements manifested themselves in Sunday night's game. This includes Penn's new 3-5-2 formation, which coach Darren Ambrose instituted last week. The new alignment, as opposed to Penn's former use of the 4-4-2, should create a stronger offensive attack. One player who seems to have benefitted from the change is freshman midfielder Heather Issing, who recently broke into the starting lineup. "She's really stepped into her role as a central midfielder and is doing a good job," Toland said. Issing put two shots on goal at Navy, but the Quakers attack was extremely balanced with nine Penn players getting off shots. Forward Heidi Nichols led the way with four, while Toland, Angela Konstantaras, Heather Taylor and Sabrina Fenton each had three shots. The only problem was that none of those shots made it to the back of the net. But while the Quakers were pressuring the Mids throughout the entire 120 minutes, Penn goalies Vanessa Scotto and Katherine Hunt kept Navy from scoring as well. Scotto and Hunt, who have been splitting time in goal this season, did not face many shots, but when Navy did get them off, the Quakers goalkeepers were there to stop them. Hunt, who played the second half and both overtime periods, made impressive stops on two dangerous plays. "I'm 100-percent confident with both of them in goal," Toland said. "They're really helping to push each other." In fact, through Sunday's game, both keepers have been putting up very similar numbers. Scotto has a save percentage of .840 and a 0.71 goals against average in 552 minutes, while Hunt has saved 81 percent of the shots she has faced and has a GAA of 0.75 in 300 minutes.

Jordan to camp in Boston

(10/04/00 9:00am)

For the past four years, Michael Jordan usually only visited Boston when the Quakers traveled to Harvard's Lavietes Pavilion. Now, if things go his way, Jordan may get to spend a bit more time playing basketball in Beantown. On Saturday, Jordan was invited to training camp by the Boston Celtics. He arrived for his first day of camp yesterday in Waltham, Mass. Jordan, however, did not find out that he had been invited until Saturday. He was watching the Penn football team face off against Dartmouth when Quakers coach Fran Dunphy delivered the news. Jordan's agent, Keith Glass, had called Dunphy to inform him. Now, Jordan will have the chance to realize his dreams of being an NBA player. "I don't think there are any expectations right now, but he'll be given every opportunity to show what he can do," Dunphy said. With NBA veteran point guards Kenny Anderson and Randy Brown ahead of him on the Celtics' depth chart, however, Jordan seems like a longshot to make the final cut. "Hopefully, I can impress some people and see what happens," Jordan told the Associated Press. "If I don't make it here, maybe another opportunity will open up from being here." Since graduating in May, Jordan has had several opportunities to break into professional basketball. He started for the Philadelphia Force of the upstart National Rookie League and was also invited to play for the Philadelphia 76ers' entry in the the Shaw's Summer League. Former Quakers star guard Jerome Allen, who graduated in 1995, was with the Celtics in the summer league. Now Allen is playing professionally in Rome, and one of his successors is trying to make it with the Celtics. Celtics General Manager Chris Wallace told the AP that Jordan's intelligence on the court played a significant part in Boston's decision to invite him to camp. "He's a very cerebral player," Wallace said. "To bring a guy into camp at the point guard position, you've got to have somebody who's a quick study because you're throwing a lot of things at him in a short period of time." While at Penn, Jordan finished his career with 1,604 points -- ranking him third all-time in Penn history behind just Ernie Beck and Keven McDonald. He also ranks second in assists and third in steals. A three-time first team All-Ivy selection, the six-foot, 170-pound guard led the Red and Blue to two consecutive Ivy League titles and capped off his senior campaign by being named the Ivy League Player of the Year. For now, though, Jordan's only concern is finding his way onto an NBA roster, whether it is with Boston or with another team in the league. "I haven't even thought about having my name on the same team with Bird and all those guys," Jordan said. "They accomplished so much. I haven't done anything." Like it has so many times in the past, though, Jordan's name is helping him get noticed. "I tried to register for my room. I go, ORoom for Mike Jordan,'" Jordan said. "The lady at the desk starts laughing. The guy who's with me says, OShe thinks you're joking.' She goes, OYeah.'"

Rick Haggerty: Football proves maturity

(10/02/00 9:00am)

Week One: Seventeen points off the board as a result of penalties. Week Two: A 38-7 lead nearly squandered before finally surviving in the end. Week Three: Business taken care of. With a 48-14 stomping of Dartmouth in their Ivy League opener on Saturday, the Penn Quakers not only proved that they have the talent to be a legitimate contender for the Ivy League championship this season, but they also proved they have the maturity to do so. And they showed how much they have grown in two short weeks. In the season-opening loss at Lehigh, Penn accumulated as many penalties as points. The Quakers had two touchdowns and a field goal called back before the Engineers could even get on the scoreboard. Instead of entering halftime with a 20-3 lead in that game, Penn was tied with Lehigh at 3-3. Lehigh went on to win 17-10, but if they didn't commit so many mistakes, the Quakers could have left Bethlehem with an upset over the nation's then-21st-ranked team. The second week was a different story, as Penn's offense let loose and put 45 points on the board. But after building up a 38-7 lead by the third quarter, the Quakers allowed the Leopards to score three straight touchdowns to cut the lead to 38-28. Entering this past weekend, it was difficult to know what to expect. The Penn football team is talented; there's no denying that fact. But through the first two games, it looked as though its youth and inexperience could haunt it as the season progressed. In the first few minutes of Saturday's contest, it seemed as though Dartmouth would exploit that problem as well. It was then that the Quakers proved they have the maturity and resolve to be the top team in this conference. After taking the opening kickoff before a sparse crowd at Franklin Field, the Big Green marched right down the field and put the ball in the endzone. The Penn defense looked helpless. It was the same Penn defense that let Lafayette right back into the game a week earlier, and it seemed as though Saturday would be a long day for the Quakers. Well... Dartmouth would not score again until two minutes and 54 seconds were left in the fourth quarter. In the interim, all the Penn Quakers did was put 48 points on the board, shut down the Big Green anytime they tried to put together anything resembling a drive and dominate on both sides of the ball. In that interim, the Penn Quakers proved themselves to be legitimate contenders for the Ivy crown. When the results of the preseason Ivy League media poll were released in August, the Quakers were ranked third behind co-leaders Yale and Cornell. Sure, everyone knew Penn was loaded with talent at the skill positions. But they were also losing experienced players on defense and on the offensive line. With Saturday's win, any skepticism that existed may start to disappear. After Dartmouth scored its first touchdown on Saturday, Gavin Hoffman took Penn 70 yards, ending the drive with a 35-yard touchdown strike to Colin Smith. On the first play of the Big Green's next drive, Penn defensive back Kunle Williams picked Brian Mann's pass out of the air, and the Penn onslaught was underway. The Quakers seemed to score at will for the remainder of the afternoon, while the defense stopped one Dartmouth drive after another. Penn coach Al Bagnoli acknowledged the maturation he's seen since the Lehigh game, noting the Quakers' ability to cut down on mistakes and not to let their inexperience hinder their progress. Dartmouth is not a good football team, and Penn certainly helped prove that on Saturday. Penn is a good football team. But on Saturday they proved they just may be a championship-caliber team as well.

Rick Haggerty: Former assistant moves out on his own

(09/29/00 9:00am)

Last Saturday, as Gavin Hoffman was completing his second straight 300-yard passing game, as Mike Verille was admirably filling in for Kris Ryan with 99 rushing yards and as the Penn football team was piling up 45 points against Lafayette, there was another football game going on in Hartford, Conn. This game had no impact at all upon the Quakers, and ordinarily there would be no reason for anyone in West Philadelphia to give it much thought. But this particular contest marked a special occasion. As Penn was furiously trying to hold on to its lead against the Leopards on a wet and gloomy day in Franklin Field, a man who had been by Al Bagnoli's side for the previous 13 seasons was stepping out on his own. Last Saturday, Chuck Priore made his debut as the head coach at Trinity College, guiding his Bantams to a 46-34 win over Bates College. From 1992 through last winter, Priore was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Penn. Prior to that, he worked under Bagnoli at Union College. And last week, Priore finally paced the sidelines for the first time as a collegiate head coach. "I don't know if you ever prepare yourself for that situation, but I think I was prepared and a little bit excited," Priore said. "The thing I don't think I was is nervous, because I've been involved in a lot of good football games. I coached under some good coaches during my time and learned some good things. "I think it was more excitement. The nervous part was just to make sure things ran smoothly and that I didn't cost my team anything, and I don't think I did." He seemed to do pretty well for himself, as the Bantams scored 46 points and racked up 552 total yards of offense. Tomorrow, Trinity might not have as easy of a time. The Bantams meet up with defending NESCAC champion Williams. Priore knows his team might have its hands full, estimating that Williams has lost "about a dozen games" in the past 20 years. But now that he has the first game under his belt, Priore knows it can only get easier from this point on. "I think you need a dry run," Priore said. "I think the part that is real good is that I have a good staff, a very dependable staff. That takes a lot of pressure off the head coach." Priore knows. He was there to take the pressure off Bagnoli for 13 seasons at both Union and Penn. They were successful years for Priore, as he helped engineer the offense that took the Quakers to three Ivy championships in the 1990s. He coached the four quarterbacks at the top of Penn's single-season passing list, as well as four of the top five single-season rushers in Quakers history. These items on his resume certainly helped Priore land the job at Trinity, and now that he has the position, he will hope to lead the Bantams to the same type of success he enjoyed with the Quakers. It's a different situation for Priore. After eight years in Philadelphia, he is now in Hartford. He's moved from Division I-A to Division III. Most importantly, though, he's moved from shotgun to the driver's seat, shouldering all of the responsibility that comes with being a head coach. Priore said he compares Penn and Trinity often, and he notes that the programs are not as different as one might think. He said many of the players he coaches at Trinity are like those at Franklin Field, hard-working kids from blue-collar backgrounds that can handle the pressures of football and tough academics. And while Priore has moved out from under Bagnoli's wing, he has not forgotten where he came from. He said he talks to the Penn coaches often, especially his brother Ray, Penn's defensive coordinator, and Bagnoli. He has also kept an eye on his former team's progress in this young 2000 season. "They have Dartmouth this weekend," Priore said. "Penn by 21. That's my prediction."

Rick Haggerty: Quakers 101: What you need to know

(09/22/00 9:00am)

OK, Class of 2004, your Penn careers are underway. The revamped and refurbished New Student Orientation has run its course; Judy did her bit at Convocation; and you've all been through the first two weeks of your college educations. Well, another part of that education begins tomorrow, and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about it. The Penn football team opens its home season tomorrow afternoon, and many of you have probably already made plans to go. Before you pack up your toast and head to Fortress Franklin, however, let me give you a quick run-down of Penn sports traditions. You'll see some tomorrow, while others will not occur until later this year. Many upperclassmen could explain these to you, and some of you may already know all of this. But since I've been around the Penn sports scene for more than three years now, I'd like to give you one final lesson for your Penn orientation. Hopefully, you'll find it a bit more exciting than the Penn Reading Project. Toast. I know, I know. Every single one of you has heard about the toast tradition. You can't get through a tour of this campus without learning that Penn fans throw toast on the field. It's right up there with "the Addams Family house is really College Hall" on the tour guides' list of important things to say. But I'm not here to tell you about the Engineering School's magnificent Breadboni machine -- its greatest accomplishment since ENIAC. I'm here to tell you that football games at Penn don't end after three quarters. It happens every year. First-year students toss the burnt bread and head for the door. Don't do it. Stay in the stands until the "Red and Blue" is finished, then you may go. Attendance. Yesterday, 34th Street ran a blurb in its StreetBeat section that said the entire freshman class will show up tomorrow and that it will be the last game they'll ever bother to attend. While Street is not always regarded as the most "mature" part of the DP, they do have a point with this. Long gone are the days when Penn students wouldn't spend a Saturday afternoon anywhere but 33rd and South. But you will still be missing exciting action if you stay home after tomorrow's game. Go to as many home games as you can. Don't wait until Mommy and Daddy drag you during Parents Weekend. The same goes for attendance during basketball season. Princeton is not the only team on the Quakers' schedule. Songs. Learn the words and when to sing them. And as you'll see, the words to "Hang Jeff Davis" that you'll find in your facebook are not the words that will be sung tomorrow. The Line. While football season is just getting started, hoops season is not too far off in the distance. And if you want the best seats at the Palestra -- the holiest cathedral in all of college hoops -- you'll need to spend a few nights with other diehards waiting for tickets to go on sale. Due to renovations, this year's two-night sleepover will not be held at the Palestra, but waiting in "The Line" is the best way to start off your Penn basketball-watching careers. "UUUU!" OK, so maybe it's not a tradition if it just started last season. But when you hear this cheer during the winter, no one is booing. And their hand-raising is not signaling a successful field goal. It just means a certain sophomore power forward is getting the job done on the court. Penn Relays. The greatest track and field athletes in the world are gathered in Sydney, Australia right now. In seven months, they'll be gathered in our own backyard, along with several thousand other athletes of varying ages and abilities. It's the world's greatest track and field carnival, and you shouldn't miss it. Bill Cosby never does. € I didn't cover every Penn sports tradition here -- nor could I in a single column. And it's impossible to convey any of these in print. You have to experience each of them yourself, even if they do sound corny now. Consider this column a handbook to your orientation. Classes start tomorrow. And for all of you Quad-dwellers, don't worry about setting an alarm clock for tomorrow. The Penn Band's got it covered.

May snags job with professional soccer league

(09/19/00 9:00am)

In his five years as Penn's director of athletic communications, Shaun May never served as the media contact for women's soccer. From now on, though, that will be the only sport with which he will concern himself. May, who resigned from his post at Penn in June, is the first director of public relations for the recently established Women's United Soccer Association, the professional soccer league that will begin play in mid-April. "I think it is the perfect combination," May said of his new position. "It's a start-up, but it's in sports. It has all the makings of a success." Next spring, the league will launch in eight cities -- Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, New York, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. -- and will feature nearly every member of the World Cup-winning U.S. national team. May will coordinate all public relations for the new league. He is currently planning the unveiling of the franchises' names and logos on October 5 and an indoor tour that will kick off at the First Union Spectrum on October 20. May is also working on a model for the league's game-day programs, which he will pattern after Palestra Illustrated, the Penn men's basketball program he produced for five years. While May has yet to personally meet Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain or any of the other big names in the world of women's soccer, he has exchanged e-mails with many of the U.S. stars who are currently at the Olympics in Sydney. "It's very exciting, because you are dealing with arguably some of the best athletes in the world," May said. But dealing with world-class athletes is nothing new for May, who served as the main media contact for the Penn Relay Carnival each spring. In addition to the Relays and overseeing the athletic communications office, May served as the primary media contact for the Penn football, men's basketball and men's lacrosse teams. And while he is excited to move on to his new position in New York, May continues to live in Philadelphia -- and still feels a connection to the Red and Blue. He plans to attend several men's basketball games at the Palestra this season and says that he will miss Quakers hoops more than anything. "It's a very special group of people, both those who are there now and people in the past," May said. "Once you're a part of it, you're a part of it for life."

Athletes trade Red and Blue for Red, White and Blue

(09/15/00 9:00am)

Thousands of American athletes will begin competing this weekend in Sydney, Australia, for the glory of the red, white and blue. For a special group of five, though, the preparation for the realization of these Olympic dreams came while wearing the Red and Blue. Penn, which has been represented in every modern Olympiad since the first in 1896, will see five of its own compete for the United States in Sydney over the next few weeks. Fencers Cliff Bayer and Tamir Bloom, rowers Sarah Garner and Garrett Miller and wrestler Brandon Slay will make up the Quakers contingent at this year's Summer Games. Former Penn rower John Pescatore and former Quakers crew coach Ted Nash will also head Down Under as assistant coaches for the U.S. rowing squads. For Bayer, this will be his second Games -- he finished 34th in the individual foil in Atlanta in 1996. This time, though, Bayer -- the only current Penn student-athlete in Sydney -- is being called the United States' best hope for a fencing medal since 1984. The top-ranked American foilist, Bayer qualified for the Games by winning the gold medal in the foil at a World Cup event in Bonn, Germany, in April. His World Cup performance also moved him up to No. 8 in the world foil rankings. Sports Illustrated recently predicted Bayer, a Wharton senior, would earn the bronze medal in Sydney. A former NCAA champion, Bayer is taking this semester off and will return in the spring. He will be joined in Australia by his friend Bloom, who graduated from the College in 1994. Bloom, who will compete in epee, trains with Bayer at the New York Athletic Club. While Bayer may be Penn's best hope for a medal, wrestler Brandon Slay will certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the 167.5-pound weight class of freestyle wrestling. Slay's road to an Olympic berth certainly was the most emotional. The 1998 Wharton grad and defending U.S. champion, Slay was forced to face his close friend and current Penn assistant coach Brian Dolph in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials. It was definitely a tough match for Quakers coach Roger Reina to witness, as he saw his two top pupils battle for one spot. After the match, Reina told reporters, "If you heard a loud snap during the match, that was my heart." The final Penn representatives in Sydney will be rowing in the beautiful Australian waters, but they first honed their skills on the murky Schuylkill River. Sarah Garner, a 1994 College graduate, and Garrett Miller, a 1999 Wharton alumna, will be the Quakers on teams laden with Ivy rowers. In the spring, Garner received a Buick Regal as part of the UAW-GM "Team Behind the Team" program, and Miller recently appeared in GQ magazine with other Olympians.

Rick Haggerty: Offensive Line must perform

(09/14/00 9:00am)

Yesterday, this newspaper ran a lengthy article about Quakers quarterback Gavin Hoffman. The day before that, we wrote about the depth of Penn's receiving corps. And as anyone familiar with Penn football knows, the biggest story out of this year's camp has been Kris Ryan and the high-ankle sprain he suffered several weeks ago. Ryan, Hoffman and the receivers. They're critical to Penn's offensive success this season, but just as crucial are the five men who will line up in front of Hoffman each week. Ryan got his cast removed yesterday. Although Penn coach Al Bagnoli described him as "very doubtful" for Saturday's contest at Lehigh, he should be fine once the Ivy League games start popping up on the schedule. He should, and probably will, be the best running back in the Ancient Eight once again this season. Hoffman is likely the preseason favorite to capture the first team All-Ivy quarterback spot, and with Doug O'Neill, Rob Milanese, Jason Battung, Colin Smith and friends, the Quakers have depth at wide receiver that no other Ivy squad can match. In terms of skill positions, Penn has a leg up on the competition. But as the graphic on the front of this sports section tells you, there are merely two days to kickoff, and the biggest mystery for this 2000 edition of the Pennsylvania Quakers is how the offensive line will perform when they step onto the field this weekend. Of the five men who will line up across from the Lehigh defensive front, four did not start for Penn last season. Only left guard Sam Gottesman will return from last year's starting line. The others -- right tackle Jeff Hatch, right guard Randy Parker, center Matt Dukes and left tackle John Zepeda -- are virtual unknowns to Quakers fans. Hatch, a senior, did not even play on the offensive side of the ball until this season. When you consider the inexperience of the line, coupled with having Ryan on the sidelines, it could be a long day for the Penn rushing game on Saturday. "Not having Kris and having a young offensive line against a very experienced defense, we have reason to be very concerned," Bagnoli said. Well, Bagnoli is right, there is definitely reason for concern. The Engineers are ranked No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA poll. So Saturday's game would be a tough matchup for the Quakers any way you want to look at it -- with or without Ryan, with a young line or with an offensive front of All-Ivy studs. Perhaps it's best this way. It's tough to know what to expect from this quintet of linemen. Their inexperience could turn out to be a non-factor this season -- allowing Hoffman time to read defenses and hit his receivers and opening up holes large enough for Ryan and Mike Verille to bust through like freight trains. It is unlikely, however, that this year's line will be able to replace the leadership and skill of last season's group, which included All-Ivy performers Carmelo Rubano and Jason Lebron. But unlike last year's Quakers, this year's team will not be thrown into the Ivy fire in the first week of the season. For the first time since 1994, Penn will face a non-league opponent in its opening game. And for only the second time since 1955, the Red and Blue will actually have two games to gear up before meeting their first Ancient Eight foes. The first two games could serve as a learning experience for the linemen, allowing them to feel more comfortable before Dartmouth comes to town. With a slew of talented returning players at the skill positions and with a new pass-friendly offense installed by new offensive coordinator Andy Coen, the Quakers could put up a lot of points during this year's Ivy campaign. But much of it depends on a group of five men who have never lined up side-by-side in a game situation. This year, however, at least they have time.

RIck Haggerty: W. Soccer needs stability on top

(09/08/00 9:00am)

College athletics is not a stable business. With constant turnover due to graduation, players must adjust to new teammates every season. Bonds must be constantly formed and connections constantly made, only to have the process repeat itself when the next season rolls around. Ask the members of any team at Penn, they'll tell you what it's like. Ask the members of the Quakers women's soccer squad, you'll see how much more difficult it's been for them. What makes the adjustment even harder for these Quakers is that this season marks the third straight year in which a new head coach will patrol the sidelines at Rhodes Field. Darren Ambrose takes the reins of the program this fall, filling the role formerly occupied by Andy Nelson and Patrick Baker -- both of whom left Penn for other coaching positions. "It's hard for obvious reasons," senior co-captain Ashley Kjar said. "It's our senior year, and we want to have a very successful year. It makes you nervous because you don't know the coach very well." But Kjar, like her teammates, is quick to credit Ambrose for the work he has done in the preseason, noting that his knowledge of the game and coaching skills have made it a smooth transition. His players also remark that Ambrose's coaching style is similar to that of fellow Englishman Nelson. But still it makes you wonder. The women's soccer program at Penn enters its 10th season of existence as a varsity sport tonight. Ten years. Four coaches. They are not numbers that suggest a stable program. Despite this, the Quakers have improved continually over that decade. Last season saw the program advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in its history. With an overtime loss to Harvard as their only blemish within the league, the Quakers established themselves as a force within the Ivies in 1999. This is a credit to the men who have preceded Ambrose, and he will be expected to keep the Quakers near the top of the standings and on the road to the NCAAs. But a program cannot build a solid foundation if the people in charge of building it keep bolting for better positions. Now that Darren Ambrose is here, let's hope he is here to stay. Over the summer, he relocated his family from Florida to Philadelphia in order to take the first collegiate head coaching position of his career. It's not likely that he'll make this season a one-and-done like Nelson did last year. Not that I blame Nelson for moving on to Stanford or Baker for taking off for Florida State the year before that. A position at a higher-profile school in a power conference is tough for any Ivy coach to turn down, just as Peter Traber could not resist the temptations of the millions he could make at GlaxoSmithKline a mere five months after promising to rescue the sinking ship that is the Penn Health System. But for Penn women's soccer to continue on the successful road it has been traveling, Rhodes Field needs to be more than a launching pad to greener pastures. A stable force at the helm is what this program needs more than anything, and Ambrose could be the man to fulfill that role. It will only make the yearly transition for returning players easier and Penn itself more attractive to recruits. Ambrose played for three different coaches when he was a star goalie at Division II national power USC-Spartanburg, so he knows the emotional difficulties his players have endured by getting used to a new coach each year. He also knows that Penn's program has improved continually over the past several seasons. This season should see it take yet another step in that direction. Darren Ambrose brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to Penn. We should see that this season. It will take several more years, however, to see if he can deliver what Penn women's soccer needs more than anything else. Stability

M. Hoops assistant takes top Cornell job

(09/07/00 9:00am)

After 10 years under Fran Dunphy with the Penn men's basketball team, Steve Donahue is finally getting his chance. Donahue was introduced yesterday as the new head men's basketball coach at Cornell. He replaces Scott Thompson, who stepped down on July 28 after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Being tapped as a Division I head coach marks the culmination of a long climb through the coaching ranks for Donahue, who served as an assistant for two seasons at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences before coming to Penn. "We are very fortunate to have a coach of Steve Donahue's talent and determination join our staff," Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel said at a press conference in Ithaca, N.Y. "Steve is the ideal leader to advance our men's basketball program within the competitive Ivy League and beyond." The change in scenery from Philadelphia to Ithaca will not be the only difference between Donahue's current and former positions. While he has been at or near the top of the Ivy standings for most of his tenure with the Quakers, Donahue now inherits a Cornell squad that finished last in the league in 1999-2000 with a 3-11 Ivy record. The Big Red, however, do return several talented players, including honorable mention All-Ivy selection Ray Mercedes, and Donahue believes it is a team on the rise. "I feel it is a privilege to be named head coach at Cornell University," Donahue said at the press conference. "I look forward to joining the Cornell family and working hard to bring the highest success to the basketball program on and off the court." Donahue's departure leaves an open spot on Penn's staff, but Dunphy said yesterday that he already has a few candidates in mind and will be contacting potential replacements during the next week. His two other assistant coaches, Gil Jackson and Dave Duke, will both return for the 2000-01 season. While Dunphy said he was elated to see Donahue finally get the chance to be a head coach, he must now go about the difficult process of replacing someone who has been by his side for 10 years. "Well, you have mixed emotions," Dunphy said. "You're so very happy for him after all his hard work to finally be rewarded with a head coaching position. Yet, it is difficult to see a top assistant leave." Last year, the Big Red played two very competitive games against the Quakers, including a 50-47 nailbiter in Ithaca. This year's contest, however, should prove to be even more difficult for Dunphy and his team. Facing a former member of his staff is never easy for Penn's head man. The Quakers play Lafayette each season, and Dunphy said that it is quite difficult to face Leopards coach Fran O'Hanlon, who was an assistant at Penn for six years. "It's always very tough to play Lafayette because you're so close and you do so many of the same things," Dunphy said. "Now, I'm sure it will be the same at Cornell." Unlike O'Hanlon, though, Donahue leaves the Red and Blue for a league rival and will face Penn twice each season. "We are obviously thinking those two games will be very challenging games for us, as they always are," Dunphy said. Donahue, however, must now face the difficult task of preparing for the year in a severely truncated offseason. Preseason practices begin in a few weeks and Cornell's first game is on November 18 -- a match-up of Dunphy disciples, as the Big Red meet O'Hanlon and his Leopards. Donahue also served as an assistant under O'Hanlon at Monsignor Bonner High School in 1987-88, helping lead Bonner to the Philadelphia Catholic League championship. After joining Dunphy's staff in 1990, Donahue was involved in every aspect of the program. He served as head coach of Penn's junior varsity team until 1995 and most recently served as the Quakers' recruiting coordinator and helped develop the team's offensive strategy