Women's Lacrosse has Breakthrough Season in 2004

Lone senior Lindsey Cassidy led the Quakers to their first winning season in 10 years.

May 26, 2004

Two thousand and four was a breakthrough year for the women's lacrosse team. The Quakers faced many challenges during the season, but the close-knit group used their chemistry, excitement and love for the sport of lacrosse to come up with its first winning season in over a decade and its first winning record in the Ivy League since 1988. Another first for the Red and Blue included their first win over local-rival Temple since 1994. Senior Lindsey Cassidy scored a season and career-high 25 goals and 16 assists for 41 points and finished her collegiate career ranked ninth in all-time goals scored (79) at Penn and 11th in points (99). Fourteen different student-athletes found the back of the cage as the Quakers had their largest offensive output since 1985, scoring 154 goals.

Tough Schedule
The Quakers opened the season at home against No. 4 Loyola. Penn played well, but the national powerhouse Greyhounds started their season off by topping the Quakers, 13-4. The quality of competition for the rest of the season was just as tough. Penn faced six top-20 schools in 2004, including top-ranked Princeton. Two other Ancient Eight schools, Dartmouth and Yale, were ranked in the top-15 as well.

In the beginning on the season, Head Coach Karin Brower said, 'in order to be the best you must play the best'. In doing so, Penn held its own against several nationally-ranked opponents. The Quakers forced No. 18 Penn State into overtime. Led by sophomore Ali Ryan, the Red and Blue rallied from a 4-1 first half deficit to tie the game in the second half and pull ahead, 6-4, with 23 minutes left in the second stanza. After Penn State retook the lead, the Quakers and Lions flip-flopped goals until the game ended in an 8-8 tie. Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions scored in the second overtime period to take the 9-8 victory. Junior goalie Liz Lorelli made 12 saves in the net for the Quakers.

Penn also had a strong showing against No. 12 Dartmouth, falling 6-4. The Big Green held a slim 2-1 advantage at halftime, giving the Quakers a great deal of confidence. Penn tied the game at two just four minutes into the second stanza. However, Katieanne Christian proved to have the magic stick for Dartmouth as she rattled off three-straight tallies to give the Big Green a 5-2 lead. Ryan and Cassidy each added a tally to pull within one, but a Dartmouth goal with nine seconds left in the contest dashed the Quakers hopes of pulling off the upset. The Red and Blue defense held the Big Green to their lowest offensive output of the season.

Come from Behind
Penn had two come-from-behind victories in 2004. In the Quakers' second game of the season, Delaware turned a 6-5 halftime lead into a 10-5 advantage after only four minutes of action in the second stanza. Penn did not give up and rallied for 10-straight goals to take a 15-10 lead. With three goals already in the contest, freshman Chrissy Muller added two more goals and sophomore Emily Cochran found the back of the net four different times during that time span to give the Red and Blue a 15-12 win.

Later in the season, Muller scored the game-winning goal with 59 seconds left against Harvard to lift the Red and Blue to a 10-9 victory. The Quakers rallied from a 7-4 halftime deficit to defeat the Crimson for the fourth straight time. Cassidy scored four goals, including three-consecutive tallies in the second half, to lead the Red and Blue.

Talk about Offense
The Quakers were led by Cassidy on the attack all season. The team's lone senior rattled off 25 goals for the Red and Blue. Muller and junior Katie Spofford both scored 24 goals to finish second in goals and second and third, respectively in points. Sophomore Emily Cochran was on fire in the first half of the season, as the West Bloomfield, Mich. native scored 21 goals in just eight contests before a season-ending injury moved her to the sidelines. Classmate Ryan was fourth on the team in scoring with 19 goals. Eight of those goals came off feeds from Muller. The duo of Muller and Ryan combined for 11 goals this season.

As a team, the Quakers outscored their opponents, 154-130. Penn scored in double-digits in nine of 16 games in 2004 and recorded 15 or more goals on three different occasions (Delaware, Villanova and Brown). Fourteen different Quakers found the back of the net, with seven recording in double figures. Penn's 154 goals is the third most goals tallied in one season in program history.

Guarding the Cage
Lorelli started every game in the net for the Red and Blue. The field hockey All-American, who broke the school record for goals and points in a single season last fall, had the fourth-best goals against average (8.20) in the Ivy League and ninth in the nation. Not bad for a walk-on goalie. Sophomore Karrie Moore also saw action in five contests, including games against Brown and No. 1 Princeton.

Junior Kate Miller, sophomores Lauren McDermott and second-team All-Ivy League honoree Kate Parker and rookie Karen Jann spearheaded the defense. Midfielder Cassidy led the team in caused turnovers with 39, while Parker and Jann caused 18 and 17 turnovers during the season, respectively.

Going Out in Style
Cassidy dominated the lacrosse field this year and earned her third-straight All-Ivy selection by landing a spot on the first-team in 2004. The midfielder took control of almost every game and came up with clutch plays to lead the Quakers to victory. A trio of four-goal performances against Delaware (Mar. 3), Harvard (Apr. 10) and Brown (April 25) highlighted Cassidy's final season. She scored four goals and four assists in Penn's season finale against Brown for a season and career-high eight points. She broke open a tie game against the Bears to give the Quakers their first winning season in the Ivy League in 16 years. The Red and Blue recorded their first victory over Cornell (Mar. 27) in five years behind Cassidy's game-winning tally. After not firing a shot as a freshman defender, Cassidy leaves the Red and Blue as one of the top-10 scorers in the Penn archives.

What happened in 2004? The Penn women's lacrosse team continued on the path to building a top-notch program and was competitive against several of the toughest lacrosse teams in the country. With only one Quaker not returning in 2005, the road leading to the NCAA Championships might not be far ahead.

Written by Heather Palmer