PHILADELPHIA - Field hockey hosted its annual banquet this past weekend. The team took the time to highlight several of the team's achievements over the 2011 season and to also honor the five outgoing seniors of the Class of 2012 - Caroline Olt, Abigail Egan, Erin Healy, Kirstin Snyder, and Kieran Sweeney. In addition, awards were also presented for outstanding efforts this past season.
Sharing the Gail Lipstein Award for outstanding play as freshmen were Alex Iqbal and MaryRose Croddick. Both players started every game in their first season at Penn and both were named All-Ivy performers at season's end. This marked the first time in program history that Penn has had two freshmen named All-Ivy in the same season.
Iqbal was a second-team All-Ivy selection in the midfield. She finished her first season at Penn with five goals and two assists for 12 points. Those 12 points marked the highest total for a Penn freshman since the 1983 season. She was one of just two freshmen All-Ivy performers in the midfield this season. Two of her more memorable games this season included her hat trick against Appalachian State and her two-goal performance in the come-from-behind win at Brown.
Croddick played the center-back position on a defensive line that started every game together in 2011. Croddick was an honorable mention All-Ivy selection. She was the only freshman back in the league to earn All-Ivy honors and was the only Penn player this season to play every minute on the field. Croddick finished with two key defensive saves. Her first helped preserve a shutout in Penn's first Ivy League game against Cornell. She also made a defensive save in the team's win over Appalachian State.
Christina Benvenuti received the Diane Angstadt Award for the most inspirational performance this season. After missing her entire freshman season at Penn, Benvenuti looked poised to have a break-out sophomore season. In each of Penn's first four games, Benvenuti saw significant playing time coming off of the bench, but suffered a season-ending injury in the fourth game of the season. Despite her injury, Benvenuti remained an integral part of the team throughout the season with her presence on the sideline.
Earning the Anne Towsend Award, given to the team's most outstanding player, was senior Kirstin Snyder. Snyder started all 17 games this season and really came on strong down the final stretch of her collegiate career, tallying a point in five of her final seven games. Included in that span were goals in the wins against Brown and Appalachian State. She also assisted on the game-winning goal against La Salle. Snyder also showed her versatility as a player, filling several intangible roles as well as being asked to play a greater role as part of the team's overall game plan.
The 2011 season saw the Quakers increase both their Ivy League and overall win totals from a season ago. The Quakers also have strong building blocks in place moving forward as 11 of the 15 letterwinners from this season's team will be back next year.