Tied for fourth in Penn's history for assists in a season. Tied the school record for assists in a game. Ranked fifth in the Ancient Eight in helpers. Named third-team STX/NFHCA All-American and first-team Mid-Atlantic. Holds Penn's single season record for goals and points in a season. The list goes on and on. Impressive credentials if you stopped right there, but that just barely scratches the surface of the accolades that seniors Liz Lorelli and Sara Shelley have amassed in their careers at Penn. And that's just field hockey.
Sara "Sassy" Shelley began her competitive career in seventh grade when she started playing both field hockey and lacrosse. She was a three- year letterwinner in field hockey at Moorestown H.S. in New Jersey. In her years there she gathered some very impressive credentials, helping her team to a New Jersey Group II State Championship in 1998.
"Competing in two sports in college is definitely not an easy thing to do, but I can't imagine my career without my athletics," says Shelley. "It's become such a part of my life I don't know what I would do without both sports."
Her high school career in lacrosse was no less spectacular. In her three-year varsity campaign she was recognized throughout the state for her accomplishments, earning her the nod for third-team all-state from the Newark Star Ledger.
At Penn, Shelley continues her successful ways. Last year she tied the school record for assists in a game and tied the school record for assists in a season. She currently stands tied for second on the team in scoring with five points and leads the Quakers in assists with three. Shelley is a tri-captain of the field hockey team and was a major contributor to the breakout year for the lacrosse team in the spring of 2004.
Off the field, Shelley came to Penn unsure of her field of study. Today she is a history major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Though her plans for the future are not yet solidified, she does know that she wants to travel and possibly coach for a few years.
Hailing from Greenwich, Conn., Liz Lorelli began her field hockey career in the seventh grade as well. A two-year varsity letterwinner, she led her high school team to a WNEPSA championship in 2000, earning her recognition as an all-league representative.
Lorelli's lacrosse career began in fifth grade. En route to her time here at Penn, she left her mark in her two year varsity career, leading her team in goals and assists her senior year at Greenwich Academy.
"I started playing lacrosse in fifth grade then stopped for a few years. I started up again in middle school and haven't stopped playing since," says Lorelli.
Good news for Penn. Her career so far as a Quaker has made her one of the most recognizable student-athletes on campus. Her record setting performances are well known throughout the school. Lorelli is currently second on the list for all-time goals in a season and sixth for points in field hockey. She has also made her mark in lacrosse as the goalkeeper for Penn's team. In 2003 she ranked third in the league in the goals against average and save percentage.
Lorelli's success goes beyond just athletics. She is currently enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Science where she majors in mechanical engineering. On top of the engineering degree, Lorelli is also majoring in economics out of the School of Arts and Sciences. She is currently on the hunt for a job and hopes to start work following graduation.
"Coming into school, I knew that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer," Lorelli claims. "Then somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to major in economics as well."
Any student-athlete would tell you that competing in a collegiate sport takes a lot of time and effort. For most it is a commitment that all but takes over your life. Couple that with grueling classes, and the job becomes much more difficult. Participating in one sport and dealing with academics is no easy task, and being successful is even more difficult. Liz Lorelli and Sara Shelley not only participate in field hockey and lacrosse, but they are successful in both, while still managing to do well academically.
"Sarah and Liz are extremely dedicated athletes," Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Karin Brower said. "While the rest of the team is using the fall to lift, condition and improve on their lacrosse skills, Liz and Sarah have to play catch up once November rolls around and field hockey ends. The two of them immediately begin lacrosse following field hockey season and do not get much down time. They have to match their team in lifting and quickly learn the new techniques and things we have been working on all fall. Their work ethic and determination have enabled them to become significant players on both teams. We are always so excited to have them join us once field hockey ends and we love being able to watch them succeed in the fall."
The dedication, drive and effort that Shelley and Lorelli have demonstrated both on and off the field are undoubtedly a reflection of their character. Balancing a collegiate sport and schoolwork is a daunting task. Being successful at not one, but two sports and doing equally well in the classroom takes a very special breed of person. Sara Shelley and Liz Lorelli are two such people and what makes it all that much better is that these two truly enjoy what they do.
Written by Matt Valenti, C’06