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Ivy League Release
PHILADELPHIA - The All-Ivy teams for women's lacrosse which were released today appropriately included six players from Penn - which recently won its sixth consecutive Ivy League championship.
Three players were unanimously selected first-team All-Ivy in a vote held by the League's coaches - seniors Erin Brennan and Emily Leitner as well as junior Maddie Poplawski. Three other Quakers were named honorable mention All-Ivy: Meredith Cain, Taylor Foussadier and Courtney Tomchik.
"We are thrilled to have six players recognized by the Ivy League this year for their play on the field," head coach Karin Brower Corbett said. "These six players were instrumental to us continuing out success and adding another Ivy League championship."
Erin Brennan has been a staple on the All-Ivy teams since her arrival to Penn. The League's Rookie of the Year in 2009 and a second-team All-Ivy choice that season, co-captain Brennan has been unanimous first-team All-Ivy each of the past three seasons. Third in the Ivy League in assists this season with 23, Brennan has been named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week three times this season. This past week, she became the third player in Penn history to reach 200 career points and she currently sits second with 205.
"Erin has the ability to carry the offense like few players I have ever coached," Corbett said. "She has been a leader on this team since the moment she joined and will rightfully go down as one of the greats to play for the Red and Blue."
After a second-team All-Ivy selection in 2011, co-captain Emily Leitner has been the veteran presence on a remarkably young Penn defense this season.
There is pressure to be great when playing goal for the Quakers, a team known for stellar defense, and Leitner has risen to that challenge and then some this season. Penn returned just one starter on defense, and had three first-year defenders as its core for most of the season, but Leitner backstopped the Red and Blue to fourth in the League in goals-against as a team while also being fourth as an individual in goals-against (10.04) and save percentage (.427). She set a career high in saves with 16 at Cornell this season, one of three different times she set a new high in saves. Once the saves have been made, Leitner has scooped up 40 ground balls, second in the Ivy League and most by a goalkeeper. She leads Penn in both ground balls and caused turnovers with 13.
"There have not been many better teammates over my tenure than Emily Leitner," said Corbett. "She is as vocal as it comes, whether managing a defense or in the locker room. There is no question she has single-handedly won us a few games this season, whether in the cage or when she roams out to apply pressure on an attacker as needed."
In what can only be described as a breakout year, Maddie Poplawski has set career highs in goals (24), points (25) and draw controls (53). Honorable mention All-Ivy last season, her work on the draw has her second in the Ivy League despite two games missed due to injury. Among all Ivy League players, no one has more free position goals than Poplawski who has scored on 12 of her 18 trips to the eight-meter line this season.
"We asked a lot of Maddie this season, and she has met the challenge," Corbett said. "She has started to realize her own potential as someone who can dominate a game in all three zones. There is no one we'd rather have carrying the ball in transition and she has become one of the best drivers Penn has had in terms of creating chances."
Three first-time All-Ivy selections make up Penn's representatives on the honorable mention side. Meredith Cain exploded onto the scene at the end of the 2011 season and carried that momentum into 2012 where she has set career highs in goals (27), assists (5), points (32) and draw controls (39).
Sophomore Courtney Tomchik was a bit of an unknown quantity to the League after missing all of 2011 with injury. Her status as a key contributor is no longer in question after a rookie season which featured 23 goals, five assists and three-game winning goals which led Penn and tied for the Ivy lead. For the second year in a row, a freshman defender earned All-Ivy honors as Taylor Foussadier picked up honorable mention distinction. Foussadier is third on the team with 11 caused turnovers while adding 12 ground balls and nine draw controls.
"Having three players earn All-Ivy honors for the first time is always rewarding," said Corbett. "Meredith has been one of our top options on offense all season and gives us two weapons on the draw. Courtney was under everyone's radar but our own. We knew how talented she is and have enjoyed watching her show the rest of the League all season long. She has a bright future for us. Taylor has not played like a freshman defender this season. She can match up with anybody in the country and is very reliable in transition for us."
Penn's three first-team All-Ivy selections are tied for most by any team with Princeton. Overall, Penn's six All-Ivy nods are tied for second (Cornell) behind Harvard's seven.
Seven of the 12 first-team All-Ivy selections will converge upon Penn's campus this weekend for the Ivy League Tournament which starts Friday, May 4 with semifinals between top seed Penn and No. 4 Harvard as well as No. 2 Dartmouth versus No. 3 Cornell. The winners will advance to Sunday's championship game.