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Strong Start, High Hopes

Football opens 4-0 and women’s basketball looks to repeat as Ivy champs. By Noel Hynd


In the aftermath
of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Penn’s athletic department cancelled its athletic schedule through the following weekend, as did all other members of the Ivy League. With the cancellation of the regularly scheduled season opener at Lehigh, the season began instead on September 22 at Lafayette— where Penn posted its first opening day shutout in 19 years with a commanding 37-0 victory at Fisher Field. Penn’s offense did very little wrong all afternoon, amassing 471 yards. But—as is usually the case in shutouts—the real story was the Penn defense, which allowed Lafayette only 178 yards and forced the Leopards to go three-and-out seven times.

    The Quakers second game—and first Ivy League contest—of the season was a little different.
    Dartmouth was the opponent, and the Hanoverians did absolutely nothing to help the Quakers get off to a solid Ivy start. At first, it looked like it would be one of those routine 52-51 games, as the teams traded touchdowns in the first half. At 5:22 in the second quarter, Penn led by 21-14 on three touchdowns by senior running back Kris Ryan. But then things suddenly turned cold in New Hampshire. The Red and Blue defense forced a fumble on the Big Green’s third series of the game, and things just weren’t the same thereafter.
    The rest of the game was scoreless, until a two-yard touchdown run by Dartmouth’s Michael Gratch with 1:38 remaining brought the score to 21-20 and forced Dartmouth to make a choice: go for the win with a two-point conversion or tie the game with the kick.
    Dartmouth lined up in kicking formation and kicker Tyler Lavin got a good toe on the ball. The agony for Dartmouth, and the ecstasy for Penn, was that Penn sophomore lineman Kyle Chaffin got through the Dartmouth line and managed to block the point-after attempt. Penn then ran out the clock. Final, 21-20, and Penn football had opened this saddened 2001 season with a pair of victories. [Two more victories followed, over Holy Cross (43-7) and Columbia (35-7) to bring the team to a 4-0 record as of October 14.—Ed.]

It’s never too early to talk about basketball—Ivy League championship basketball at that. In a few weeks, Penn women’s basketball will tip off the season and defend their title.
    Last year, the third under coach Kelly Greenberg, the Quakers finished with its first-ever 20-plus win streak and the most wins in program history (22). A victory at Harvard on February 24 clinched the Quakers’ first-ever Ivy League championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
    Greenberg and the Quakers are looking to go even further in 2001-02, despite the fact that only one junior starter from last year, Julie Epton, will be returning. Epton came off the bench before starting in 20 of the Quakers’ final 21 games, earning a second-team All-Ivy selection. “Julie knows what it takes to win. I really feel that Julie is going to emerge as one of Penn’s all-time greats,” Greenberg said recently.
    Leading the other returnees is 5-foot 10-inch sophomore guard Jewel Clark. Only the third Quaker to be named to the Ivy League’s All-Rookie team last year, she was also named the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Week three times. Playing in all 28 games, she averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game—amazing, considering she was usually coming off the bench. Greenberg called her “a very exciting player who can change the face of the game quickly. She loves to compete and win.”
    Another guard in whom the coach has great confidence is junior Tara Twomey. Twomey started at point guard in almost every game last season, averaging 36.1 minutes per game, and posted a career-high 14 points against Yale on Feb. 2. Greenberg expected Twomey, a highly aggressive player despite her 5-foot 4-inch height, to be a great team motivator.
    Six-foot junior forward Jennifer Jones looks to have a breakout year. In the past two seasons, Jones has started all but one game and last year was a catalyst in two come-from-behind victories over Yale.
    Junior Ima Abia, a 5-foot 9-inch forward, was also invaluable off the bench last year. Greenberg is leaning on her rebounding ability to keep the Quakers’ game on track. Sophomore guard Mikaelyn Austin is also expected to step up for the Quakers this year, after a rookie season hampered
by injuries. Coming off of two seasons plagued with injuries (she appeared in only five games last season), 5-foot 10-inch junior Sunny Pitrof looks to make a much larger contribution to the frontcourt.

    Working five outstanding newcomers into the squad will be a big part of attaining the goal of repeating as Ivy champions. Three star local high-school players have come to Penn: Katie Kilker (Conwell-Egan in Langhorne, Pa.), Karen Habrukowich (Council Rock in Newtown, Pa.), and Maria DiDonato (Notre Dame de Namur in Glenolden, Pa.) Then there are a pair of out-of-staters, Catherine Makarewich (New Fairfield in New Fairfield, Conn.) and Amanda Kammes (Benet Academy in Wheaton, Ill.) rounding out the Class of 2005.
    Often at this time of year, I’m asking if men’s basketball can repeat as Ivy League champions and venture a few rounds into the NCAA finals. This year it’s my pleasure to ask the same question of the women’s program. “We have talent, we have youth, we have experience, and we have depth,” coach Greenberg says. “The challenge is to blend these qualities with the intangibles—toughness, intensity, focus, and togetherness.”
    The women have a highly competitive schedule. They will be playing four NCAA tournament teams, the Big 5, and seven tough Ivy League squads who will all have the defending champions in their sights. No matter what the final result in March, it looks already to be another memorable season.

Noel Hynd C’70 writes on sports for the Gazette.


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Copyright 2001 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 11/1/01

SCOREBOARD

SEPTEMBER 7 - OCTOBER 14

Men’s Cross Country
Fordham Invitational, 6th Place

Philly Classic, 2nd Place
Paul Short Memorial, 8th Place
Mich. Intercollegiates, 4th Place

Women’s Cross Country
Fordham Invitational, 5th Place
La Salle Invitational, 2nd Place
Paul Short Memorial, 8th Place
Leopard Invitational, 1st Place

Field Hockey (3-8)
St. Joseph’s 3, Penn 2
Ohio State 4, Penn 1
Lafayette 3, Penn 2
William & Mary 4, Penn 1
West Chester 1, Penn 0
Penn 2, Dartmouth 1
Villanova 2, Penn 1
Penn 6, La Salle 1
Penn 2, Cornell 1
Temple 1, Penn 0
Columbia 1, Penn 0

Football (4-0)
Penn 37, Lafayette 0
Penn 21, Dartmouth 20
Penn 43, Holy Cross 7
Penn 35, Columbia 7
Sprint Football (2-0)
Penn 19, Cornell 17
Penn 56, Princeton 12

Men’s Golf
Navy Invitational, 2nd Place
Temple Invitational, 7th Place
Lehigh Invitational, 2nd Place

Women’s Golf
Yale Invitational, 15th Place
Princeton Invitational, 5th Place
Rutgers Invitational, 3rd Place

Men’s Soccer (4-3-1)
Lafayette 2, Penn 0
Lehigh 3, Penn 2
La Salle 1, Penn 1
Penn 2, Temple 0
Penn 2, Drexel 1
Penn 1, Cornell 0
Penn 1, Philadelphia Univ. 0
Columbia 3, Penn 1

Women’s Soccer (8-1-1)
Penn 2, Iowa State 0
Penn 6, Delaware 4
Penn 3, George Mason 0
Penn 0, William & Mary 0
Penn 1, La Salle 0
Dartmouth 2, Penn 1
Penn 2, Drexel 0
Penn 2, Cornell 0
Penn 3, Lehigh 1
Penn 2, Columbia 0

Men’s Tennis (2-1)
Penn 6, Navy 1
Yale 5, Penn 2
Penn 4, Columbia 3

Women’s Tennis (3-1)
Penn 7, James Madison 0
Penn 6, Dartmouth 1
Penn 7, Virginia 0
Harvard 7, Penn 0

Volleyball (8-4)
Penn 3, St. Francis (Pa.) 0
Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne 3, Penn 2
Dayton 3, Penn 1
Temple 3, Penn 0
Penn 3, Loyola 0
Penn 3, Robert Morris 0
Penn 3, Northeastern 2
Penn 3, Drexel 1
Penn 3, Villanova 0
Penn 3, Princeton 1
Penn 3, Columbia 0
Cornell 3, Penn 0