Penn Women's Lacrosse Continue Winning Ways in 2005

In 2005, the University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team looked to build on its breakthrough season from a year ago. That goal was met as the Quakers wrapped up the season with their second-consecutive overall winning season, 8-7, and a winning record against Ivy League opponents, 4-3.

Tough Schedule
The Quakers faced a tough test in 2005, taking on eight opponents that were ranked in the top-20 nationally. In addition to the Quakers, who moved through the national rankings throughout the season, four other Ancient Eight teams, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth and Princeton, spent time in the rankings. The first national test came for Penn when the team traveled to eventual national champion Northwestern, which ranked No. 3 at the time. The Quakers played admirably, but eventually fell, 13-6. The next ranked opponent for Penn was Ivy foe Yale. For the first time in 10 years, the Red and Blue came out on top of that contest, 8-7. Tough losses to Johns Hopkins, 13-4, Penn State, 16-9, Princeton, 12-5, and Dartmouth, 10-8, gave the Quakers quality experience against the top teams in the nation.

Overtime Success
The Quakers had two overtime victories in the 2005 season. The first came in the first game of the season on Franklin Field against The Ohio State University. Six different Quakers scored as Penn defeated Ohio State, 8-7, in sudden-death overtime to open the season. The game went to an extra period after freshman Allison Ambrozy tied the game with her first collegiate score with 1:55 left in regulation. In the second sudden-death period, junior Ali Ryan scored her third goal of the game to give the Quakers the victory.

The second overtime win of the season came in a thriller at Harvard. Sophomore Chrissy Muller scored with just seven seconds remaining in the first overtime period to give the Red and Blue the 11-10 victory. Muller had three assists in the game as well and both Ryan and freshman Rachel Manson notched hat tricks in the win.

Talk about Offense
The Quakers were led on the offensive end by junior Emily Cochran and Manson. After battling back from an injury that kept her sidelined for the majority of 2004, Cochran was named to the IWLCA/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic All-Regional team as well as received honorable mention for All-Ivy League. The duo tied for first on the team in 24 goals on the season and Cochran also had nine assists to lead the team with 33 points. She had three goals in three different contests and two in six others. Manson played in all 15 games of her first collegiate season. She had a season-high four goals at Northwestern and collected hat tricks in three games, against Delaware, at Harvard and at Loyola.

Defending the Ball
Two members of the Red and Blue earned All-Ivy League distinction on the defensive end of the field. Sophomore Sarah Eastburn collected 20 ground balls, caused 17 turnovers and controlled 15 draws on the season. Other highlights for the sophomore included picking up three ground balls versus Cornell and two in six other games. She also caused five turnovers against Yale and had two in four contests. In addition to her second-team All-Ivy League honor, Eastburn was also named to the IWLCA/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic All-Regional team.

Another star on the defensive end for the Quakers was junior Kate Parker. Parker received the second-consecutive Ivy League honor of her career with her honorable mention distinction following the conclusion of the season. In 2005, Parker caused 15 turnovers and collected 13 groundballs in 14 starts. She opened the season with four ground balls and four caused turnovers at Northwestern. Parker also had two ground balls in three other games and two caused turnovers in four other contests.

Going Out in Style
The Class of 2005, consisting of Katie Spofford, Allie Juras, Liz Lorelli, Kate Miller and Alex Thomas, closed out its time in the Red and Blue on a high note with the Quakers 12-6 victory over Rutgers on Mother’s Day. Head Coach Karin Brower’s first recruiting class, the five seniors helped mold the program into a nationally-ranked group that will look to dominate play in the future. For Spofford, 2005 was a banner year after switching to midfield, as she was named to the IWLCA/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic All-Regional team as well as earning first-team All-Ivy League honors. She started every game of her collegiate career and wrapped up 2005 with 21 goals and two assists for 23 points on the offensive end of the field. She also had 17 ground balls, 22 draw controls, which was good for second on the team, and caused 17 turnovers. Her caused turnover total tied for first on the team with Eastburn. Other highlights on the season for Spofford included three-goal performances in wins over Delaware and Rutgers as well as scoring two goals in six other contests. For her career, Spofford scored 70 goals, amassed 78 points, picked up 90 ground balls and caused 51 turnovers.

In 2005, the Penn women’s lacrosse team continued on the path to the top, facing one of the toughest schedules in the nation and remaining competitive against many of the best teams in the sport. While the strength, camaraderie and leadership of the five seniors will be missed, a strong corps of returning young players will help pave the way for even higher levels of success in seasons to come.

Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, athletic communications assistant